- Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor
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One of the most frequently recorded works in the hybrid SACD format is Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor," for the apparent reason that it is one of the most vibrantly orchestrated, expressively varied, and astonishing-sounding symphonies in the repertoire, to say nothing of being one of the composer's most characteristic and popular compositions. So when Mariss Jansons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra present their live version in a state-of-the-art recording, it is with the sure knowledge that it's up against massive competition, with virtually every new conductor adding a spectacular version to the catalog, and even some old multichannel recordings are being revived. While Jansons holds his own as an original and insightful interpreter of Mahler, and the RCO plays with assurance and excitement, this rendition only falls short of being truly impressive by offering slightly less than spectacular sound. Even though one must put up with small annoyances, such as occasional rhythmic inaccuracies and Jansons' periodic humming during exposed lyrical passages, this could have been a terrific recording if RCO Live had captured the orchestra's sonorities more vividly, and done so with a cleaner audio. In really quiet moments, there is the faintest trace of hiss that any attentive listener can pick up, and this can be a drawback for audiophiles who demand the finest digital. But when individual instruments lack a penetrating tone and the climaxes don't blaze, it might actually be attributable to some decisions made at the mixing board, and listeners will feel that loss in too many places of realistic sound, even if they give Jansons and the RCO the benefit of the doubt in other regards.
|Label:||Rco Live Holland|