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David Briggs’s virtuosic transcriptions of Mahler symphonies for organ and here with choir represent a very significant personal contribution to the understanding of the music. A chance to play the world premiere of the Eighth on the great Skinner organ at St John the Divine in New York must have been irresistible. The results are as overwhelming as one might expect, almost too much so. The live recording is vital and clearly detailed, but there are such masses of sound in the final apotheosis that only those with ceiling-high speakers will be able to judge and appreciate the full effect. Sung committedly, though, the performance opens up previously unheard aspects of the last major work conducted by the composer himself, its performance history perhaps stalled by his death.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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