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Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra - Gustav Mahler: Symphonie No. 6 -

01 July 2009
Peter Heissler


In the perception of high-performing ensembles, we all too often forget that important and impressive musical activity is also carried out in the 'province'. This CD is an excellent example.

Mahler's sixth symphony is often dealt with somewhat aggressively, as if it were a dramatic tone poem by Richard Strauss: with accelerated tempi, rocky peaks of crescendos, with a permanent sense of pressure and overheating without any pause or relief, all steam ahead to the 'catastrophic' finale. Jonathan Darlington, however, refrains from taking this route. His interpretation is characterised by meticulous and harmonious dramaturgy. Every ‘energico' and ‘vigorous' (opening movement and finale), ‘weighty' (Scherzo) and ‘dramatic' offers room for the composed temperance or lyrical moments (andante) to linger and pause. Darlington administers outbursts and climaxes in carefully measured doses. His approach is especially evident during the elaborate finale. The movement, which evolves extremely organically, is developed strictly and coherently. The interpretation is never sweeping, but varies deeply, with intricate attention paid to detail and the complex musical facture. No erroneous excitement, no racing from climax to climax, no over-dramatising, and certainly no blurring over significant contrasts. The Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra follows their conductor perfectly. Not only do the musicians play with precision, verve, insistent force and the required mighty breath, but they also succeed in creating a deeply impressive reflection of the awe-inspiring sound cosmos of this symphony.
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