Mahler: Symphony No. 4 / Sampson, Vanska

Album cover art for upc 7318599923567
Label: BIS
Catalog: BIS-2356
Format: SACD / CD Hybrid

Vänskä, Osmo; Sampson, Carolyn; Minnesota Orchestra

In Gustav Mahler's first four symphonies many of the themes originate in his own settings of folk poems from the collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy's Magic Horn). A case in point, Symphony No.?4 is built around a single song, Das himmlische Leben (The Heavenly Life) which Mahler had composed some eight years earlier, in 1892. The song presents a child's vision of Heaven and is hinted at throughout the first three movements. In the fourth, marked ‘Sehr behaglich’ (Very comfortably), the song is heard in full from a solo soprano instructed by Mahler to sing: ‘with serene, childlike expression; completely without parody!’ The symphony is scored for a typically large, late-romantic orchestra (though without trombones and tuba) and an extensive percussion section which includes sleigh bells as well as glockenspiel. However, Mahler mostly deploys his forces with a transparency and lightness more akin to chamber music or eighteenth-century models like Mozart or Haydn. The Fourth has become one of his best-loved symphonies and is here performed by Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä, joined by the angelic voice of English soprano Carolyn Sampson. 

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