The Arts Desk Reviews the Utah Symphony's Mahler Symphony No. 1

The Arts Desk critic Graham Rickson has a new review of Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony's Mahler: Symphony No. 1 recording:

“Wonderfully played too, by an orchestra many won't have heard of, under a conductor usually associated with French repertoire. Readers with long memories may remember a pioneering 1960s and 1970s Mahler cycle recorded by the Utah Symphony under Maurice Abravanel, frustratingly difficult to find now. Abravanel’s zeal compensated for the occasional lapses in ensemble. There are none in this performance. Thierry Fischer's approach is refreshingly big-hearted and low on angst; the first movement's brassy coda suitably cheery. The scherzo's trio doesn't always sound this charming, the rhythms so sweetly pointed. … Fischer does let rip in the extended finale – the opening outburst full of fury, softening nicely before the Tchaikovskian big tune appears. It sounds delectable, the string portamento applied with real care. There's no mid-movement sag, and the closing minutes are great. Nice to hear the extra zing to the horn sound near the end, which suggests that this live performance does have the players standing up – I've seen several performances where this hasn't happened. Highly recommended in other words; the booklet tells us that Fischer performed the whole cycle with the Utah players, so one hopes that more were taped. Perfect for Mahler sceptics – this composer's most concise, approachable symphony, captured in glowing sound.” —Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk

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