Rattle's radiant Mahler epic

Rattle's vocal armies tackle apocalyptic climaxes and fine detail with appropriate finesse.

 Composer: Mahler
Repertoire: Symphony No. 8 (‘Symphony of a Thousand’)
Artists: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Simon Rattle
Rating:  4/5 
Genre: Orchestral
Label: EMI 557 9452

Mahler’s gigantic, radiant choral epic is done real justice here, with Rattle’s sure and purposeful sense of direction a major plus: he rushes a little in places and lingers in others, but not excessively so. The vocal armies respond well, with choral singing of outstanding clarity. The recording, while comfortably handling the apocalyptic decibel-level of the closing bars, is more than clear enough to highlight Mahler’s fine orchestral detail.