Mahler: Symphony No. 7 - Stenz
Oehms Classics OC 652
Classical - Orchestral
Mahler: Symphony No. 7
Markus Stenz (conductor)
"Upon the first oar stroke, the theme of the introduction to the first movement occurred to me.“ This statement was made by Gustav Mahler when he was finally able to begin the composition of the Seventh Symphony after a long creative block (following the completion of the Sixth). The entire work was then completed in only four weeks at Lake Wörth in Carinthia.
OehmsClassics is also speedily continuing the completion of the two Gürzenich cycles (Mahler and Tchaikovsky), presenting here a live recording from Cologne made in June 2012. In SACD quality, as always.
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Review by Graham Williams - June 28, 2013
And still they come, the never-ending flow of Mahler symphonies; the record companies believing rightly or wrongly that collectors have an insatiable appetite for acquiring ever new recordings of these works. With the choice, even on SACD, of more than a dozen accounts of Mahler's 7th Symphony any newcomer will need to possess some special qualities to commend it to the ears of jaded Mahlerites. I believe, however, that this new Oehms release does have qualities that make its acquisition very worthwhile even in this crowded field.
This latest issue in the Mahler cycle from Markus Stenz and his excellent Gürzenich Orchestra, Köln was recorded' live' in June 2012 and benefits from the superb acoustic of the Kölner Philharmonie. The sound quality on this SACD is quite magnificent. The brass playing is rich and incisive, the string playing smooth and supple whilst Mahler's extensive use of percussion is delivered through one's speakers with thrilling immediacy and clarity. The orchestral image has great presence and the bass is particularly deep and firm The 5.0 surround mix captures the ambience of the venue through greater output from the surround speakers than is often the case.
The atmosphere of a truly' live' performance is also conveyed with remarkable realism. The faint rustles of an audience's presence can only be heard in between movements and there is no applause retained at the end of the symphony.
The tempi Stenz adopts in each of the symphony's four movements seem particularly apt for his no-nonsense approach to the music. The overall timing for his performance is 73'.35” ,which places him among the swifter interpreters of this work (cf. Järvi 70'10”, Gergiev 72'06”, MTT 78'11” and Nott 79'50”). Occasionally the orchestral ensemble lacks the precision of say Nott's Bamberg orchestra, but this is a small price to pay for the greater impetus and flamboyance of the playing demonstrated throughout this performance.
Those who have acquired any of the earlier issues in this bracing cycle (awaiting only the release of Symphonies 6 and 9 for its completion) will definitely not be disappointed with this one. Newcomers and assiduous collectors will surely also be impressed with Stenz's refreshingly straightforward and unmannered approach to Mahler.
Copyright © 2013 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net