Mahler has always been a darling of most of the recording companies, a standard, if not sure, vehicle for conductors to become more...popular and a sort of trap for potential buyers (or listeners in the age of streaming) to get easily involved in the sound panorama of the composer's kaleidoscopic world.
Just the last few months we experienced the release of three CDs of the composer's Sixth Symphony, two of his Fifth and one of his Second, his Ninth and Das Lied von der Erde. These are the following:
- In April, the Ninth with the much less known (in recordings) Essen Philharmonic under the rather promising Tomas Netopil, on Oehms.
- In May, a brilliant new account of the Second by the seasoned Mariss Jansons with his supreme Bavarian forces, on BR Klassik, in an excellent recording.
- In May too, a new bright Fifth with the Dusseldorf S.O. under Adam Fischer in a well presented and recorded CD by Avi-music.
- In September, the BR Klassik gave us a new interesting (and well recorded) Das Lied von der Erde with Rattle and the Bavarian Forces along with an heroic tenor (St. Skelton) and a sensitive M. Kozena.
- In October, l'enfant terrible of the contemporary Classical Music scene Teodor Currentzis in a a quite "new" reading of the Sixth: bold but missing the actual dramatic essence of a complex emotional work, in an unconventional recording by Sony.
- Almost simultaneously, the Berlin Philharmoniker label provided us with what destined to be the last concert of Sir Simon Rattle as the Music Director of the great German Orchestra, in a quite pricey (but also luxurious) set of two CDs (it juxtaposes the last concert with the first live encounter of the conductor with the BPO in 1987, performing the same Symphony by Mahler) plus an informative Blu-ray.
Finally, H.M. presented just this month a new account of the Fifth with the once promising Daniel Harding and his Swedish forces in a not so "hot" recording.
For avid collectors, probably all of them can have something to add...For loyal Mahlerians, I feel that Jansons' Second and A. Fischer's Fifth would give them enough to appreciate. Finally, for the fans of BPO or Rattle (or of both), the new costly set of Mahler's Sixth is an inevitable must.