Claudio Abbado – Mahler: Symphony No.4 (1984/2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Claudio Abbado – Mahler: Symphony No.4 (1984/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz  | Time – 58:01 minutes | 291 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download  | Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon

After hearing most of Abbado’s Mahler, early and late, I had formed the opinion that he steadily improved, moving from caution to a real and deep understanding of Mahler’s world. But just in case there were some early gems, I went back to this Fourth Syms. recorded in Vienna in 1978 (it can also be had in a bargain twofer with an almost equally impressive Sym. #2 from Chicago).

As you might expect from the Vienna Phil., the lyricism of the opening movement strikes with silken poingnancy. Abbado’s recent live remake with the Berlin Phil. bowled me over, but this VPO performance is just as winning. Some listeners may find the devil’s fiddle too gentlemanly in the second movement, which Abbado plays rather fast and straight compared to, say, Bernstein. Mahler marks the slow movement “poco Adagio,” but Abbado, like James Levine, opts for an all-out Adagio. Happily, the flexible phrasing of the incomparable Vienna strings enables a very slow melodic line to hold together ravishingly. Abbado seems to have a penchant for choosing off-beat soloists in the finale – Renee Felming with her plush, mature soprano in his later recording and mezzo Frederica von Stade here. I don’t think another mezzo has recorded the role. Von Stade sounds fresh and encompasses the notes well, but she does little to sound innocent and child-like. Her success depends entirely upon musical skill and beauty of tone. In all, an outstanding Fourth that has been overlooked. By Santa Fe Listener


Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Symphony No.4
01. Bedächtig. Nicht eilen – Recht gemächlich
02. In gemächlicher Bewegung. Ohne Hast
03. Ruhevoll (Poco adagio)
04. Sehr behaglich Wir genießen die himmlischen Freuden

Frederica von Stade (mezzo)
Wiener Philharmoniker,
Claudio Abbado (conductor)