Diapason d'Or; Classics Today: outstanding.
David Hurwitz on www.classicstoday.com: "This is the same Mahler Fourth that first appeared on Intercord about a decade ago (it dates from 1988), and it's a very good one. Michael Gielen conducts a direct, refreshing, and unfussy performance that lacks only a little brilliance at the big climaxes (tam-tam in the first movement, trumpets in the third), but it benefits from the conductor's willingness to make a rough sound where Mahler requires it, as in the first-movement episode for four unison flutes and much of the scherzo. The latter's schmaltzy trio section, with a perfect application of string glissandos and characterfully chirping winds, offers a veritable clinic in an idiomatic Mahler style. Soprano Christine Whittlesey has her screechy and unsteady moments, but she also sounds quite boyish and charming in her way, part and parcel of Gielen's unvarnished approach.
But what makes this disc special is the inclusion of a work that Gielen recorded before, rather murkily, for Koch Schwann: Franz Schreker's amazingly decadent, hypnotic, tuneful, and otherwise absolutely gorgeous Prelude to a Drama (an expanded version of the prelude to the opera Die Gezeichneten). Here is one of the great masterpieces of late-Romantic orchestration, and Gielen's is the finest performance available.