Allan Kozinn
January 31, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

Mahler: Symphony No. 5

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
performer
Leonard Bernstein
distributor
PolyGram Home Video
genre
musical

We gave it a B+

At his death in October 1990, Leonard Bernstein left a legacy of video footage so vast it will take years to exhaust. Mahler: Symphony No. 5 is fairly typical late Bernstein: nakedly emotional, expansive in tempo and scope, and balanced in a way that illuminates orchestrational subtleties and revels in splashier textures. He elicits a passionate, rich-textured performance from the Vienna Philharmonic.

Director Humphrey Burton relies heavily on predictable close-ups of instruments and fingers, but he also knows when to shine a spotlight on Bernstein, capturing the magic of the conductor’s podium manner — an extroverted style that leaves conflicting impressions of supreme control and complete abandon. B+

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