Some fallibilities of execution carried into The Song of the Earth (Mahler's song-cycle symphony and denied the number 9), the exposed writing not always pristinely played. The first five movements never really took off. The opening ‘The Drinking Song of Earth’s Sorrow’ was retarded in tempo, over-analysed as if still being rehearsed, tepid in temperament, and found Stefan Vinke lacklustre of voice and character-less in delivery. He managed some rapture in ‘Of Youth’, made somewhat playful under Maazel, but was once again uningratiating in ‘The Drunkard in Spring’.
Alice Coote (said to be unwell) was more immersed in her role. ‘The Solitary One in Autumn’ enjoyed plenty of orchestral detail and lots of subtlety, isolation suggested; but ‘Of Beauty’, for all its opening pastoral idyll, had no sense of menace let alone violence when the horse tramples over the flowers; not even a canter let alone a gallop. But ‘The Farewell’ was mesmerising, bleak, surreal, death-haunted, on the edge of madness, Coote deeply expressive and with vocal allure (no ailment evident), this (here) 35-minute movement ranged from the depths of desperation to ecstatic heights, orchestral solos impeccable and meaningful. Whatever the promise of green shoots, this was ultimately a journey into isolation, an unbearable probing of the subconscious, and deeply affecting.
- Philharmonia Orchestra
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- Southbank Centre
- Maazel: Mahler Cycle 2011 – Symphony 7
- Maazel: Mahler Cycle 2011 – Symphony 3
- Maazel: Mahler Cycle 2011 – Symphony 5
- Maazel: Mahler Cycle 2011 – Symphony 4
- Maazel: Mahler Cycle 2011 – Symphony 6
- Maazel: Mahler Cycle 2011 – Symphony 2
- Maazel: Mahler Cycle 2011 – Symphony 1