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The sheer orchestral and choral demographics of the ‘Resurrection’ Symphony make it visually as well as musically resonant; but video offers no added value unless some imagination is applied to the presentation of music that is as well known as this. Instead of mere score-following, and those familiar jump-cuts between soloists and sections, one might reasonably expect a bit of modest rostrum work, intercutting images of Mahler, family and associated locations, a glimpse of manuscript, photos of iconic past performances – something, in short, that might enhance rather than simply document a concert event in a notably uncharismatic hall, which seems from the few audience shots to be not entirely full. There are a few obvious camera benefits. Alto Bernarda Fink lives and breathes her solo in intense close-up, while Anja Harteros simply delivers hers, vocally exact and very beautiful, but without Fink’s presence. Jansons is not a conductor to watch, unless one takes a fairly technical interest in the pacing of the opening movement, which has some enigmatic moments. Ironically, given that the Second is usually performed alone, the show is stolen by a 16-voice arrangement of Mahler’s song ‘Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen’, sung by an ‘embedded’ contingent of the choir. They deserved a more prominent and individualised presentation, but it’s a powerful prelude to a glorious piece of music.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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