CD: Mahler: Symphony No 6; Henze

(RCO Live, two CDs)

Though the combination of Mariss Jansons and the RCO ought to be self-recommending in Mahler's Sixth Symphony, their performance is by no means exceptional. It's the fill-up on this pair of discs that is the novelty, a recording of the premiere in Amsterdam last December of Hans Werner Henze's latest orchestral work. The three movements of Sebastian im Traum, described as a "Salzburg Nocturne", are based on a late poem by the expressionist writer Georg Trakl, which describes a nocturnal landscape near the city where Henze's last opera, L'Upupa, was first performed in 2003. Trakl's imagery is a haunted mixture of memory and illusion, and Henze's taut, mostly restrained orchestral writing a tissue of muted colours and shifting layers connected by an almost subliminal thematic web. It's not a major work, perhaps, though it is a beautifully realised orchestral triptych.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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