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Mahler: Symphony No. 3

Rate It! Avg: 4.5 (38 ratings)
Mahler: Symphony No. 3 album cover
Disc 1 of 2
Symphony No. 3: I. Kräftig. Entschieden
Disc 2 of 2
Symphony No. 3: II. Tempo di Menuetto. Grazioso
Symphony No. 3: III. Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast
Symphony No. 3: IV. Sehr langsam. Misterioso
Symphony No. 3: V. Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck
Symphony No. 3: VI. Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden
Album Information

Total Tracks: 6   Total Length: 92:10

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Wondering Sound

Review 49

Jayson Greene


Jayson Greene is Senior Editor at Wondering Sound and a contributing writer and columnist at Pitchfork. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, GQ,...more »

Valery Gergiev, London Symphony Orchestra, Mahler: Symphony No. 3
2008 | Label: LSO Live / The Orchard

Really big, huge, and absurdly enormous: thus goes the progression of Mahler's symphonies, in scale, scope, ensemble size and ambition — by the time he got to his Eighth, the "Symphony Of A Thousand," there was nowhere else to go, so in his Ninth he bid farewell to Earth, in one of the most exquisitely drawn-out, beatific denouements ever written (Mahler departing the mortal coil is a little like a Liza Minelli farewell tour: both… read more »

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Way way too fast


Although every note here is tightly held and audible, the whole symphony is performed much too fast and Anna Larsson in particular sounds rushed in what should be a moving valediction. No-one has mentioned Bychkov in this work but I find his treatment almost ideal - clocking in at over 79 mins, thus giving it both the depth and breadth that it needs.

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Utterly four star


On the plus side: - the man is in control every second. Ensemble is tight as a drum. - the recording is stunning. Every detail, from loudest to softest, is clearly audible. I've seldom heard such precise balancing of inner voices, even in thickly written passages However - The whole kletzmer/oompah-marching band cacophony of the first movement is so tighly controlled that it loses that wonderful chaotic Charles Ives feel. It's the Imperial Guard, not the village bands we love. - Where did the post-horn tune go? It's done so softly that it's a dim echo of what should be there. That schmaltzy, wistful solo becomes a drifting whisper, at times softer than the accompaniment. Bizarre! - I want an alto who can float like a disembodied voice. The text is philosophy, not tragedy. Anna Larsson is too loud, and too self-indulgent. She should have been playing the post-horn! - And the end is all wrong. It doesn't march briskly offstage. Those are not drumbeats at the end, they're heartbeats.

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Generally Too Fast....


Although Gergiev's recording has a wonderful first movement, rivalling Horenstein's classic recording, the finale is much too fast, especially at the end. Many conductors speed up and Gergiev is no exception. Interesting to listen to, but not a first choice. I liked the Haitink recording better, but Jascha Horenstein's reading on Unicorn and Brilliant Classics bests most of the competition. Bernstein's recordings are also exceptional, especially on DVD.

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Gergiev's cycle goes from strength to strength. This recording of Mahler's most ungainly, most lovable, and maybe greatest symphony is the best I've heard and better than I could ever imagine. It's deeply felt, with every nuance and sudden change of mood realized with perfect spontaneity, yet the long line of each movement and of the vast work itself is never lost. The wonderfully characterful LSO winds respond to his direction with such vividness that at times the first three movements sound like wordless opera. The famous posthorn solo in the third movement is magical; but there's so much magic here....In the vocal movements contralto Anna Larsson cuts to the heart, and in the glorious blaze of light at the close the gates of paradise really seem to open. Absolutely unmissable, and the sound is superb, too.

eMusic Features


Valery Gergiev

By Jayson Greene, Senior Editor

Calling Valery Gergiev "the world's busiest man" has become a classical-music-business cliché, but the force of its truth smacks you afresh when you enter his orbit. Interviewing Gergiev is a bit like awaiting an audience with the Pope, or arranging a meeting with someone living under the Federal Witness Protection Program. His mere passage seems to leave ripples in the air. It is only through a flurry of continual emails and phone calls with his… more »