Mahler’s enigmatic Symphony No 7 and South Indian flute maestro Shashank

This month’s albums from Society of Sound encompass two very different forms of classical music. LSO Live’s recording is a seminal interpretation by Valery Gergiev of Mahler Symphony No 7, while Hamsadhwani by Shashank draws on one of the most ancient musical traditions in the world.

Flute maestro Shashank hails from Hassan, a district in the Southern state of Karnataka, India. Shashank stormed into the music world at the age of seven.  He was the youngest musician to be invited by The Music Academy, Chennai (the most prestigious venue for classical music in Southern India where legends of classic music performed) at the age of 12 – a record yet to be broken in the history of South Indian Music.

This album was recorded with just 1 accompanying musician on the double-headed drum known as ‘mridangam’. The entire session was live and was recorded using Sony microphones, an O2R mixing desk and Gellec speakers with in-built amps. The recording was done over a span of just 2 days with 1 day for the live session and the second for editing and mixing. The session was recorded as if to capture a live concert in a single take.

You can read more about the history and structure of carnatic music – one of the most ancient musical traditions in the world – and this specific recording here.

Please note, the Shashank recording was not recorded in 24-bit and therefore will not be available in that format.


Mahler’s Seventh has long been regarded as his ‘problem symphony’. With a fair collection of both critics and supporters since it was first performed in 1908. Even some of Mahler’s most passionate admirers have found the structure anything but harmonious. The middle three movements in particular have caused consternation, and it’s often said that they appear to exist in a world of their own; a nocturnal, almost sinister world, in which the outer movements do not belong.

But while the Seventh can be problematic and enigmatic, what is without doubt, is that the perfect combination of the London Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev have once again come together to produce a wonderful interpretation of Mahler.

You can read more on Mahler’s Seventh here.


  • Shashank Flute says:

    It is not surprising that you opted for Flute C (K)arnatic Muisc born and bred in South India unaffected by invasions from Islam and French, Englsih and Portukese. It should also be noted that about 5500 years ago we learn Lord Krishna played bambo flute and attracted animals, birds and men and women in large numbers. Yet, Carnatic music requires understanding and appreciation of patterns of Raagas set pricisely to mathematical precision and rendered flawlessly blending imagination. We do have not anything to cpmpare in the west or anywhere. So it stands apart & unique. Western techology brings forth the exuberance expressed,mostly emotional and feeling based, through Flute,in particular. I wish to bring also the annual Music Academy performances held in Chennai (Tamila Nadu, Chennai) attracts wordwide attention. I am sure flute musicians do their part here as well.
    Your streo system speakers bring forth the orginal srudio sound flawlessly for hich I likr to congratulate. The finest I have listened.
    Thanks for allowing me to post my comments.

  • Owen Smith says:

    So now we have Mahler two months in a row (August and September). I dislike Mahler intensely, so your concentration on his works is becoming very tiring. The amount of music I find interesting on Society of Sound has really gone down over the last 12 months.

  • David says:

    It is Mahler’s double centenary this year and I’m really pleased with these recordings in commemoration.

Add a comment

We welcome debate within Society of Sound, but please keep it friendly, respectful and relevant. We have a few house rules which we ask you to abide by to keep the debate intelligent. Read more.
Product enquiry or support issue? Please click here.

Related Posts

Album review: Binker & Moses – Alive in the East? (Gearbox)

Live and dangerous Binker Golding the Moses Boyd are an unlikely musical partnership. When was the last time you saw a sax player …

Album review: Milk Carton Kids – All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do (Anti-)

Beautiful harmonies and subversive lyrics In America they put pictures of missing children on milk cartons but Joey Ryan and …

Album Review: Jon Hopkins – Singularity (Domino)

Scaling the highs and lows of human emotion You’d not guess from this album that Jon Hopkins trained to be a classical pianist …