“I realized that my job is to awaken possibility in others.”

Fono Forum Mahler no. 4

Christian Wildhagen - Fono Forum
CD Reviews — January 1, 2002

*Star of the month*


One could simply come out with it and call this performance of the Fourth Symphony the most felicitous (beglueckendste) Mahler recording of recent years. But since such fulsome praise may cause suspicion, a few of the splendours of this CD are herewith described in detail.

Benjamin Zander’s highly personal and colorful introduction to the work (on a bonus CD) already makes clear how much love and passion has been poured into this production. It is therefore hardly surprising that the interpretation itself is anything but commonplace. Naturally Zander bases his work on the version from 1911, the year of Mahler’s death, and draws on many of the authentic insights which were passed on by Willem Mengelberg. But in contrast to his overcautious recording of the Fifth Symphony, this time, he achieves a perfect synthesis of accuracy in detail and thrilling music making. He could not be further away from that neo-classicism which drains the work of its vitality. Instead Zander regards the Fourth as a natural successor of the Third – drawing the music completely into that exalted mood of the”Wunderhorn” world as in, for instance, the movement “Es sungen drei Engel.”

There are so many wonderful details revealed in this coherent, overall approach: a fiddle-solo in the scherzo that makes you shiver, an adagio completely withdrawn from the world and, to crown it all, the heavenly singing of Camilla Tilling – who with her child-like, boyish timbre must be considered an ideal protagonist for this movement.

Christian Wildhagen

Interpretation: *****

Recording quality: *****

Translated from German

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