Mahler: Symphony No. 4 / Albrecht, Netherlands Philharmonic

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The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra lives up to its reputation for its brilliant Mahler performances and surpasses all expectations under the baton of conductor Marc Albrecht. And Elizabeth Watts’ performance in the final movement is surely one not to be missed. The chemistry between Watts and the orchestra is utterly pervasive. With a voice described by International Record Review as “one of the most beautiful Britain has produced in a generation”, Watts sweeps the listener off their feet with this sunny, accessible symphony from Mahler.


This is a lovely performance–sensitive, very well played, shapely and effortless. Conductor Marc Albrecht makes his points without exaggeration, revealing personal touches in his care for proper observance of Mahler’s dynamics and his concern for textural clarity. Yet the big climaxes in the first movement and Adagio have plenty of impact, and in soprano Elizabeth Watts we have one of the best singers set loose on the tricky finale in many a moon.

This being Mahler, of course, there will always be a criticism here and there. The trio sections of the scherzo might just be a touch too relaxed, and Albrecht’s fondness for portamento could well strike some listeners as excessive, particularly in the Adagio, but these are quibbles. I am less happy with the sonics, which are quite impressive when the music is loud, but lack body at lower dynamic levels, even with the substantial boost in the volume. Still, this small reservation could very easily be a non-issue on your own sound system.

Holland being “Mahler central” some of the idiomatic response to the music was to be expected, but that doesn’t do anything to diminish Albrecht’s sympathetic handling of the score overall. A winner.

- ClassicsToday

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: PTC5186487

  • UPC: 827949048760

  • Label: Pentatone

  • Composer: Gustav Mahler

  • Conductor: Marc Albrecht

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Performer: Elizabeth Watts