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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 90

post #1336 of 3714
I have the Kaplan, and I also really like it. I don't know if it's reference for me as I have so many recordings of that work that I love, including the Mehta, Klemperer, Litton/Dallas (really excellent SACD sound quality too), Bernstein sony/dg, and now the slatkin SACD on order. This is such a crowded field and I have such difficulty prioritizing! I'm also fickle, but I guess everyone has figured that out by now.
post #1337 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
You may have already discussed this, but DA have you heard the Kaplan M2 with the VPO? The more I hear it, the more I like it - It's probably the best sounding recording of anything I've ever heard, and the playing (especially in the brass) is without equal. Since it is a purely Mahlerian (no conductor ego) interpretation, I would argue that it is THE reference M2 in the true sense of the word; e.g. a baseline with which to compare other recordings.
This is my favorite M2. It is probably one of the best recordings made in the last five or ten years. Pretty much anything off the Boulez Mahler cycle is great, too. The performance is quite excellent, too. I have heard this accused of being too studied, but I think Mahler would have loved it. Finally, a conductor that did exactly what he told him to. Also, I am sure Mahler's ego would have loved the idea that a fabulously wealthy person dropped what he was doing to devote his life to Mahler.

Kaplan managed to get a really quite triumphant performance out of an orchestra that didn't appreciate Mahler during his lifetime, and has been occasionally spotty in their interpretation. The first movement is probably the best ever performed. Even Klemperer is slightly off what I consider to be the mark from time to time.

Doc is right: this one, being as faithful to the score and interpretatively neutral as it is, should be the reference M2.
post #1338 of 3714
If you haven't read the gramophon forum comments on Kaplan , you should! If you can't get it, try searching their forums for kaplan resurrection. I also found it by googling kaplan symphony 2 and kaplan mahler resurrection, but it was not on the first google page I brought up.

Another interesting thing to find are the blogs and reviews of his live concerts. Apparently kaplan has many fans who all claim to have been reduced to tears by his interpretation of the symphony even while some say that it's not the best concert they've ever heard. Here's a typical review at Classical Notes. Below is an excerpt from the mostly tepid review:

Quote:
I came to realize that in an important way Kaplan had succeeded brilliantly at his mission – by refusing to interject his own ego, he focussed all attention upon this astounding score, complete with its bold emotion, compelling orchestration and startling quadraphonic effects, all of which, ultimately, manage to survive largely intact even without an overlay of interpretive personality.
Kind of reminds me of the reviews of Angela Hewitt playing Bach transcribed for piano, except the critics love the fact that she infuses no personality into the music. I guess there's a double standard at work here somewhere.
post #1339 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
You may have already discussed this, but DA have you heard the Kaplan M2 with the VPO? The more I hear it, the more I like it - It's probably the best sounding recording of anything I've ever heard, and the playing (especially in the brass) is without equal. Since it is a purely Mahlerian (no conductor ego) interpretation, I would argue that it is THE reference M2 in the true sense of the word; e.g. a baseline with which to compare other recordings.
I have original Kaplan/LSO/Conifer 2nd but not his new remake with VPO.

Perhaps my taste is just the opposite since my two favorite 2nds are by two conductors who have very distinct dramatic style (ego) they stamp on the work:
Bernstein & Solti
post #1340 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
Kondrashin M7 on order. M5 in heavy consideration.
M7 just arrived! M5 is on order.

Will return and report...
post #1341 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
I have original Kaplan/LSO/Conifer 2nd but not his new remake with VPO.

Perhaps my taste is just the opposite since my two favorite 2nds are by two conductors who have very distinct dramatic style (ego) they stamp on the work:
Bernstein & Solti
I like the "interpretive" versions too (although Klemperer is not my favorite), but Kaplan is "reference" mainly because it's so free of interpretation - if that makes sense. It becomes the perfect yardstick as a result - a window into Mahler's score.

In other words, by "reference" I don't necessarily mean "best" (although Kaplan VPO is the M2 I typically reach for).

Also, Kaplan's VPO brass are among the only orchestras I've ever heard to play the trumpet parts in the last movement with no noticable mistakes. As a trumpeter I appreciate that.

Just ordered the Mehta M2/Schmidt 4 two-fer for five bucks.
post #1342 of 3714
Ah, the Schmidt 4th...now there's a very special, very beautiful work. Extraordinary music. Then on to his other three symphonies, Das Buch.... If you like Mahler, you'll like Schmidt. And Mehta's recording is not only the best this symphony has every had (and there are seven), it's probably the best conducting Mehta ever did.
post #1343 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
Just ordered the Mehta M2/Schmidt 4 two-fer for five bucks.

that's the one I picked up at my favorite used cd store for under $5 (including the sales tax). One of my happier purchases. You will love that recording and the Schmidt too.
post #1344 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Ah, the Schmidt 4th...now there's a very special, very beautiful work. Extraordinary music. Then on to his other three symphonies, Das Buch.... If you like Mahler, you'll like Schmidt.
Up to a point. When I heard "The Book of the Seven Seals" live in Cleveland a few years ago, I thought I was going to have to rip my own head off because the piece is endlessly turgid and I wasn't sitting on the aisle where I could escape. I have subsequently gained a partial, grudging respect for the piece: There really are some great parts, but there's an awful lot of thick choral counterpoint in between the brilliant moments. Best to have a recording to sample it in sections instead of being trapped in a non-stop performance. The symphonies are better, much more lucid.
post #1345 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
Up to a point. When I heard "The Book of the Seven Seals" live in Cleveland a few years ago, I thought I was going to have to rip my own head off because the piece is endlessly turgid and I wasn't sitting on the aisle where I could escape.
Ouch! That sounds like a work to avoid.
post #1346 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Ouch! That sounds like a work to avoid.
It all depends on your tolerance for heavy, turgid textures. I have a low tolerance for relentlessly roiling textures. I remember when I read Hesse's "Steppenwolf" years ago and got to the point where he pictures both Brahms and Wagner wandering in a desolate plain, doing penance for the sin of having written more notes than were strictly necessary to get their points across. I just about laughed my head off, because I often felt the same way about their orchestral pieces. But they were saints compared to Schmidt's B7S. In short, I just think he was trying too hard. Mahler, by contrast, has an almost preternatural sense of security in how he deploys his forces. It makes his achievement all the more impressive to think along those lines: If it is extremely difficult for anyone to write a masterpiece, imagine how that difficulty is multiplied by the epic scope Mahler used. Yet he still has the courage to have many passages in his symphonies where only one or two instruments-- out of the hundred or more on stage!-- are playing. Schmidt rarely had the confidence to let his ideas stand that nakedly under the spotlight, and who could blame him?
post #1347 of 3714
Mark, that description reminds me of the first time I saw Amadeus on Broadway. There came a point where the Emperor (the new one) listens to one of Mozart's works and doesn't like it. When pressed, he just says "too many notes." The whole audience just gasped in astonishment with some nervous laughter. Too many notes is a critique of many musical compositions (not that it should ever have been made about Mozart), and the ones that deserve it are usually not Wagner and Brahms. I wonder what Hesse made of Bruckner and Mahler?
post #1348 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Mark, that description reminds me of the first time I saw Amadeus on Broadway. There came a point where the Emperor (the new one) listens to one of Mozart's works and doesn't like it. When pressed, he just says "too many notes." The whole audience just gasped in astonishment with some nervous laughter. Too many notes is a critique of many musical compositions (not that it should ever have been made about Mozart), and the ones that deserve it are usually not Wagner and Brahms. I wonder what Hesse made of Bruckner and Mahler?
I've never heard anything about Hesse's thoughts on Bruckner and Mahler. It would be interesting to hear. Seems like I have a vague impression somewhere in my distant memory that he didn't much like anything more modern than Mozart.

I certainly remember that passage in "Amadeus". I once got to play Count Orsini-Rosenberg in a local production, the fella who tears the pages out of Mozart's score because "the Emperor forbids ballet in his operas".
post #1349 of 3714
Hey, I was in Cleveland for that performance. I went there for that very reason -- snow and all. What a stunning performance! I admit the work isn't for everyone, but if you are attuned to it, musically and spiritually, it packs a powerful punch. Do you realize that in this 2 hr work Schmidt uses every musical style from Gregorian Chant to 12-tone serial writing? Maybe that's the "turgid" writing you didn't like. It had monumental fugues, and seriously great organ interludes. I can't speak highly enough of this work. It's been rarely performed in the US, but is quite popular in Germany and Austria. There have even been 8 CD recordings made!
Oh well, I can't stand Mozart's Requiem, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. All a matter of taste...
post #1350 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
I've never heard anything about Hesse's thoughts on Bruckner and Mahler. It would be interesting to hear. Seems like I have a vague impression somewhere in my distant memory that he didn't much like anything more modern than Mozart.

I certainly remember that passage in "Amadeus". I once got to play Count Orsini-Rosenberg in a local production, the fella who tears the pages out of Mozart's score because "the Emperor forbids ballet in his operas".

Oh, capisco! Ma che meraviglia! Perfetto! Veramente ingegnoso!


I must agree with Strack, though, there is far too much Italian chittero-chattero going on at Head-Fi!
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