CDs / DVDs, 26. November 1999

I'm not an afficianado of Mahler 6th, but I do love the Mahler that I know well (1, 2, 5, and to some extent, 4, 7, 10). This recording, however, made me fall in love with 6 immediately. There's a lot that is diabolic, sweeping, and overwhelming, although I'm not so sure about how well-recorded the hammer blows are. The playing of the Netherlands Phil is first rate, and they are recorded in the Concertgebouw. While not the clearest digital recording I've ever heard, it avoids a lot of the DDD pitfalls, and some details, especially in the finale, are very well brought out. At the price, you surely can't get much better performance, or for that matter, at any price. All this leads me to conclude that Haenchen is an unsung excellent conductor. I've now heard a lot of his Haydn and some of his Mozart (w/ CPE Bach CO on Berlin), his Strauss and now his Mahler, and have never been less than greatly impressed. Maybe LaserLight will do the right thing and record just about everything the man conducts!
Gregory M. Zinkl (Chicago, IL)