MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA (April 5, 2023) — The Minnesota Orchestra’s first new album in over two years will be released this week: a recording of Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony under the direction of Osmo Vänskä, the newest album in their years-long effort to perform and record all ten of Mahler’s symphonies. On Friday, April 7, the Swedish label BIS Records will release the album, which was recorded at Orchestra Hall in February 2022. The album will be available on streaming platforms and for purchase through the Orchestra’s website at minnesotaorchestra.org and from other online retailers.
Mahler’s Ninth Symphony is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the Austrian composer’s entire repertoire. Fellow composer Alban Berg called the work’s emotionally intense first movement “the most glorious thing Mahler has written.” The symphony’s rustic second movement evokes folk music, and the third—the symphony’s shortest—is marked by its bitterness. The culminating Adagio reaches an emotional climax before peacefully fading away. Mahler died in 1911, without ever hearing the symphony performed.
This forthcoming release is the eighth album in the Orchestra’s Mahler recording project, which the organization initiated in 2016 under the direction of then-Music Director Osmo Vänskä, who stepped into the role of conductor laureate in September 2022. The Orchestra’s recording of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony received a 2018 Grammy nomination for Best Orchestral Performance. Following the release of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, the Minnesota Orchestra and BIS Records will release albums of the composer’s Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 8, both of which were performed and recorded last year.
The BIS team, led by producer Robert Suff, recorded this album as a Super Audio CD (SACD), using surround sound technology to reproduce the acoustical quality of Orchestra Hall as faithfully as possible. BIS Hybrid SACDs are playable on all standard CD players. Further information about the Minnesota Orchestra’s recordings on the BIS Records label can be found on the BIS website at bis.se.
Minnesota Orchestra Recording History
The Minnesota Orchestra, founded in 1903 as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, issued its first recording in 1924 and has since recorded more than 450 works, with Osmo Vänskä leading a particularly rich period of recording during his 19-year tenure from 2003 to 2022. The Orchestra’s Sibelius Symphonies cycle received critical praise, and the second recording in the cycle—featuring the First and Fourth Symphonies—won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance. In 2016, Vänskä and the Orchestra released a live-in-concert recording featuring Sibelius’ five-part symphonic poem Kullervo and his beloved Finlandia, plus Finnish composer Olli Kortekangas’ Migrations, a new work commissioned by the Orchestra. Other recordings by Vänskä and the Orchestra include two albums of Beethoven and Mozart piano concertos featuring Yevgeny Sudbin; a two-disc Tchaikovsky set featuring pianist Stephen Hough; and a widely-praised cycle of the complete Beethoven symphonies. The Orchestra is also featured on a recording released by Doomtree Records in November 2019: Sound the Bells, a live-in-concert album spotlighting singer-rapper-writer Dessa in a performance of her music arranged by Andy Thompson, recorded live at Orchestra Hall in March 2019 under the baton of Sarah Hicks.
GUSTAV MAHLER’S SYMPHONY NO. 9
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
MAHLER Symphony No. 9
Available for purchase on April 7, 2023, at minnesotaorchestra.org