Jukka-Pekka Saraste releases his very first Mahler symphony with this recording. The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra continues the successful series of Mahler with their chief conductor.
Fate and superstition
What is most disturbing about the Sixth is its quality of objectivity: the way it seems to tell us that this is simply the way the world goes, and mostly it goes for ill. When Mahler composed the symphony he originally placed the scherzo second and the Andante moderato third, but remained unsure if this was the most effective order of movements. After trying both possible orders in some of his early performances he decided the Andante should come second, the scherzo third. He also – apparently from superstitious fear that it would announce his own death – removed the third hammer-blow, and the symphony was published in this form in 1906. However in 1910 he went back on his second thoughts and declared his intention to restore the third hammer-blow and return to the original order of the movements, as reflected in this recording.
The Andante moderato can justly be claimed as one of Mahler’s most exquisite slow movements. Though not without its darker elements, it stands out from the rest of the symphony by reason of its unforced lyricism, its melodic grace and its generally calm, warm atmosphere. Here we hear again the voice of Mahler the ecstatic song-writer, and experience an attempted withdrawal from the cares of the world.
Mahler and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
This is the fifth release of Mahler symphonies from OPO. The recording on this release was done during concerts in March 2010. Saraste and OPO are doing concerts in Europe this season with Mahler, and also perform his symphonies nos. 9, 4 and 8 in this and the coming season.