Beautifully shaped, wonderfully colored, powerfully dramatic, and lovingly lyrical, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony's recording of Mahler's Seventh Symphony is not as only as good or better than the previous seven recordings in their Mahler cycle, it is as good or better than most of the Sevenths recorded in the past 20 years. Tilson Thomas has grown into one of America's most skilled and dedicated Mahler conductors, and his understanding of the composer's greatnesses as well as his weaknesses makes him one of the most sympathetic. Tilson Thomas understands not only Mahler's joy -- listen to the glowing climax of the opening movement's development -- but his fear -- listen to the terrifying return of the opening section of the Scherzo -- not only his tenderness -- listen to the close of the Andante amoroso -- but his humor -- listen to the opening of the Rondo-Finale. Best of all, Tilson Thomas understands his moments of real weakness, understands that the blissful climax of the opening movement takes a mighty long time to arrive, and that the humor of the Rondo-Finale is at best slapstick farce and that it, too, goes on for a mighty long time. But Tilson Thomas understands it all, and, as the French and the Buddhists say, to understand all is to forgive all. With the suave and polished playing of the San Francisco, he has created a Seventh as persuasive in its way as the strenuous Horenstein, the sensual de Waart, or the glorious Kubelík. The sound of the San Francisco's self-produced recording is warm, clear, and open.
|Symphony No. 7 in E minor ("Song of the Night")|
|1st Movement: Langsam-Allegro risoluto ma non troppo||Michael Tilson Thomas||20:43|
|2nd Movement: Nachtmusik 1: Allegro moderato-Molto moderato (Andante)||Michael Tilson Thomas||15:35|
|3rd Movement: Scherzo: Schattenhaft||Michael Tilson Thomas||10:11|
|4th Movement: Nachtmusik 2: Andante amoroso||Michael Tilson Thomas||13:33|
|5th Movement: Rondo-Finale: Allegro ordinario-Allegro moderato ma energico||Michael Tilson Thomas||18:05|