Along with Beethoven’s eponymous 5th, Mahler’s 5th Symphony is one of the most recorded works on the planet. So there have to be some very good reasons to justify a new recording – the London Symphony Orchestra had two of them.
“Firstly, Valery Gergiev’s belief that the essence of Mahler’s music is more radical and less spiritual than recent tradition would imply. Secondly, Mahler’s writing for solo instruments is unique in the opportunities it offers an orchestra’s principal players – and the LSO’s principals are world class.
The huge dynamic range of the symphony presents special problems for conductor and recording crew. Gergiev made it clear from the start that a wide dynamic range was very much part of his conception and he did not want there to be any technical compression. If that meant that in some of the intensely still moments such as the opening of the famous Adagietto, extraneous sounds could be heard then so be it. The music is what matters.
In the final reckoning this recording of Mahler’s 5th is a considerable triumph for orchestra and conductor and, by general consent, fully justifies its place in an already well-stocked catalogue.”
James Mallinson, Producer, LSO Live.