Our July Recording of the Month is a beautifully realised account of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, the latest instalment in the ongoing cycle from the Minnesota Orchestra under conductor Osmo Vänskä (BIS BIS2476). 

In his five-star review, Phillip Scott explains how he has enjoyed the precision, balance and character in Vänskä’s recordings of Mahler’s Fifth and Seventh Symphonies. “How would he handle the even more personal Ninth?” he muses, before admiring the malevolence of the third movement’s Burleske and the second movement’s joyously flatfooted Ländler. But, he explains, it’s the final movement that makes or breaks a performance of this symphony.

“From the first heartfelt string statement, we know we are in good hands,” he writes. “The Minnesota strings sing with a passion that matches Karajan’s Berlin Philharmonic . . . without sacrificing warmth, Vänskä doles out the emotion carefully (unlike Bernstein, who gives too much too soon). This is even finer than Vänskä’s earlier recordings, not least because it is so magnificently played and beautifully recorded as a Super Audio CD. A triumph in every respect.”

Another blockbuster finds John Nelson and the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra adding Roméo et Juliette to their distinguished Berlioz...