New Release: Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra

A spectacular new hybrid SACD recording of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, featuring Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra, came out earlier this month on the Swedish label, BIS Records.

This is the second installment in a project which will include the complete cycle of Mahler Symphonies. (The Fifth Symphony was released last July). Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra have already recorded the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Sibelius. The hybrid recording technology attempts to capture the “surround sound” experience of the concert hall.

The conductor Bruno Walter noted that the Sixth Symphony’s nightmarish final movement “ends in hopelessness and the dark night of the soul.” This movement is filled with strange sounds, from the augmented percussion section which includes cowbells, low offstage bells, and fateful hammer blows, to ghostly passages like this.

But first, listen to the powerful drama which unfolds in the Andante moderato:

Recordings

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

7 thoughts on “New Release: Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra

  1. Lots of beautiful playing here, but I can’t get behind a performance that places the Andante moderato as the second movement. The finale is SO much more jarring when the Andante immediately precedes it and offers a dramatic contrast that leaves a much stronger imprint on the listener.

  2. Great write-up, Timothy. And Michael, I was thinking the same thing. Timothy, the link you offered seems to be broken. It only opens a 404 for me – could you resend? Curious what it is. Thank you!

    • In his November, 2007 Gramophone article, James Conlon writes,

      The order of the inner movements of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony has been a knotty problem for many decades. Having written the symphony with the Scherzo (S) as the second movement and the Andante (A) as the third, Mahler then switched the order, and never reverted to the original order again. All subsequent performances until 1919 were in the order A/S. Then Willem Mengelberg, on the “authority” of Mahler’s widow Alma, changed to S/A. He was the only one, however. There would have been no ambiguity, except for the 1963 publication by the International Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft of a critical edition by Erwin Ratz. Ratz posited that the order, as originally conceived, should be respected. Consequently, in the past 40 years, the symphony has been performed more often than not S/A, contrary to Mahler’s own practice. Ratz based his entire “historical argument” on Alma’s 1919 telegram to Mengelberg — “First Scherzo, then Andante”. But, as revealed in his own correspondence, he already doubted Alma’s credibility, as have many others.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend