Mahler: Symphony No. 8 "Symphony of a Thousand"by Simon Rattle
A performance of Mahler's Eighth Symphony is never just an ordinary concert: With the huge corps of musicians it requires and the metaphysical heights to which it aspires, it's automatically an event of the first magnitude. In the performances of June 2004 that were recorded for this disc, that sense of occasion was raised to a still greater power, for they marked the return to Birmingham of former music director Simon Rattle to complete the Mahler symphony cycle that he had begun there nearly two decades ago. He's waited until now to record the daunting Eighth, but the payoff is a performance of consummate mastery, steeped in Mahlerian style and responsive to this epic score's countless nuances of feeling and drama. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra blossomed under Rattle's leadership in the 1980s and '90s, and they still sound like a top-tier orchestra under his baton. The choirs -- all four of them -- sing like the angels they are meant to represent, and the team of eight soloists is extraordinarily strong, with special recognition owed to sublime sopranos Christine Brewer and Soile Isokoski. The so-called "Symphony of a Thousand" is so rich in content and meaning that no one performance can exhaust its potential, but it's still hard to imagine a more compelling journey through the Eighth than this, especially after arriving at its conclusion, a culmination of almost unbelievably ecstatic power. This is one of the finest of Rattle's Mahler recordings, and it's now self-evidently a top recommendation for this symphony.
- Release Date:
- Warner Classics
- Symphony No. 8 in E flat major ("Symphony of a Thousand")
Performance CreditsSimon Rattle Primary Artist
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