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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 72

post #1066 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
I remember that essay from years ago as well. The essay, obviously to me now, was not about Mahler as much as it was about fear, and fear in that historic context was someting that was being sold to the public on a daily basis. It kept me away from Mahler and a lot of other music for a couple of months.

Ofcourse, my life was one frantic, busy, busy time then. That was way back when the kids were small and demanding constant and total attention. Reagan was President, the Soviet empire was still a big threat and there were movies on television about nuclear holocausts and alien invasions. Everything was threatening back then. About the only positive thing I remember from the period was the fact that we all believed that Princess Di and Prince Charles were the lovematch of the century (talk about ironies, I still have the original copy of Patriot Games -- published a bit after the essay -- which is about the Prince and Princess of Wales escaping IRA terrorists with the help of Jack Ryan! Certainly that was changed in subsequent printings.). It was also the period that saw the first understanding of the Aids epidemic, before anyone had any inkling as to whether the disease could be controlled, let alone cured. I'm certain that the disease was of concern and interest to Dr. Thomas even if it's not mentioned in that particular essay.

Today, Mahler's 9th for me is not about fear, it's about transitions in life, their inevitablility and even their rightness. Rereading the essay I am really surprised to remember just how anxious about things I was and indeed everyone was in that period. Today, after 9/11, we are living in a far more uncertain world, but for some reason I'm not as afraid as I was then, and Mahler's 9th is a good friend.
Thanks Bunny - Great post!
post #1067 of 3714
I agree with you, although I am not conscious of much before '92. I remember sitting and watching Bill Clinton's first inaugural. Now, Mahler really doesn't have that element of fear or destruction. A far more troubling work, along those lines, is Holst's Planets. That work has some deep themes of destruction and bitter loss, to my ears.
Of course, Mahler was inconsiderate enough to take his eternal leave before things got hopping in Europe, but I wonder how his music would have changed in the light of the Great War.
post #1068 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
Thanks Bunny - Great post!
Aw, shucks.
post #1069 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
I agree with you, although I am not conscious of much before '92. I remember sitting and watching Bill Clinton's first inaugural. Now, Mahler really doesn't have that element of fear or destruction. A far more troubling work, along those lines, is Holst's Planets. That work has some deep themes of destruction and bitter loss, to my ears.
Of course, Mahler was inconsiderate enough to take his eternal leave before things got hopping in Europe, but I wonder how his music would have changed in the light of the Great War.
The only fear and trembling I find in Mahler is in the 6th Symphony. That hammer, and the wait for the second blow, now that's anxiety and the essence of the destroyer.
post #1070 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
Now, Mahler really doesn't have that element of fear or destruction.
Really??? Wow, I find enormous destructive tendencies in Mahler. Especially in the 9th. The towering climaxes in the first movement that continually implode, the third movement that races to a crushing close... I find a lot of parts of the 9th positively horrifying. Like the trombones blaring the unstable motto rhythm of the 1st movement at top volume... That's downright violent, but only if the conductor plays it as written. A lot don't. What I see in the score and what I hear in some performances is a truly harrowing work. That still doesn't mean it's not a beloved old friend. We've been through some rough times together.
post #1071 of 3714
I see tremendous power and the possibility for destruction, but the fact that I do not see the destruction perhaps affects my view of Mahler. I see the tension between peace and war, creation and destruction, but in the end, peace and creation win out. I am probably about to sound like a jerk, but here goes: in the 8th, the contrast between the exultation of the Gloria Patri Domino and the quiet menace (?) of the Poco Adagio shows this. With the final peace and hope of the Alles Vergangliche, the themes of light win. I know we are in two different parts, musically and thematically, but I see this as a fundamental part of his work and the best example I could think of off-hand.
post #1072 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
I see tremendous power and the possibility for destruction, but the fact that I do not see the destruction perhaps affects my view of Mahler. I see the tension between peace and war, creation and destruction, but in the end, peace and creation win out. I am probably about to sound like a jerk, but here goes: in the 8th, the contrast between the exultation of the Gloria Patri Domino and the quiet menace (?) of the Poco Adagio shows this. With the final peace and hope of the Alles Vergangliche, the themes of light win. I know we are in two different parts, musically and thematically, but I see this as a fundamental part of his work and the best example I could think of off-hand.
Oh, okay, I see what you mean. Wasn't sure there at first.
post #1073 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
I can't find any reference for that statement, but I'd put money on it being Alma. Alma was a frustrated composer herself while Anna was more interested in visual arts.
Actually, it was Anna who endorsed Steinberg's 1953 recording of Mahler's 1st. The original cover of the Capitol LP includes a bust of Steinberg by Anna Mahler. It was reissued on CD in 1997 by EMI (7243 5 66555 2 2).
post #1074 of 3714
I know this is a strange question but has anybody heard the SACD of Bruno Walter's two piano arrangement of Mahler's 1st symphony? I was wondering if it was worth getting?
post #1075 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartley Shawcros
I know this is a strange question but has anybody heard the SACD of Bruno Walter's two piano arrangement of Mahler's 1st symphony? I was wondering if it was worth getting?
I heard it, and it's quite well done. I would just rather hear the full-color orchestral version!

Mark
post #1076 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
Actually, it was Anna who endorsed Steinberg's 1953 recording of Mahler's 1st. The original cover of the Capitol LP includes a bust of Steinberg by Anna Mahler. It was reissued on CD in 1997 by EMI (7243 5 66555 2 2).
That's even more interesting! Weird, but interesting. I'll bet she got money for the use of the bust on the cover of the LP. Considering how young she was in 1912 when the symphony premiered, I wonder how much she could have remembered of that period and the music and how much she would have known about her father's wishes with respect to the symphony. She probably was not at the premiere either, as she would have been only about 8 at the time, so her opinion must have been colored by her mother's or someone else's. Perhaps, she even made the bust on commission from the recording company! The bust below is Steinberg, (plaster) dated 1952.

post #1077 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
That's even more interesting! Weird, but interesting. I'll bet she got money for the use of the bust on the cover of the LP. Considering how young she was in 1912 when the symphony premiered, I wonder how much she could have remembered of that period and the music and how much she would have known about her father's wishes with respect to the symphony. She probably was not at the premiere either, as she would have been only about 8 at the time, so her opinion must have been colored by her mother's or someone else's. Perhaps, she even made the bust on commission from the recording company! The bust below is Steinberg, (plaster) dated 1952.

Yep, that's the bust. They caught it from a more flattering angle for the cover, dramatically lit to emphasize the shadows. I just finished listening to the performance again-- it's good enough to make me wish more Steinberg Mahler had been recorded. I know that the Pittsburgh archives include a "Das Lied" which they played once on the radio, but I don't remember it much. Overall, though, this 1st, though pleasingly piquant, is on the fast side for my taste, except for the scherzo which is curiously heavy-footed.

It is interesting to see this Anna endorsement; I don't recall hearing opinions from her elsewhere.

Mark
post #1078 of 3714
I listened to the MTT M9 again last night. If you are looking for sturm und drang for the ninth, then this one probably won't please you as much as the Chailly or Ancerl which have a lot more dramatic punch. MTT's vision is a lot more lyrical. I like it because it is an alternate interpretation, but it can't supplant the other two as reference for me. I'm definitely going to have to find a copy of the Tennstedt. I only hope that the sound quality is good -- I've become increasingly picky about that over time.

After your assessment of the Steinberg 1st, I think I'll pass on that. I've got more than enough recordings of the 1st in my collection so now I only want to add things that are truly exceptional.
post #1079 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
I listened to the MTT M9 again last night. If you are looking for sturm und drang for the ninth, then this one probably won't please you as much as the Chailly or Ancerl which have a lot more dramatic punch. MTT's vision is a lot more lyrical. I like it because it is an alternate interpretation, but it can't supplant the other two as reference for me. I'm definitely going to have to find a copy of the Tennstedt. I only hope that the sound quality is good -- I've become increasingly picky about that over time.
You seem very sold on the Chailly, so I'm going to have to venture forth and procure myself a copy of that this weekend (60 mile drive to the nearest decent store). I had hoped that Universal would send me a review copy of that, but they are incomprehensible. There is no rhyme or reason to what they send, so I'll just have to see if I can fillet a few dollars out of my wallet and get it for comparison purposes when I immerse myself into the MTT. I'm surprised to hear the Chailly has so much punch. I've found most of his cycle a little laid back, although the last few have been increasingly more alive.

As for the Tennstedt, I'll have to go back and check out the sound again. His EMI cycle was somewhat variable in sound quality. I remember the 1st and the 6th had very good recorded sound, some of EMI's best ever. The 4th was okay but not great, the 7th wasn't very well recorded at all. If I recall correctly, the 9th's recorded sound was better than the 4th, but not quite up there with the 1st and 6th. I'll check it out when I get a chance and report back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
After your assessment of the Steinberg 1st, I think I'll pass on that. I've got more than enough recordings of the 1st in my collection so now I only want to add things that are truly exceptional.
No, it's not in the truly exceptional range, and the recorded sound isn't great (1952 mono cushioned with a little modern reverb). Interesting, but not essential.
post #1080 of 3714
Mark,

Don't drive 60 miles to buy a cd! Go to amazon.com or towerrecords.com. The cost of gas will more than pay for the shipping. Even living in the big apple, I usually buy online as the prices are so much better than in the brick stores. also, one can easily pick up used cds in excellent condition at a fraction of the cost of the new ones. Btw, as a professional reviewer, can't you expense out the cost of the recording?

Good luck!

Barrie
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