Not since the time of Fritz Reiner has the Chicago Symphony produced such nuanced sound. Performed in Orchestra Hall, October 19-21, 2006, under Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink, this is breathtaking Mahler. Haitink brings his Concertgebouw legacy to Chicago, a burnished sound laden with abundant Mahlerian sturm und drang. This may be the long sought performance of the great nature opus. Time will tell.
While the Chicago Symphony maintains its reputation as the “best brass in the land”, the strings and woodwinds are the stars of this recording. Haitink”s considered tempi are consistent with his earlier Concertgebouw recording, presenting with detailed clarity the many interwoven melodic lines. It is exquisite phrasing in which this recording truly excels.
The grandeur of the Chicago Symphony in their home, Orchestra Hall, is captured with great realism by recording engineer Christopher Willis. Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano, is a beautifully integrated soloist and the Women and Children’s Chorus of the CSO is ideal for the fourth movement Divertimento. The peroration of the final movement unfolds majestically with unhurried drama, concluding with stunning emotional impact. This is a Mahler Third you must get to know. Enthusiastically recommended.
— Ronald Legum