Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble & Trevor Pinnock - Mahler: Symphony No. 4 - The New Zealand Herald
21 September 2013The New Zealand Herald
...Trevor Pinnock's new take on the work, with the Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble, will nestle nicely in your CD library.
This is the Fourth Symphony, not quite as Mahler wrote it, but using Erwin Stein's pared-down version for 14 instruments and soprano soloist.
It may seem like a wilful visit to Curiosity Corner, but quaintness was not the motive behind this downsizing. Stein made the transcription for Vienna's Society for Private Musical Performances, a group founded by Arnold Schoenberg in 1918 as a way of presenting large-scale works within a limited budget.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then economy often brings its own aesthetic revelations, and this spacious recording provides a brilliant setting for them.
Steel yourself for a jolt when the opening sleighbells jingle away over piano chords, and don't be too surprised when a solo violin takes up the first theme.
From the start, the sheer adventure of hearing a well-known work anew is infectious. Precision gets priority with Pinnock, who allows his players to milk dynamics for all they are worth. Woodwind are sometimes daringly spirited and two keyboards - piano and harmonium - give climaxes the body they need.
The smaller forces occasionally take you into the later world of Kurt Weill and Fritz Kreisler, linking Mahler to a tradition that was not limited to Symphony Hall.
Related LinksRoyal Academy of MusicTrevor PinnockMahler: Symphonie No. 4