Great music for small rooms - Schönberg's "Association for Private Musical Performances" made this possible. Beyond star hype and public attention, this small group wanted to devote itself exclusively to the musical language and orchestrated symphonic works for chamber ensembles. The Thomas Christian Ensemble shows in this attractive double album with arrangements of the 4th symphony by Gustav Mahler and the 7th by Anton Bruckner that reduction of the instrumentation can bring a plus of experience.
The composers Erwin Stein, Karl Rankl and Hanns Eisler shared the Bruckner arrangement; Stein was solely responsible for Mahler. Freed from pasty orchestral layers of colour, the music shines as if after a cure of fresh cells. What was intended as a stopgap measure against sloppy performances still provides completely new insights into the substance and structure of the now recognized masterpieces.
Hissing and applause was prohibited in Schönberg's club. If the performers had played only half as well as the Thomas Christian Ensemble, there would not have been any demonstrations of displeasure anyway. Christiane Oelze lends the heavenly vocal part in Mahler's Fourth the necessary distance to earth. The clear recording envelops the instruments pleasantly with natural ambient sound - one can hardly escape this effect...
"It's fascinating!" Fanfare raved over Bruckner and praised Mahler's "excellence of playing and sound". The "quite outstanding" (klassik.com) recording also made it onto the best list of the German Record Critics' Award - truly "hugely enjoyable!"