Mahler: Symphony No 1 in D major; Blumine

Reviewed on Wed 02 Mar, 2016

Hannu Lintu’s approach is one of coolly calculated objectivity at overall tempi that, whilst relatively slow, rarely drag. The Finnish Radio SO play admirably, with details crystal-clear in Ondine’s exemplary SACD sound, but this occasionally sacrifices realising the symphony’s joyous quality.

Hannu Lintu’s Mahler 1 faces a crowded field, with another imminently expected from Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Munich on BR Klassik. The situation is rather different, though, if you are seeking a recording with 'Blumine', the work’s rejected second movement. Lintu’s approach is one of coolly calculated objectivity at overall tempi that, whilst relatively slow, rarely drag. The Finnish Radio SO play admirably, with details crystal-clear in Ondine’s exemplary SACD sound, but this occasionally sacrifices realising the symphony’s joyous quality. Bernstein’s Vienna recording (DG) offers greater all-round passion, Kubelík (DG) finds warm affection in his classic Bavarian recording, whilst Abbado and the Berliners (DG) deliver everything with understated good taste. Lintu places 'Blumine' after the symphony, and he handles its intimate delicacy beautifully. Michael Halász (Naxos) similarly appends it, but, on balance, his less filigree realisation with the Polish National Radio SO comes a close second to Lintu. If price is a consideration, though, Halász certainly proves himself a dependable Mahlerian.
–Evan Dickerson