Now very much the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, Kirill Petrenko was until recently the music director of Bavarian State Opera and Orchestra. This Mahler Seven (from concerts on May 28 & 29, 2018, in the National Theatre, Munich) is superb – excellently recorded, with applause removed, and handsomely presented.
It’s an absorbing and illuminating reading throughout its seventy-three minutes, pregnant with the keenest anticipation from the first bar, tumultuous come the Symphony’s very close. The first movement is as rapturous as it is impetuous – add in irresistible swagger. The pivotal third movement is as shadowy and as spectral as needed, and the ‘Nachtmusik’ movements either side of it – respectively a nocturnal processional and a dusky serenade (the latter with guitar and mandolin) are finely judged, the former kept on the move to avoid the stasis it can fall into. As for the daylight Finale – here launched by a flamboyant timpani solo and fearless high-note trumpets – well, Petrenko lets it off the leash for a carnival of colour and incident. As throughout, with fired-up and punctilious playing, his attention to detail and very particular timbres, balances and blends hallmark an account of the utmost distinction, alongside Bernstein (DG, his second recording) and Gielen (Hänssler).
Alongside Osmo Vänskä’s recent Mahler Ten (http://www.colinscolumn.com/osmo-vanska-and-the-minnesota-orchestra-record-mahlers-tenth-symphony-for-bis/), Petrenko’s Seven is something very special. BSOREC0001.
Interesting that US reviewer David Hurwitz hates the Mahler 7 with a vengeance! (Pretty well a lone voice from what I have read.)