A grand, maybe overwhelming, way for Osmo Vänskä to conclude his Minnesota Mahler cycle as the so-called ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ bursts in like powerful light, immediately arresting, with an energy that propels the music forward, sporting superb recorded sound at once scrupulous regarding balance and depth of perspective, spacious yet vivid, characterful/impressive solo voices embedded into the whole allowing orchestral sweep and detail to be unencumbered; the dynamic range is wide. Vänskä’s control of the first movement’s turbulence and potency is masterly, the calls and responses reverberating, with a well-judged, thrilling, broadening during the final minute – 3D/HD – for emotional uplift. The twenty-second silence before the Faust setting is considerate, the orchestral preamble – atmospheric and impassioned – keening the listener for Goethe’s words that fuel Mahler’s vocal and choral garlands that caress and intoxicate the ear and the senses, here with ardency, intimacy, radiance and ultimate ecstasy. This eighty-three-minute performance fits BIS 2496 [SACD] perfectly.

Carolyn Sampson (soprano)
Jacquelyn Wagner (soprano)
Sasha Cooke (alto)
Jess Dandy (alto)
Barry Banks (tenor)
Julian Orlishausen (baritone)
Christian Immler (bass)
Minnesota Chorale
National Lutheran Choir
Minnesota Boychoir
Angelica Cantanti Youth Choir
Minnesota Orchestra