Mahler: Symphony No. 4 in G Major
Michael Tilson Thomas & San Francisco Symphony
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||Symphony No. 4 in G Major: I. Bedächtig. Nicht eilen. Recht gemächlich||San Francisco Symphony & Michael Tilson Thomas||17:34||Album Only||View in iTunes|
||Symphony No. 4 in G Major: II. In gemächlicher Bewugung. Ohne Hast||San Francisco Symphony & Michael Tilson Thomas||9:50||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Symphony No. 4 in G Major: III. Ruhevoll (Poco Adagio)||San Francisco Symphony & Michael Tilson Thomas||25:27||Album Only||View in iTunes|
||Symphony No. 4 in G Major: IV. Sehr behaglich||San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas & Laura Claycomb||9:27||$0.99||View in iTunes|
In a class by itself
This is hands down the finest recording and performance of Mahler 4. It is literally a performance, a recording edited from concerts, and an exquisite work of recording engineering. It's also the greatest performance of this music I've heard, out of a couple dozen well known recordings of this work. MTT has the SF Symphony playing at the level of the finest orchestras in the world, and he himself has so much to say as an artist. This is a marvelous display of what Mahler means to the musicians and how they convey it, through determined expression, exceptional phrasing and focussed concentration. Simply unforgettable.
The last movement is played to slowly but the piece is a classic and Tilson Thomas is a wonderful interpreter
If you want a fantastic album and an extremely touching musical experience, look no further. You have found it here with MTT conducting the SFS in Mahler's elegant Fourth Symphony. My first listening of Mahler's 4th did not leave too lasting of an impression (the exception being with the heart-rending 3rd movement) and I quickly returned to my recordings of the more engaging 1st, 2nd, and 6th of Mahler (none of which were MTT/SFS, by the way). However, upon my revisitation to this album after a couple of months of collecting digital dust, I fell in love. The second movement took a little long to grow on me, but now I appreciate the entire work as one of my favorite Mahler symphonies and certainly one of his finest and most glorious.
Though the album as a whole is near-definitively flawless, the third and fourth movements are what really stand out. The third movement was what Mahler himself considered his finest slow movement. The finale to his 3rd is pretty darn awesome, but the 4th's slow movement is definitely a strong contender for that title. You will not be the same again after listening to the third movement of this symphony. MTT/SFS convey it masterfully and the uplifting power of it is overwhelming. You need to buy the whole album just to get the third movement. Do not hesitate for a moment. $7.99 is a fantastic deal. TAKE ADVANTAGE!
Now for the fourth movement. Again, this one took a little longer than the third for me to appreciate. But after revisiting it I became completely enchanted. I listen to the finale (using the term lightly because the music simply fades into blissful silence rather than go out with a Mahlerian bang) multiple times every week now. The soloist, Laura Claycomb has a stunningly beautiful voice which is what ultimately won me over in this recording. Her uplifting, intimate, powerful-yet-restrained voice adds to the "Life in Heaven" aspect of this movement. The symphony truly has something to say about life, and the fourth movement sums it all up. The fourth movement of Mahler's fourth symphony is one of those magical pieces of music that would make the world a better place if everyone in the world listened to it at least twice.
On the whole, this album is enchanting. It is overwhelming. It is powerful, yet it provides a refreshing breather. Mahler scored this symphony MUCH lighter than his others, which are noted for their forceful orchestration. There is no tuba or trombone in this symphony at all. It is therefore a little "lighter" than other Mahler symphonies, which suits the topic of the story well. It is also one of Mahler's shortest. This is without a fine piece of music - one of my absolute favorites - and is played expertly and immaculately. A worthy recording for any collection. Download it now and enjoy life in Heaven.
Born: December 21, 1944 in Los Angeles, CA
Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s