Graham Rickson
“(…) Stephane Denève’s Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra make an astonishing rich, dark sound. (…) Denève’s tempi were well-chosen in the extreme – the first movement’s march theme never feeling rushed, the glorious second subject’s ebb and flow beautifully caught. The pastoral idyll at the centre was sublime boasting gossamer string trills, tinkling cowbells and exquisite wind solos, Mahler’s unsettling, subversive bass pedal making its presence felt. Denève’s first movement coda was brazenly exultant, the Scherzo’s opening bars consequently more oppressive. The Trio’s rhythmic quirkiness was nicely caught, and the movement’s deathly, exhausted winding down was sheer perfection. (…) Denève’s vast Finale mesmerised, the thirty minutes passing in the blink of an eye. (…) Mahler’s emotional extremes were realised to perfection. Performances this good lead you to believe that a triumphant ending could just be within reach, making the last minute collapse that more alarming. The lonely trombone chorale was devastating here, and the stunned silence which greeted the last note spoke volumes. (…) Terrific stuff in other words – and the same team repeat this programme in Nottingham later today and in Edinburgh on Monday. Unmissable.”

click to see a pdf of the full review