MAHLER: Symphony No. 5 in C-Sharp minor – San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas – SF Symphony

by | Nov 15, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

MAHLER: Symphony No. 5 in C-Sharp minor – San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas – SF Symphony Multichannel SACD  821936-0012-2, 73:21 *****:

The latest installment in the SF Symphony’s Mahler SACD series was recorded live in Davies Symphony Hall (as were all the rest) between September 28 and October 2 of last year. This marked the composer’s return to a more normal layout of a symphony after his previous four more unusual efforts. It is an entirely instrumental work of five movements, opening with funeral music and having a most famous Adagietto fourth movement which is sublime in its distillation of the heartache at the center of Mahler’s emotional life.

The huge variety of colors and textures in Mahler’s scoring is ably displayed by the rich and enveloping five-channel surround field. There seems to be more solid information on the surround channels on all the SF SACDs than on most classical SACDs. The horns opening the Scherzo movement reflect in the acoustics of Davies Hall, and the pizzicato strings section is uncanny in the accuracy of the spatial placement of the instruments across the orchestra.  Altogether another exciting and satisfying Mahler interpretation which stands out from the growing number of Mahler releases on SACD. Highly recommended!

 – John Sunier

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