RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR
H Ö S L
P H O T O G R A P H Y
WINNER Sensational Mahler from Bavaria
Kirill Petrenko delivers a performance that speaks with clarity and directness
Many moons ago I chanced upon Mahler scholar Deryck Cooke whose writings for this magazine I so admired. He’d recently reviewed Leonard Bernstein’s CBS (now Sony) recording of the Seventh Symphony and on the strength of what he’d written I ordered the LPs from my local library. Cooke smiled. ‘Good … but you have to hear the Seventh “live”,’ he said. I did so soon afterwards, but the discs still won the day. Had Cooke lived into the digital era and heard this extraordinary Munich recording under Kirill Petrenko, I rather suspect that he too might have questioned the primacy of a ‘live’ Seventh.
As Edward Seckerson wrote in our August 2021 issue, ‘Truly you don’t need a score in front of you to believe your ears and eyes.’ There are so many points of special interest, passages where Mahler
Mahler Symphony No 7 Bayerisches Staatsorchester / Kirill Petrenko BSO Recordings BSOREC0001 (8/21) Producer Wolfram Nehls Engineers Sebastian Nattkemper & Thomas Rott 113 VOTES
‘Metamorphosen’ Music by Korngold, Schreker and R Strauss Sinfonia of London / John Wilson Chandos (5/22) 111 VOTES Beethoven Symphonies Nos 6 9 La Capella Nacional de Catalunya; Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall Alia Vox (2/22) 102 VOTES
seems wrapped in his own world, huddled somewhere in a woodland retreat or boldly striding across open plains. Try the first movement’s second theme, presented by violins, accompanied by a prominent harp (11'31"), a blinding burst of sunlight which, once spent, collapses into the doldrums with hoarse double basses and a mournful trombone oration. Or there’s the first of the two ‘Nachtmusik’ episodes, again replete with sounds of nature. You’ll hear woodwinds recalling birdsong, folkish oboes and at 7'33", a tumbledown climax ending with a strummed snap that could have escaped from the world of jazz. Mahler was rarely more his true creative self than in this masterpiece, or more responsive to the inner promptings of his own complex personality. Kirill Petrenko ensures that his Bavarian players leave no stone unturned, and the vivid recording captures every earthy detail. Rob Cowan
44 GRAMOPHONE GRAMOPHONE RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR 2022
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