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  BR Klassik -
  Mahler: Symphony No. 7 - Jansons
  Mahler: Symphony No. 7

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Mariss Jansons (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 3

Review by TT October 1, 2009 (6 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
What a performance! I waited for a good multichannel 7th of Mahler for a very long time, now I get the best one. Jansons takes the B RSO to their best performace on this SACD. You get the first recording of the new critical edition of Mahlers 7th, so everyone will hear something new here. The perforamance is absolutely stunning and so passionately.
But it comes even better: the BR Klassik made a ultra-high-quality SACD for multichannel, superb rear effects and room ambience: you think you are sitting in the mid of the opera hall while hearing this. I never thought i can buy a high-quality SACD from other labels than BIS or ChannelClassics, but here you go! Just get this and enjoy! One of my best SACDs i bought till now.

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Review by willemvoorneveld July 12, 2012 (5 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
After the first listening session I was perplexed about this recording; had I been listening to only dull performances of the 7th of Mahler before, or differently put, does Mariss Jansons extract more music from a score than any other conductor? The answer is probably not but fact is that this release of Mahler 7 sounds very refreshed or new. The reason must be that the new critical release of the score by the “Gustav Mahler-Gesellschaft” contains much more information indeed and according to the booklet that comes with the disc, Jansons recording is the first one that uses the new release.

It would not be fair to attribute the high quality of this performance to the availability of the new paperwork alone; Jansons interpretation thrives on an enormous vitality and precision. The two “Nachtmusiken” (Movement 2 and 4), sound really different from each other as they should and the Rondo Finale really sounds as a measured Allegro, but still with intense levels of energy. In other words, no over the top kind of finale.

The SBR is playing with enormous enthusiasm and flare. All solos are rock solid. The string section sounds soft edged but with great attack. The horn soloist deserves a medal and percussion is impressive and very tasteful.

After having heard all Mahler symphonies with Jansons (Live and on Disc) I think it is clear that he has affinity with this composer. His interpretations are never sentimental nor do any mannerisms pop up. His tempi are usually on the faster side of the equation. Overall architecture takes precedence over detail but he still manages to present detail more than I hear under other conductors (especially in this issue of the 7th) maybe also helped by wonderful new recording techniques.

The recording is a compilation of two live performances in march 2007 and has been made by MSM studios in Munchen. No mentioning of recording equipment. The recording was made in the Philharmonie im Gasteig, which is a rather large (2500+ seating) symphony hall with modern (round seating) lay-out. There is relatively little hall-acoustic information coming from the disc. The sound picture is very focused on the orchestra. This acoustic signature works very well in this case because it makes every detail heard and helps to understand the details of the new score that jansons used. I assume that the microphones used for this recording were somewhat closer to the orchestra than in other recordings. Anyway, it works well.

A milestone.


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Review by hkpat March 31, 2010 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
“Hardly any of Mahler’s symphonies gives the hearer so little external assistance toward deeper understanding as does the Seventh,” writes Vera Baur for this release from the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO)’s new house label, BR Klassik. Captured live from concert performances in March 8th-9th 2007, the BRSO and its Chief Conductor Mariss Jansons are heard here in top panache. For those who has yet the opportunity to experience music-making in this partnership, this live performance from the Philharmonie im Gasteig in Munich can certainly provide a close approximation to why this ensemble remains one of the most celebrated on the concert platform today.

In fact, it was only very recently, one month after this BR Klassik release to be exact, when the Norwegian label Simax Records released an alternative live performance of the Mahler Seventh with Maestro Jansons and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. In both readings, the musicians took great care to shape each individual phrases, outlining the shades of color and emphasizing those unique combination of instruments as heard, for example, in the second Nachtmusik between the harp, guitar and mandolin. Moreover, there is a clear consistency in these two interpretations, particularly their distinctions to musically express how darkness brings forth to light, how a dark minor main theme can transform into a glowing major one. The success in both readings may lie in their common denominator, that is, in the ability of Maestro Jansons to convince us with a vision in this music that both ensembles share with a mutual understanding. As a result, both performances are musically expansive – both start off with a meditative Adagio opening, the mysterious sounds and mumours of the first Nachtmusik are then introduced under a cohort of sweet string-playing. This introduction gives rise to the spooky Scherzo that follows, and progresses into a blissful nocturnal serenade of the second Nachtmusik. The “darkness” of this music is ultimately brought to a positive resolution in the Finale, and it is here in the final movement that distinguishes the BR Klassik version from the Simax reading. The Rondo-Finale, a rare music form in Mahler’s oeuvre, is brought out by the BRSO like a blazing beam of light, both jubilant and glorious in spirit, which can be aided, in part, by the high recording quality format in the former case.|

The choice in Maestro Jansons to record this Mahler Seventh twice with two separate Orchestras may lie not only in his admiration of this work, but also in the unique features of this Symphony. What may be these features that distinguish the Seventh from its predecessors? Perhaps, it is the fact that Mahler provided no programme for the Seventh, except some guiding references in the Nachtmusiken. This unbound limit ironically gives listeners the greatest ease and pleasure in appreciating this music at its fullest. Focusing on the music becomes the major objective when one engages in the listening. Moreover, the creative variety in music forms and harmonic writing far exceed the standards of the 20th century, and some scholars have argued that existent tonal system in his time nearly came to total collapse as a result of Mahler’s Seventh. Ever since, Mahler’s Seventh has been one of many fine examples that intrigued musicians, one was Arnold Schöenberg himself. “Expressionism” was seeded by Mahler in the Seventh, suggested Schöenberg, and in this regard, Mahler has found himself an avid proponent under the interpretations of Mariss Jansons.

A major asset in the recording quality of this BR Klassik release lies in the “natural balance” sound fulfilled by both hi-resolution stereo and surround modes. There is currently a lack of recorded performances of this work available in the visual formats of DVD or Blu-ray. Perhaps, the success of this Mahler Seventh performance highlighted by the BRSO/Jansons collaboration may intrigue BR Klassik to release a special “Rehearsal and Concert Performance” edition of this Mahler Seventh in other interactive formats for classical music aficionados, especially Mahler fans.

By: Patrick P.L. Lam

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Works: 1  

Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 7 in E minor