Mahler: Symphonies 2 and 8

In 10 days’ time Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra arrive in London for the start of their eagerly awaited Beethoven symphony cycle at the Barbican.

As previous visits have shown, they are a formidable partnership, an impression underlined by these two Mahler DVDs, available separately. It seems the market just cannot have enough of Mahler, but with the exception of Claudio Abbado’s Lucerne DVDs, all the best interpretations are on CD, which is how I prefer to experience Mahler outside the concert hall.

Chailly and his orchestra, taped during Leipzig’s Mahler festival in May this year, do their very best to persuade me otherwise: these are red-blooded performances. The Italian conductor has long been a respected Mahlerian, capable of welding the symphonies’ huge structures and quixotic moods into a coherent musical statement.

These films capture much of the musical detail that gets lost when you are confronted by the sheer scale of Mahler’s canvas in the concert hall. They also convey the physical thrill of the “live” experience, with Erika Sunnegardh risking all in the high soprano lines of the Eighth, Sarah Connolly delivering a radiant “Urlicht” in the Second, and the massed choruses responding to Chailly’s inspirational direction in both.


Symphonies 2 and 8

Riccardo Chailly

(Accentus Music) 2 DVDs

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.