Yet Another Mahler 5

Mahler: Symphony No. 5, performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä conducting.

This recording launches yet another series of performances by the Minnesota Orchestra with Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, recorded by the orchestra under Osmo Vänskä in Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis in June 2016.

Composed in 1902, the purely instrumental work followed upon three symphonies that had all included vocal parts. This and the opening trumpet motif, an allusion to the rhythm that begins Beethoven’s Fifth have been interpreted as Mahler’s return to a more conventional idea of the symphonic genre. Other features are less traditional, however – a sometimes bewildering mixture of musical idioms reminds us of the melting-pot that Vienna was at the time, with allusions to Austrian, Bohemian and Hungarian styles.

To an unsuspecting audience, the famous Adagietto for strings and harp – probably the best-known of all of Mahler’s music – must also have been surprising, appearing at the heart of a work which is otherwise lavishly scored and orchestrated.

Gramophone Magazine recently wrote the following:

“The orchestral playing is crisp, the conductor’s clinical tendencies tempered by an understanding that emotional extremism is an essential part of Mahler’s idiom even if it need not be indulged”

Here is the Symphony number 5 by Mahler, the Adagietto:

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