What New York can expect from its next music director

What New York can expect from its next music director


norman lebrecht

May 01, 2016

The Lebrecht Album of the Week is a Mahler 3rd symphony from Dallas. Any good?

van zweden m3


On first hearing, this performance is efficient and attractive with sustainable speeds and some fetching solos from the concertmaster, Alexander Kerr. The vocal soloist Kelley O’Connor lacks heft and any dimension of the ominous in her Nietzschean admonition, but that may be a balancing fault in the hall rather than a conductor or singer shortcoming. The choirs do their bims and bams with every possible display of enthusiasm, and then some.

It takes a second hearing to determine what’s missing…

Read on here and here.


  • Itsjtime says:

    Norm, I gotta call you out, here. How can a recording predict a half decade of performances…with a different orchestra?
    Recordings???? Really Norm? EVERYONE AND ANYONE who has ever taken part in a studio recording knows that the producer /engineer/tonemeister is a GIANT part of the finished product. Hopefully we will continue to see studio recordings becoming less and less relevant as live concerts can be seen via the web. Studio recordings served an intergral purpose to everyone needing music from the time the post was delivered by pony until recently. Today they are vain inauthentic advertisements. However, I am totally jazzed that the Beatles catalogue is now on Sootify.

  • harold braun says:

    It’s a very fine recording,beautifully played….Heard him in concert,it was always fresh,exciting and passionate.If this album were conducted from a certain lady conductor,only the good reviews(if there were any)would be cited here.

  • Olassus says:

    Titling sequence should be:

    kids’ chorus
    main chorus

    Font sizes at discretion.

  • Itsjtime says:

    My bad …live

  • John Borstlap says:

    Next to negative reviews, there are as many positive ones, demonstrating the many different ways to perform and to appreciate Mahler:




    All these ciritics (incl. NL) seem to have heard quite different performances….. as usual.

  • MacroV says:

    While I haven’t heard the recording, I’d submit that one recording isn’t really an indicator of how a conductor will work out as music director for another orchestra (and I would note they have issued several other recordings, so perhaps one should listen to those before drawing any conclusions). And while Mr. Lebecht’s focus is on the conductor, it should be no surprise to anyone that the Dallas Symphony is capable of playing an outstanding Mahler 3.

    A little off-topic, what I find really interesting in van Zweden’s move to New York is that it belies the frequent insistence on this blog and elsewhere that the U.S. “Big Five” is an obsolete term. He is leaving an orchestra with which he is having considerable success (some reports of imperious behavior notwithstanding) and where they presumably would have gladly extended his contract a few more years, and nobody finds it surprising, which says very clearly that there is an elite tier of U.S. orchestras and that Dallas, terrific an orchestra as it surely is, is still not one of them. It’s probably more about budget and the institution’s artistic ambition than it is about how the ensembles actually play, but the difference is there.

    • John Borstlap says:

      It’s about expectation and reputation rather than the factual achievements of orchestras. The DSO is just a fantastic orchestra and on their current level obviously a ‘young’ one. But convention is still around in the minds.

      Concerning Van Zweden’s recordings: the profundity and musical intensity he brings to well-known repertoire is very impressive. An ‘early’ box with Brahms symphonies with Dutch orchestras (and not the Concertgebouw Orchestra) is one of my treasures, and his Parsifal concert performance in Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard – without pomposity, fluent and clear, and with subtle but intense expression, a Wagner cleansed of leaden ‘teutonic’ tradition and as fresh as if written yesterday:


      Still on internet:


  • Petros Linardos says:

    Is there a bias against Jaap van Zweden in this blog?