- Symphony No. 7 in E minor ("Song of the Night")
For its first recording of a symphony by Gustav Mahler, Neeme Järvi and the Residentie Orchestra the Hague picked the "Symphony No. 7," which is an odd choice for anyone venturing into this composer's works. Considering that the performers had never recorded any music by Mahler together, and that this is one of the hardest of all his symphonies to interpret, they took a huge gamble that they could gain access to the work's idiosyncrasies and pull off a coherent rendition. For listeners, it's a risk, too, because the "Symphony No. 7" is seldom performed with a clear understanding of Mahler's intentions, so it can be misconstrued as anything from a muddled series of nocturnal tone poems to a clumsy parody of a Mahler symphony. One never quite knows what to expect. The best way to approach this piece is directly, without second-guessing the indications in the score, and to let the music stand or fall on its own merits, without overplaying any single aspect of Mahler's form or content. Järvi is a clear-headed judge of what works, and his orchestra certainly grasps his ideas, so what they present is a fairly straightforward reading that gets the music across without exaggeration and without caricature. No one should come to this performance expecting a great revelation of what Mahler wanted, but it is a reasonably accurate performance of what is on the page, so listeners can make an informed judgment of the symphony based on what they hear in this recording. Chandos' super audio recording is spacious, resonant, and richly hued, so for the sound alone audiophiles will want to give this album a try.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Mahler: Symphony No. 7 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
As always, Mahler's symphony delivers movements packed full of dances, folk inspiration, soaring melodies, dynamic surprises, and lush harmonies. Neeme Jarvi has led his orchestra to a great recording here. The orchestra plays wonderfully and with great musicality. All sections of the ensemble perform this piece well, but I particularly liked the brass section. Mahler's orchestration lets each section shine at different moments, but the brass seems ever-present and plays with great sensitivity to the changing moods of this piece. This is a fabulous hour (plus) of the gorgeous music that lets people everywhere fall in love with Mahler. Superb playing and a fine recording overall.