This is an imposing and powerful performance of Mahler’s longest symphony. Calling for a vast orchestra, multiple choirs, and a contralto soloist, Symphony No. 3 offers some huge challenges—and they’re all impressively met here. Cologne’s Gürzenich Orchestra gave the work’s first performance back in 1902, and their superb playing on this recording emanates the pride they feel in this special bond. François-Xavier Roth paces the work magnificently, striking an ideal balance between its architecture and emotional demands. Sara Mingardo is a glorious soloist, a true contralto, and she confirms the class of this production. A truly impressive piece of music-making in great sound.