Mahler: Symphony No 4 in G major

Reviewed on Fri 10 Nov, 2017

Not only are the score's inner workings probed with notable skill, textures are as luminous as they are glowing.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ádám Fischer's Mahler 7 with his infectiously eager Dusseldorf forces (the first volume in a new symphony cycle, reviewed on 20 February 2017) and can now bestow almost as warm a welcome to its successor. Fischer's delectably sprung, affectionate and pungently characterised reading of the Fourth is one of the finest to have come my way in quite some time. Right from the outset, there's a flexibility, fantasy, wit and temperament about this immensely personable music-making that hold you fast. Not only are the score's inner workings probed with notable skill, textures are as luminous as they are glowing. Fischer is also adept at conveying the unnerving, 'things that go bump in the night' mood of the first movement's development and Totentanz scherzo (the latter featuring an excellent contribution from the orchestra's unnamed leader). The slow movement – raptly intimate and anguished by turns – effortlessly tugs at the heart-strings; here more than elsewhere, however, one is conscious that Fischer's hard-working Dusseldorf strings can't match the sheer lustre of bigger-name groups. Soprano Hanna-Elisabeth Müller's is a likeable presence in the 'Wunderhorn' finale. Excellent sound and balance, too, in this co-production with Deutschlandfunk – and next up, I gather, is Mahler 1.
–Andrew Achenbach