A leading light of the postwar avant-garde in Europe, Bruno Maderna is chiefly remembered as one of the most important serialist composers of the 1950s and ’60s. Yet Maderna’s career as a conductor should not be overlooked since it was in this capacity that he established his reputation, presenting not only the newest modernist works but also masterpieces of the early years of the twentieth century. Gustav Mahler’s symphonies were prominent in Maderna’s repertoire, and it’s not unreasonable to say that they became an obsession for him in the final years of his life. The Symphony No. 9 in D major was a favorite, and Maderna’s love for this music is apparent in his surprisingly romantic interpretation with the BBC Symphony, recorded live in March 1971. One might expect a clinical reading from such a notable twelve-tone theorist and composer, but as a conductor, Maderna was all heart: intensely emotional in expression, liberal with rubato, flexible with dynamics, and utterly preoccupied with shaping long melodic lines into nearly operatic outpourings. This is not revisionist Mahler, carefully researched and fastidiously rendered to follow the composer’s intentions to the letter, but Mahler as performed in the wake of the boisterous 1960s revival, full of grotesque exaggerations and histrionics, and with scarcely a thought for authenticity. As a result of his extremely subjective interpretation, Maderna’s Mahler may not suit contemporary tastes; and because of the continuous tape hiss that mars this performance, those who can only enjoy all-digital studio recordings will find this CD hard to enjoy. However, this is a fascinating document of Maderna’s conducting style, and collectors of important historical recordings will find great value in this package. (source: Allmusic)
 I. Andante comodo
 II. In tempo eines gemächlichen Ländlers
 III. Rondo-Burleske
 IV. Adagio
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Bruno Maderna, conductor
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