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This release is the second in a series published by Pristine Classical chronicling the concerts conducted by Jascha Horenstein during his visits to the Swedish city of Gothenburg in the late 1960s. On all three occasions, first in January 1968, then in December of that year and finally in October 1969, Horenstein was asked to conduct works that would challenge the recently expanded Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and its newly engaged personnel, particularly in the brass section. It was for this reason that his program choices settled on Mahler’s 4th, followed by Bruckner’s 6th, Schubert’s 9th and finally Mahler’s 5th symphonies, good tests of the orchestra’s mettle and its ability to handle large-scale romantic music. These were performed in four carefully selected and attractively constructed programs that also included works by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Liszt and Saint-Saëns, all of which were recorded in-house and will be remastered for publication on this label. The present recording reproduces the last of the four Gothenburg programs conducted by Horenstein, an evening that opened with a gripping performance of Liszt’s symphonic poem Mazeppa, aptly programmed as a warm-up piece for the Mahler symphony that will be published separately.
This recording of Mahler’s Fifth, documenting the last of many occasions that Horenstein conducted the work, is the third under his direction to be published on this label following those with the Berlin Philharmonic (PASC 416) and the London Symphony Orchestra (PASC 567). The tough and tensile Gothenburg Mahler 5, not in the orchestra’s repertoire at that time, stands somewhere between the former’s "barbaric Mahler, struggling with and howling at God", and the latter’s lucid, carefully pointed, carefully controlled reading. In all three performances the spacious formal outlines are clearly and firmly profiled, with the symphony’s multitudinous details kept coherent, proportional and in context. All three performances also emphasize the strong fibers in the music while underplaying its softer centers, with Mahler’s expressionist roots clearly recognizable. The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, which had not played the work since the 1940s, responds to Horenstein’s demands with great feeling, sensitivity and dedication if not with the greatest executive refinement or precision, while the performance itself, with many felicitous details revealed, is another fine example of his unique capacity for getting the most out of his players in a short period of time.
MAHLER Symphony No. 5
1. 1st mvt. - Trauermarsch (13:22)
2. 2nd mvt. - Stürmisch bewegt, mit größter Vehemenz (16:16)
3. 3rd mvt. - Scherzo (18:26)
4. 4th mvt. - Adagietto (10:29)
5. 5th mvt. - Rondo-Finale (16:44)
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Jascha Horenstein
XR Remastered by Andrew Rose
Live concert recording, Gothenburg Concert Hall, Sweden, 16 October 1969 from the Misha Horenstein Archive.
Cover artwork based on a photograph of Jascha Horenstein from the collection of Misha Horenstein
Total duration: 75:17