New Hampshire Showcase Magazine, February 26, 2004
Just because one loves music in general does not mean he/she loves ALL music or feels obliged to do so. There are many who never could whip up a great love for some of the symphonies of Mahler mainly because they find too much of him (and a lot of you will argue against this) far too long-winded. Does over a half hour for the first movement of the Third Symphony keep you entirely entranced? And so on.
Now Telarc has been issuing recordings of the symphonies at long intervals with Benjamin Zander conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra, each of which has made a good case for that work. Now we have Mahler's "Symphony No. 3" (3CD-80599). As I reported about the earlier entries in this series, we have some no-nonsense playing that uses tempos here and there that might strike some as being not quite what one is used to hearing, but they sound right in the context of Zander's shaping of the work as a whole.
The lovely vocal section is performed by mezzo Lilli Paasikivi, the Ladies of the London Philharmonic Choir and the Tiffin Boys' Choir. It might lack just a bit of the "lustig" that Mahler calls for, but all in all it is most attractively sung.
But to me, the really attractive feature of this series is the extra CD on which Zander discusses, analyzes and generally pleads the case for the work in question. It is for the sake of these discussions that I want to have the entire series and that I recommend them despite your already having in your collection other versions.
I will make no attempt to sum up what he says, other than that you will find it fascinating. Let me know what you think.