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San Francisco Symphony (Tilson Thomas) – ‘Mahler: Symphony No.9’  An SACD review by Mark Jordan

San Francisco Symphony (Tilson Thomas) – ‘Mahler: Symphony No.9’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

What is a conductor? In a scientific sense, a conductor is a material that transmits electricity. So, in some fundamental sense, the conductor of a symphony orchestra can be seen as transmitting energy. But what is this energy? Part of it is of course excitement and emotional commitment in a musical manner. Yet it should never be forgotten that the critical component of what a musical conductor should be transmitting is the composer’s vision. On the first count, Michael Tilson Thomas brings a controlled, refined focus to this new hybrid SACD from San Francisco Symphony Media. On the latter count, though, I wonder if Tilson Thomas isn’t functioning more as an insulator, keeping Mahler’s blazing inspiration at a safe distance. read more…

San Francisco Symphony (Tilson Thomas) – ‘Mahler: Symphony No.4’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

There are two main roads that conductors of Mahler’s ‘Symphony No.4’ tend to travel. One is more strictly classical and focused, with a narrow range of tempos and a smooth flow from one section to the next. read more…

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