Mahler – Symphony No.2 (2CDs) – Jurowski – LPO

Covers + lossless, Not my Rip

This is a splendid Mahler Second, full of fresh ideas that actually work with the music and not against it. Vladimir Jurowski unquestionably is one of the best conductors out there today. He has a keen feeling for this music’s emotional atmosphere: consider the climax of the first movement, with a truly terrifying “struck with the bow” episode, or the incredibly spooky coda (anyone who complains that I spend too much time talking about the soft tam-tam strokes needs to listen to what they contribute here).

This performance of the scherzo is also brilliant. Jurowski adds tiny “luftpausen” between the phrases of the bustling fugato just before those two fanfare-like outbursts, and the effect is quite disconcerting, but also very humorous and clever. The way that “Urlicht” emerges from the fog of the last chord is just perfect, and all too seldom observed.

Other highlights include an incredibly gripping, measured “dead march” in the finale, and a resplendent final climax, with chorus and organ impressively sonorous. Both soloists sing very well. The andante is somewhat stiff, intentionally so (somewhat in the style of Bernstein), and its pizzicato episode near the end is marred by a hellacious cough from the otherwise very quiet audience. Offstage balances are good in terms of clarity, but perhaps a touch too distant in perspective, and there are one or two missed entrances that aren’t in any way significant (typical of a live performance of such a big, complex piece). Otherwise, the playing is extremely fine. In short, if you love this symphony you will want to hear what Jurowski brings to it.

–David Hurwitz,

Symphony no 2 in C minor “Resurrection” by Gustav Mahler
Performer: Christianne Stotijn (Mezzo Soprano), Adriana Kucerová (Soprano)
Conductor: Vladimir Jurowski
Orchestra/Ensemble: London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir
Period: Romantic
Written: 1888/1896; Germany