“Tinglingly alive,” was John Button’s verdict on Edo de Waart’s Mahler 9 last year with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Dutch Maestro Edo de Waart has an international reputation for conducting Mahler. It’s “in his DNA,” as he put it on Radio New Zealand Concert’s Upbeat. He does three or four, sometimes five or six different Mahler symphonies a year.

Still, he says, there are new things to find in each re-reading, like a Dostoyevsky novel. “By the third or fourth time, you have all the personas separate, and you also get a feeling of the grandness.”

Perhaps this is welcome news, since his recorded set of Mahler’s symphonies with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic was, in fact, criticised in that country for being “controlled and studio-bound” and compared unfavourably with the Royal Concertgebouw set.

Tonight, we hear him free from studio bounds in this performance captured by our own Radio New Zealand Concert team in the Auckland Town Hall last August.

Mahler wrote his great last symphony in the knowledge that a heart problem would soon end his life. For this reason, it’s often been described as “death-defying.”

Edo de Waart last came to New Zealand in 2007 to conduct Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony.  Listen to Edo de Waart’s interview with Eva Radich.

Simone Lamsma (vln), New Zealand SO/Edo de Waart

MOZART: Violin Concerto No 4 in D K218; MAHLER: Symphony No 9 in D

Recorded in the Auckland Town Hall by RNZ Concert