CDs / DVDs, 08. April 2003
Hidden Treasures On Those Obscure Labels

Those of us who have been around a little while have long ago learned that in classical recordings the off the beaten track small budget label with not so well known artist can often put the full price bigger names to shame. It was Vox after all, not Philips, that first extensively recorded a then unknown Alfred Brendel in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The same label also signed up al little known conductor named Jascha Horenstein. Hartmut Haenchen is a respected conductor in Europe whose recordings of the music of Haydn and J.S. Bach’s sons have been widely praised. His Mahler in concert is also widely respected in Germany and Holland and it is from the latter that this concert performance with the Netherlands Philharmonic (actually the orchestra of Radio Netherlands) originated. Originally taped for a studio recording but the sound in more than acceptable and fully carries the weight of this score. It is Haenchen’s gripping and edgy performance though that will ban any of that from mind. Mahler gave full vent to his demons in this work and Haenchen and the orchestra cope quite well with them. Although out of print officially keep a look out as it does pop up on occasion. At the price it is well worth investigating.

R. Fill