“There’s no way this could possibly be a “youth orchestra” — it certainly doesn’t sound like one — not only technically but the way these staggeringly skillful players convey both the extraordinary power and the most intimate nuances of this masterpiece. This is one of the most thrilling Mahler performances I’ve ever heard.”
Pulitzer Prize winning critic, New York Arts
“The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra has released a new, in-concert performance of Mahler Symphony No. 6, conducted by their Music Director, Benjamin Zander. Why do we need another recording of this piece? Because this one offers a striking sense of freshness, engagement, discovery that may have something to do with the youth of the players and their conductor. How would this listener tell that it is a young orchestra? Well, not easily, since the ensemble polish is equivalent to what we have begun to expect in this rigorously demanding piece. But listening again, we detect an attentiveness that is the product of new acquaintance, a willingness to sacrifice for the whole, a sense of wonder at the composer’s imagination, that we need in every return to a classic.”
Pulitzer Prize winning composer
“This beautifully packaged 2 CD set is without doubt, the most exhilarating recording of Gustav Mahler’s deeply moving Symphony No. 6 (Tragic) I have ever heard – on several levels. The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and its extraordinary conductor, Benjamin Zander, offer a live recording from Boston’s historic Symphony Hall that is nothing less than perfection. The Symphony’s sprawling four movements – a monumental test of endurance and musicianship – sparkle with energy from first note to last. Consistently superb intonation, nuanced phrasing, extraordinary sectional and solo playing, and an electrifying urgency of intellectual purpose and message, drive the imagination and nurture the soul – a recording to cherish, extol, and pass along to others.
The sound capture on this recording is equally gratifying. Little wonder, these are the same engineers responsible for the Boston Symphony’s last two Grammy-winning triumphs. Minuscule detail – the famous sound of distant cowbells, the tinkle of a triangle – can be discerned with pristine clarity, while Mahler’s gigantic orchestral climaxes are allowed full-throated sonic resonance.
A performance of such exquisite beauty and profound depth is no accident. Maestro Zander is one of the world’s great Mahler interpreters and the incredible musicians of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra attend to his vision willingly and with spirit in this recording. The result: a vividly colorful narrative of the human condition that explores the composer’s complex psyche and illuminates the tender mercies and bittersweet longings of Mahler’s inner world.”
Editor-in-Chief, Performing Arts Review