CDs / DVDs, 27. Juni 1999
Haenchen's a 5-Star Conductor with A 3-Star Recording

Even after listening to Karajan, Bernstein, and Barbirolli, I still find Haenchen's conducting of Mahler's 6th to be truly insightful and more than an artistic match for the over-priced major label versions. Haenchen knows how to mine the poetry from this symphony of death with a 1st mvmt that isn't off to the races like so many others; a 2nd mvmt which doesn't lose it's pulse; a fragile 3rd mvnt taken at a slower-than-usual pace, yielding even greater pathos; and a 4th mvmt of roaring drama. This a performance of controlled passion and persuasive intellect. Unfortunately, the DDD recording is not first-class (it's at a distance, a bit unfocussed, and has a limited high-end), but it is a serviceable document, more than good enough to grasp Haenchen's stunning vision of Mahler. At this price, there's no reason not to snap it up. (By the way Haenchen's Laserlight CD of Bruckner's 4th is also a world-class performance.)
By A Customer