Mahler, Gustav: Sinfonie Nr. 5 cis-Moll

Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest


Polyhymnia Label: Pentaton,, 2001

Enthaltene Werke

Mahler, Gustav: Sinfonie Nr. 5 cis-Moll


Believe it or not, it wound up sitting on my shelf, still in its original shrink wrap, until just a month or so ago, when I decided that I wanted to listen to some more Mahler on SACD and remembered that I still had the Haenchen disc buried in my collection.

Oh. My. Goodness…

Both musically and sonically, this is one of the finest recordings of the Mahler Symphony No. 5 that I have ever heard. German conductor Hartmut Haenchen just seems to get everything right. Not too fast, not too slow. Plenty of dynamics, but not overblown exaggerations. The orchestra plays with precision and power, and the engineers have done a remarkable job of capturing a live concert performance in superb....

Neither of these recordings ever seems to get mentioned in discussions of Mahler recordings, but both are gems. Overlooked gems. I recommend them both very highly!
Karl W. Nehring

Ganze Rezension
https://classicalcandor.blogspot.com, 01. September 2021
...and Haenchen offers an exciting and lithe performance with none of the dawdling in the Adagietto frequently experienced in more famous recordings.

Ganze Rezension
https://meetinginmusic.blogspot.com, 01. January 2017
The best of 15 often recommended recordings

... then my opinion on the present recording by Haenchen, which in my view is the best in my collection of more than 15 recordings of Mahler's 5th. ...
I think Haenchen has 1) a first movement among the best, when it comes to responding to Mahler's «In gemessemem Schritt. Streng. Wie ein Konduct». Streng (Strict) is the key word; the funeral marsch is about facing tragedy with dignity. Haenchen delivers....
2) a second movement that is almost as good as the very best ...
3) a third movement which is on the brisk side, but never feels hurried, but that is a matter of habit, perhaps,
4) an adagietto which is timed almost perfectly at Mahler's own tempos, and is good, if not excellent,
5) a finale which without any shade of doubt is the very best of all the recordings I've listened to, with clear contrapuntal lines and very much joy, yes, it is fresh and giocoso, a wonderful celebration!
Ganze Rezension
amazon.com, 01. July 2014
...‘The strings have a wonderful and sweet sound throughout and Haenchen does a wonderful job shaping the musical contours. There is plenty of emotion and I found it very easy to really get into the music... While Haenchen's 2nd is definitely amongst the more relaxed movements of my recordings, his interpretation does not lack in intensity where called for. Haenchen does a very fine job handling the many mood swings that occur in this movement... A hearty bravo is well deserved. This is a very fine recording that offers a splendid performance and a superior mastering job.'
Ganze Rezension
www.linnrecords.com, 01. May 2013

You don't need to rate this review, because it will be deleted anyway. I am planning to review ca. 15 performances of the Mahler 5th symphony. Before I do this, I will only tell you that this is my favourite, the only one I give a 5 star rating. I did not plan to buy all these CDs of one symphony and am not proud of my collection. I only wanted one CD that was satisfying from beginning to end, and this one is. (Among the 15, there are some that are a little bit "better" in some of the movements, so this is an overall judgement.)
Musicus (Oslo, Norway)
www.amazon.com, 29. January 2008
5 Sterne (höchste Wertung)

I bought this with my fingers crossed, - unreviewed, a live recording (not my usual cup of tea), Holland's third orchestra and a relatively (internationally) unknown conductor. My fingers are now uncrossed, - this is a "bit of a find", - an excellent, exciting performance captured in splendid sound.
I've long thought that this work has been distorted by association with Mann's Novella and Visconti's film of "Death in Venice" and as a result has been over-adagified (listen to Abbado's Chicago recording to hear what I mean). But when he wrote this (in the Austrian countryside, nowhere near Venice) Mahler was at about the happiest point in his life, - 42 and just met Alma, and before the tragedies immortalised in the Sixth. And, although it's "in C minor" the 5th works towards an optimistic, blazing, D major ending.

So it's terrific to hear Haenchen and his players present a vigorous, virile performance which strips some 8 minutes off Barbirolli and Bernstein (the VPO version), including a minute off the Adagietto. I still love the Barbirolli - nobody does dark radiance and sheer humanity better - and although I've owned the first Bernstein and the Philips' Haitink my other favourite is the second Bernstein, with the Vienna Philharmonic, who have this work in their blood and whose strings are simply the crème de la crème (as Miss Jean Brodie would have said). Sadly, my copy has been languishing in a box in a shed in Alice Springs for the past three years (while the Barbirolli has kept me company) but my memories of it are strong

If, in the final analysis, Haenchen's account, in striving to be scrupulously clean and whole, ends up lacking some of that visceral punch, the "wow" that Bernstein delivers, he is still exciting and involving (but objective at the same time, - a difficult balancing act, reminding me a little of Haitink).

The sound supports the performance gloriously. It was recorded using Polyhemia's (i.e. Pentatone's) custom-designed and built recorder, microphone pre-amps and mic. buffer electronics with DPA 4006 and Neumann KM 130 mics routed directly into a DCS DSD AD converter and a Studer 962 mixer. The result is bloody good. The soundstage is wide and realistic, the sound itself warm but clear and, although I (only) listen in stereo, the acoustic is captured brilliantly. At one point there's a door-noise in the hall and even on two speakers you can place it as being behind you, at the right and the rear of the hall. My guess is that the surround mix will be superb.

The sound makes the Netherlands strings sound as present as the Viennese (no mean compliment). Kettle drum and other percussion and clear and sharp but also deep and thunderous. At times the brass seemed a bit reticent, but you gradually notice that that is always when they need to maintain a proportionate relationship with the strings. When needed, as in the glorious chorale like peroration that closes the Symphony, they sound brilliant and bold.

A minor complaint is that whilst the instantaneous applause is well-deserved (for the performance, - just attention seeking for some audience members) I would have preferred a second or two's (sampled) silence to be inserted to allow me to let out my breath and relax (like a stunned mullet) before it came in and I joined in.

And another note of irritation, - this is a performance which strips away the externally-imposed distortions of Mann's and Visconti's Venetian associations so why the hell did the cover-artists have to go and plaster the case and booklet with pictures of bloody Venice ???!!!! Zero stars for artistic comprehension and marketing to the graphics boys.

But, with an excellent reading as well as a fine performance with great sound, five stars to Haenchen and the Netherlands Orchestraand to producer/engineer Erdo Groot. Not 5 stars with an "extra-special something" Rosette, like the Bernstein, but a very good disc in its own right.

P. SIMPSON (North Yorkshire, United Kingdom)
www.amazon.com, 28. November 2003
Beherrscht herzzerreißend

(...) Im Falle von Hartmut Haenchens Live-Aufnahme von Mahlers Fünfter Sinfonie mit der Niederländischen Philharmonie klingt das Ganze auf SACD tiefer, genauer plaziert und durchsichtiger. Eindrucksvoll, aber das gilt auch für Haenchen beherrscht-herzzerreißenden Interpretation von Mahlers "luctor et emergo"-Sinfonie.

Anthony Fiumara
Trouw, 27. June 2002
Eine komplette CD-Box mit den Aufnahmen des aufsehenerregenden Mahler-Zyklus von Hartmut Haenchen und der Niederländischen Philharmonie ist noch nicht in Sicht. Die Musiker verlangen die übliche extra Bezahlung für die bereits während der Konzerte geleisteten Dienste. Und das verhindert in dem gegenwärtig sehr schwierigen Markt die Herausgabe von Haenchens einzigartiger Vision von Mahler.

Aber ein kleines Stück davon ist doch auf einer Aufnahme der Fünften Sinfonie zuhören, welche im März 2001 im Amsterdamer Concertgebouw gespielt wurde. Das Label Penta-Tone machte davon eine Aufnahme um mit dem neuen Super Audio-System zu experimentieren, einem "Mehrkanal-System" mit "surround" Klang welcher sich nur auf einer entsprechenden Apparatur hören läßt, jedoch auch auf gewöhnlichen Stereo-Anlagen abspielbar ist.

Haenchen produziert eine ungewöhnlich kräftige, scharfe und heftige Fünfte, an vielen Stellen niederschmetternd erhaben, unter anderem durch einen von Haenchen gebrauchten Effekt, wobei während eines crescendo auch noch ein ritardando ausgeführt wird. Haenchen schildert das pure Chaos auf dem Schlachtfeld von Mahlers streitenden Gefühlen, Hoffnungslosigkeit und Ratlosigkeit, Beruhigung in wortlosen, nicht geklagtem Schmerz, schwerzhafter Leidenschaft, weit als Echo zurückkommendes "Donnern des Wütens der ganzen Welt". Bei Haenchen klingt das Adagietto wie eine durch die Sonne beleuchtete weiße Wolke, während düstere Luft ins Bild kommt, ein suggestiv dargestelltes Vorgefühl von nahendem Unheil.

Kasper Jansen
NRC Handelsblad, 01. June 2002