&ldquoAs Alsop faced the cellos and drew from them the most tremendously shaped phrases with every inflection of her baton, you were aware of being in the presence of greatness.&rdquo

Mahler: Symphony No. 1

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Naxos 8.572207
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This new recording from Baltimore has immaculate orchestral playing to commend it along with a feeling of discovery. Alsop’s sound-world captures not only the hothouse forte passages but also those quiet, chilling moments. Tension never slackens for a moment and this is where the technique of using live concert performances has certainly paid dividends.

…Marin Alsop gives us an interpretation that showcases the strings rather than blowing us away with loud percussion and raucous untamed brass. It’s just about the most gentle, romantic and beguiling Mahler 1 I’ve ever come across. Indeed, it’s so far away from Solti’s approach that it sounds like a different piece. With Alsop there are no histrionics and the playing is as smooth as silk. It’s a really unusual, different approach and it’s delightful to hear. The orchestra is in spectacular form.

…There is no distracting applause at the end of the symphony, thank goodness, and this allows for a few seconds thought before realising what a cracking performance has just taken place.

John Whitmore, Music WEB INTERNATIONAL (UK)


Alsop brings a vigorous spring to the music’s step…At no point does her Mahler seem anything less than well considered and expertly groomed.



It’s a thoughtful performance, very reined-in for the most part, though when Alsop finally lets her Baltimore forces off the leash in the closing peroration the effect is so startling that it blows you away…