Classical Music Buzz > Classical music | The Guardian > Mahler: Symphony No 9 – review

Bavarian Radio SO/Haitink
(BR Klassik)

Though he has been championing Mahler's music for almost half a century, Bernard Haitink has apparently only recorded the Ninth Symphony once before, as part of his complete cycle with the Concertgebouw Orchestra for Philips, released in 1970. This version is taken from a concert in Munich last December, and despite more than 40 years in between, it's remarkable how little Haitink's interpretation has changed, at least as far as timings are concerned. The later version of the finale may be marginally faster, but the previous three movements clock in at almost exactly the same lengths as before. Nevertheless, there's a feeling of urgency about this new performance that I don't remember in Haitink's Mahler before, as if he is now almost impatient with the Ninth's resigned acceptance of mortality. There's an angularity about the woodwind lines and a rawness to the textures from what is one of Europe's finest orchestras that seems to expose the music's nerve ends; it's not always comfortable listening, but it is sometimes startling.

Rating: 3/5

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