An introspective view of Mahler symphony

Bernard Haitink leds the Chicago SO & Chorus on a measured performance of Mahler’s most ‘show-biz’ symphony

Composer: Mahler
Repertoire: Symphony No.2, ‘Resurrection’
Artists: Soloists, Chicago SO & Chorus/Haitink
Rating: 4/5 
Genre: Vocal/Orchestral 
Label: CSO Resound CSOR 901916

This introspective view of Mahler’s most ‘show-biz’ symphony will not please everyone; was Haitink’s mission to keep out of the way and let the notes speak for themselves? The massive opening movement certainly has a curious air of objectivity. Conductors tend to make the famous cello and bass introduction roar; however, Haitink takes a more measured approach – as he does in the normally hectic Scherzo, which only breaks sweat during the ‘death-shriek of despair’, and again in Mahler’s choral Finale, carried by lusty singing from the Chicago chorus. But perversely it works. Every note counts and Haitink maps a clear sense of the symphony’s labyrinthine geography.