I recently posted a video of Claudio Abbado doing Mahler 5. Why am I posting another video of the same symphony? Because this version is so blisteringly amazing!!
In short, Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony play the balls off the symphony. The first movement is as good as I’ve ever heard it, full of darkness, with the incomparable Bud Herseth killing all the trumpet parts. The second movement was violent and stormy as it should be. For me the highlight of the work was the funeral march, but in a painfully close second was the Scherzo. As I mentioned in a previous post, I think the Scherzo is the hardest movement to pull off and sound convincing, so that makes it even more impressive. Dale Clevenger destroys the horn obligato. I love the transition into the trio, and these guys nail it. Coming out of the trio is a bit tricky, but Barenboim does it with such a nice touch of humor. The weakest part of this performance was the 4th movement. Weird right? It was a bit fast, but then again, I’m a bit used to the overblown version Bernstein does. It was nice, but not “Sehr Langsam.” The finale was awesome. I don’t know what took these Germans so long to get off their feet at the end. I would’ve jumped up, and let out a big woo!!! But that’s just me. I’ll for sure have to check out some more Barenboim Mahler, because this was killer.