MAHLER: Symphony No. 2 in C minor "Resurrection."
Christiane Oelze, soprano; Sarah Connolly, mezzo-soprano; MDR Rundfunkchor; Berliner Rundfunkchor; GewandhausChor; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orch/Riccardo Chailly, cond.

MAHLER: Symphony No. 8 in E flat "Symphony of a Thousand."
Erika Sunnegârth, Ricarda Merbeth, Christiane Oelze, sopranos; Lioba Braun, Gerhild Romberger, altos; Stephen Gould, tenor; Dietrich Henschel, baritone; Georg Zeppenfeld, bass; MDR Rundfunkchor; Chor der Oper Leipzig; GewandhausChor; Thomanerchor Leipzig; GewandhausKinderchor; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orch/Riccardo Chailly, cond.

ROSSINI: William Tell Overture. PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 1 in D "Classical." TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64. JOHANN STRAUSS II: Tritch-Tratsch Polka.
World Orchestra for Peace/Valery Gergiev, cond.
C MAJOR DVD VIDEO 707008 TT: 83 min. + 21 min "bonus."

MAHLER: Symphony No. 4 in G (with soprano Camilla Tilling). Symphony No.5 in C# minor.
World Orchestra for Peace/Valery Gergiev, cond.
C MAJOR DVD VIDEO 702608 TT: 133 min. + 21 min. bonus

Riccardo Chailly has a long association with music of Gustav Mahler. When music director of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (1988 - 2004) , he conducted a Mahler Festival in 1995 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Mahler performance at the Concertgebouw. During his tenure, he made highly acclaimed recordings of all of the symphonies and the Deryck Cooke version of Symphony No. 10. Oddly, Chailly never recorded Das Lied von der Erde. These Decca recordings all boasted the label's well-defined sound and are still in the catalog. For a short period of time, Chailly's 2000 recording of Symphony No. 8 was available on DVD Audio, covered on this site (REVIEW).

Since 2005 Chailly has been music director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. This year the Leipzig Mahler Festival presented all of the composer's symphonies with various conductors (Esa-Pekka Salonen, Alan Gilbert, Fabo Luisi, Yannick Nézet-Seguin,. Valery Gergiev, Daniel Harding, and David Zinman, and orchestras (Dresden Staatskapelle, New York Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, Bavarian Radio Symphony, MDR Symphony, London Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Zurich Tonhalle). Chailly and the Gewandhaus Orchestra performed symphonies 2 and 8, and Accentus has rushed to make these available. Symphony No. 2 was recorded May 17/18, Symphony No. 8, May 26/27. DVD notes mention that Chailly's soloists are all from the Leipzig community, and all are superb: you will not find another recording of Symphony of a Thousand with soloists superior to those heard here. And the performances are outstanding in every way—brilliant orchestral playing under Chailly's benevolent leadership, and expert choruses. It is intriguing to note that the audiences show respect for the music— despite the thrilling climaxes of both symphonies, the audience doesn't interfere with the music by applauding too soon. If you love Mahler's music you must get these videos. Camera work is just about perfect and often we have the opportunity of seeing the beautiful expanse of the Hall. It appears the complete orchestral requirements were met for Symphony No. 8—it isn't often we have the opportunity to see four harps on stage. Audio is excellent, rich and wide in dynamic range,and well-balanced.The only debit, and a minor one, is that Chailly did not place extra brass for Symphony No. 8 in the balcony where they would have been more effective—especially in multi-channel sound. Don't miss these!

The World Orchestra for Peace appeared at the BBC Proms in April 2010, and made its first appearance in the Arab world at the Abu Dhabi Festival performing in the Emirates Palace April 1, 2011. These are now issued on DVD. This is a remarkable virtuoso orchestra consisting of top players from many orchestras organized about 15 years ago with the help of Sir Georg Solti. They give a number of concerts each year to great acclaim, and are heard at their best in these stunning BBC performances of the two Mahler symphonies. Taped in Royal Albert Hall, we have the advantage of the rich acoustics of the venue. And the performances are magnificent, particularly Symphony No. 5 in which brass playing is spectacular. Exciting concerts indeed! By comparison, the Abu Dhabi Festival concert is of lesser interest. The orchestra is somewhat smaller in size, and the concert hall sound is not particularly flattering. Audience reaction seems surprisingly reserved, almost not enough to warrant the Strauss encore. Each DVD includes a brief documentary of history of the World Orchestra for Peace.

R.E.B. (October 2011)