This recording took place in May 2018, towards the end of Kirill Petrenko’s eight-year tenure with the Bavarian State Opera. He is the Siberian-born conductor appointed to lead the Berlin Philharmonic in 2019 after Simon Rattle’s departure. Petrenko (no relation to the conductor Vassily Petrenko) has made few recordings, and mostly refuses to be photographed or interviewed: quite a contrast to a former Berlin Philharmonic maestro named Karajan.

Petrenko
Mahler’s Seventh Symphony was for decades the odd one out, but today’s conductors have taken a shine to it. Of the nine, it is the most experimental in orchestral texture. It is less emotive than Symphonies Six and Nine, but instead presents a spooky vision of the night. Two movements are named Nachtmusik , a march and a serenade, while the scherzo is more deeply macabre than any waltz by Saint-Saëns. The finale is one of the most difficult of Mahler’s pieces to hold together: its rambunctious, unsettled zaniness betrays a dangerous edge.

The...