One year ago, we celebrated the recording of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony, the Pathétique with MusicaAeterna under Teodor Currentzis as a first-rate event. Now Sony has released a further sixth symphony by these same artists already recorded in the summer of 2016, that of Gustav Mahler. Thus, the Japanese label takes into account the rapidly growing importance of the "brand Theodor Currentzis". Since the Pathétique recording the still-young conductor of Greek descent once again has lived up to his reputation as a formidable orchestral educator. Beginning with the current season, he has taken over the SWR Symphony Orchestra as its first chief conductor in addition to his ongoing commitment as chief conductor of the opera of Perm, played with the MusicaAeterna Orchestra, which he founded and educated in distant Siberia. The SWR Symphony Orchestra, which emerged in 2016 despite protests of the worldwide cultural circle by compulsory fusion from the traditional SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg and the no less traditional Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, each orchestra having cultivated its own specific sound as a result of an obvious crazy decision of the responsible SWR management, stumbled for months without proper leadership rather badly, not fish not meat, without profile through the concert landscape. No wonder that now, two sensationally successful concert cycles following the takeover of the unfortunate bunch of SWR musicians by its first chief conductor, Teodor Currentzis is blatantly celebrated as Messiah, who in a wonderful way, quasi overnight has succeeded in giving the orchestra an independent profile with a specific natural sound. You can listen and see this in astonishment on the internet at www.swr.de/swr-classic on the basis of videos of the season opening concert dedicated to Mahler's third symphony. It will be interesting to track to what heights the SWR Symphony Orchestra, which already now is sounding like a noble chamber music ensemble, will flourish under Teodor Currentzis in the future.
The MusicaAeterna Ensemble distinguishes itself through a self-reliant profile developed over the years of practicing the Vienna Classic as well as Russian compositions, not only from the profile of Currentzi’s SWR ensemble, but also from the profile of other symphony orchestras in the upper league through extreme flexibility and an unembellished sound. In the recording of Mahler's Sixth Symphony, whose slow movement occupies the third position as originally conceived, the winds excel through their smooth tone formation and seemingly infinite breathing capacity. The strings, in turn, form a block distinctly separated from the brass section, complying with the conductor's intention of emotionally uplifting Mahler's symphonic colossus, carefully exposing the internal structures of the symphony and adapting the timing to the melodies in order to adequately sing them out. The result is a highly idiosyncratic, thoroughly exciting and convincing interpretation of Mahler's tragic symphony. This recording was made in a Moscow studio under not quite optimal acoustic conditions with lush reverberation and swimming pool acoustics needing getting used to, mastered by the orchestra and its conductor as best as possible, which speaks for the high professionalism of all executing parties. Further Mahler symphony productions in the cast of the Sixth Mahler Symphony are planned, with MusicaAeterna's current concerts suggesting that Mahler's Fourth Symphony is expected to be recorded next.
aTeodor Currentzis, Leitung