Semyon Bychkov and the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln are at the peak of their powers with this, their third release for Avie, Mahler’s mighty Symphony No. 3 uniquely coupled with the world-premiere recording of York Höller’s Der Ewige Tag (The Eternal Day). Following critically acclaimed releases of Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben and Metamorphosen (AV 0017), and Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony (AV 0020), the profile of this internationally renowned conductor-orchestra team reaches new heights. The inspired pairing of the Mahler with Höller’s new work makes this release unique. Der Ewige Tag for chorus, orchestra and electronic instruments, was written for the 50th anniversary of the WDR’s Studio for Electronic Instruments and draws on quotes from Mahler’s symphonies.
"...Quite simply it is so good that it is just a sheer pleasure to listen to from start to finish. The first thing to be said about the Semyon Bychkov’s version on Avie (AV 0019) is the detail of the sound recording that lets you hear every aspect of instrumentation of this great score in excellent proportion and balance to an extent that is still surprisingly rare even in the digital era. Not just a question of the fact that it is digital but also because the balance engineers have done their jobs properly. I suppose some might call it a "close-in" balance. For me the description "no frills" springs better to mind. It is as if you have a seat in the hall near the front of the platform. There are, after all, recordings of this work where a too reverberant balance robs us of hearing just what a revolutionary canvas Mahler presents us with. Highest to lowest frequencies are accommodated with thrilling definition here and the highs and lows in this symphony are very high and very low indeed. Next is the excellence of the principal players of the WDR Sinfonie-Orchester Köln whose contribution is heard to thrilling effect by the sound balance."
"...From the start through to the end you become aware of a conductor who has thought through this movement anew and has the sense that he is telling a story. This is a "live" performance before an audience too, though you would hardly know it."