The Swedish label BIS Records is releasing the fifth album of the Minnesota Orchestra’s ongoing Mahler recording series—a recording of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, conducted by Music Director Osmo Vänskä and featuring soprano soloist Carolyn Sampson. The album will be available for purchase at Orchestra Hall and through the Minnesota Orchestra’s website, minnesotaorchestra.org, beginning Monday, November 25, 2019, and will be officially released digitally worldwide on Friday, December 6, 2019, and on disc in the U.S. and Canada on Friday, January 3, 2020.
Mahler’s Fourth Symphony begins with a discourse on a simple violin tune and ends with a child’s view of heaven, delivered by a soprano. A hint of darkness comes in the second movement, where death’s fiddle leads a beguiling waltz; the ensuing Adagio is among the composer’s finest slow movements. Music Director Osmo Vänskä leads the Minnesota Orchestra through this celestial symphony, which features the voice of soprano soloist Carolyn Sampson in the final movement. It was originally recorded by BIS Records in June 2018 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
This is the fifth release in the Orchestra’s project to record and release all ten of Mahler’s symphonies. The Orchestra’s recording of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony received a 2018 Grammy nomination for Best Orchestral Performance. Vänskä and the Orchestra have also released acclaimed recordings of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony; Second Symphony, Resurrection; and First Symphony, Titan. Since the Fourth Symphony was recorded, Vänskä and the Orchestra have recorded two additional Mahler symphonies—the Seventh and Tenth—for future releases on the BIS label. The project will continue with performances and recording sessions of the Ninth Symphony in June 2020.
The BIS team, led by producer Robert Suff, recorded this album as a Super Audio CD (SACD), using surround sound recording technology to reproduce the sound of the concert hall as faithfully as possible. BIS Hybrid SACDs are playable on all standard CD players. Further information about the Minnesota Orchestra’s recordings on the BIS Records label can be found on the BIS website, www.bis.se.
Minnesota Orchestra Recording History
The Minnesota Orchestra, founded in 1903 as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, issued its first recording in 1924 and has since recorded more than 450 works, with Osmo Vänskä leading a particularly rich period of recording since his tenure began in 2003. The Orchestra’s Sibelius Symphonies cycle received critical praise, and the second recording in the cycle—featuring the First and Fourth Symphonies—won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance. The first disc was nominated in the same category in 2012. In 2016, Vänskä and the Orchestra released a live-in-concert recording featuring Sibelius’ five-part symphonic poem Kullervo and his beloved Finlandia, plus Finnish composer Olli Kortekangas’ Migrations, a new work commissioned by the Orchestra. Other recordings by Vänskä and the Orchestra include two albums of Beethoven and Mozart piano concertos featuring Yevgeny Sudbin; a two-disc Tchaikovsky set featuring pianist Stephen Hough; and a widely-praised cycle of the complete Beethoven symphonies, of which two discs—one of the Ninth Symphony and one of the Second and Seventh—drew Grammy and Classical FM Gramophone award nominations, respectively. The Orchestra is also featured on a new recording just released by Doomtree Records on November 8, 2019: Sound the Bells, a live-in-concert album spotlighting singer-rapper-writer Dessa in a performance of her music arranged by Andy Thompson, recorded live at Orchestra Hall in March 2019 under the baton of Sarah Hicks.