CD: Mahler: Symphony No 3


In many ways this is the most impressive release so far in David Zinman's Mahler cycle. The qualities that characterised his performances of the first two symphonies - the lack of flamboyance, the emphasis on structure over dramatic effect, the restrained, unselfconscious expressiveness - pay extra dividends in the expanses of the Third. Zinman's unfolding of the huge first movement, which gets a disc all to itself, is masterly: he takes it with deliberate slowness, spending 35 minutes on it, but nothing drags. There are moments in the central sequence of movements that seem a little underpowered, but mezzo Birgit Rennert is an eloquent soloist in the fourth-movement setting of Nietzsche. And if Zinman doesn't achieve the elegiac level of transcendence that Claudio Abbado uniquely finds in the finale, there is a real sense of nobility in the playing and an absolute determination on the conductor's part to let the music speak directly for itself.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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