Originally Posted by iDesign
I am anxious to hear your impressions on this recording. As both you and Doc Sarvis noted in your posts, there is a tendency to perceive the first interpretations that we hear as "the way" and upon hearing subsequent interpretations it takes more acclimation with a work to percieve it as another "way". Perhaps this may have something to do with why I have been sluggish to grasp MTTs updated 7th.
I finally received the MTT Mahler 7th and started spinning it. I liked what I heard, but I have to note that the last 3 movements are much better than the first 2 movements (again 2nd movement is a bit better than the 1st), or should I say that I found them more satisfying personally? After listening to the MTT for a few days, I put on my old Kubelik DG recording (unfortunately not in SACD
) and was immediately struck by the amazingly "sleazy" timbre of the brass in the opening movement. It's as if Kubelik found a quality that MTT is incapable of recognizing! Kubelik also had a much better idea of the grander architecture than MTT. I must sadly say that once again MTT has smoothed out the bitter edge of Mahler with incredibly beautiful symphonic sound. Without doubt the SFSO has never been in better sound, but I'm not sure that this is the only thing Mahler would have demanded from his orchestra. Comparing the SFSO recording to the earlier MTT recording, I found that the architecture of the earlier movements is better sketched out in his earlier recording and that the later one seems more amorphous in the way it develops. The last two movements of the new recording are wonderful and definitely need to be heard by anyone who collects multiple Mahlers. It is not a reference Mahler for me, anyway.
Edit: If given the opportunity to go to a concert of Mahler with MTT and SFSO I would unhestitatingly buy the tickets! This is because there is a curious dynamic in a live performance that you don't get in a recording. You don't have the chance to play and replay sections and analyze what is happening but are forced to "live in the moment." Also, what appears without structure in a particular recording merely reflects the orchestra's point of development in their performance of a work. When I heard the SFSO concert last spring, this symphony was already "in the can," and for me the performance resembled his earlier recording (which I was familiar with) especially with respect to the grasp of the greater structure of the work.