Hidden gems 2014: the albums that got away
From gloriously messy pop to avant-garde techno and a symphony for eight hands, the Observer’s critics pick some of the releases that didn’t get the acclaim they deserved in 2014
Mahler’s massive second symphony, which took six years to complete, is not so much a hidden gem as a diamond as big as the Ritz. This recording startles the ears: instead of an enormous orchestra, it has been arranged for two pianos and eight hands. The result is not merely “Resurrection” – the poem used in the symphony’s choral movement – but revelation too. Piano transcriptions, usually for two hands and one instrument, were common in the 19th century, enabling works to become better known in a pre-gramophone age. This double duet version, by Heinrich von Bocklet, was published in 1914 soon after Mahler’s death. As far as the performers know, it’s the first recording. It shines brilliant new light on this masterpiece.