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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 121

post #1801 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
The Horenstein 3 is the only one I have heard, and it is of course a classic.

Gasp!!! Get thee a copy of the Horenstein 1 right away, my good man! Others rival Horenstein in the first three movements, a few even surpass him, but no one touches his rendition of the finale. It may be OOP right now, but it is worth the effort to find it in order to experience Horenstein's clash of the "Titan" in the finale.

Mark
post #1802 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottder
Coming February 21st:

Kletzki DLVDE and Symphony No 4 (Remastered)

Kletzki's Mahler 1 would have been one of the great early stereo recordings if he hadn't made a stupid cut in the last movement. It isn't even a large cut, so it's hard to imagine why he thought it was necessary. Other than that, though, it's a fine performance with the VPO.

Mark
post #1803 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
OK the Bertini set is on the way, as well as Mehta/LAPO/London M3 to join his fine Decca Legends 2nd.

In the meantime going through my Solti/CSO/London set again, this set contains some truely great performances.......the 2nd is just staggering in its scope and power a reference, 3rd also much better than i had remembered. As I hear more and more different versions the Solti set only grows in stature and rises above the rest.

I think in all the posts here so far I am only one who recommends Solti's Mahler other than 8th, must give Sir Georg his due.
Solti sometimes gets snubbed because he didn't pay a lot of attention to details like tempo changes and other subtleties. But he sure had a fire in the belly that most current conductors lack, so I find my respect for Solti growing over the years. His Chicago 1 and 2 are vivid (haven't heard the LSO versions). But for the 3rd, I like the LSO a lot more than the CSO digital recording, which is rushed and nervous. The 4th is okay, but perhaps isn't dramatic enough for Sir Georg to get excited about it! The 1970 CSO 5th is a wild ride, scrambles and all, and his later remake (1991 or so) just doesn't have the same damn-the-torpedoes-full-speed-ahead kind of adventure to it. The remake is tasteful, but in the end, who wants tasteful Solti? The 6th is at times relentless, but it has a lot of passion (or at least action). The CSO 7th is fast and brilliant and comes damn close to convincing me that the piece should sound like that (but not quite), and Solti's 8th is rightly famous. How is his 9th? I've never heard it.

Mark
post #1804 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Sad turn of events...............way back in 1986 when Rattle's M2 first appeared there was so much promise for new young mahler conductor to carry the torch, yet like Abbado and others he has lost his way over the years and lost touch with the essence of Mahler.........
Easy does it.

Abbado's new cycle isn't quite what one would expect from such an accomplished conductor; however, I think that it has its moments. The "chamber Mahler" approach, as I have said before, is somewhat in the vein of Boulez, but I think Abbado has a greater affinity for the Romantics that Boulez ever did. Abbado seems to have a very deft touch and an interesting sense of dynamics and tempo. However, he isn't for everyone.

However, Rattle is a man conducting far beyond his talents with the support of the British press. Like a former master of the podium at the Philharmonie, he has his talents, but he is first and foremost an excellent self-promoter. He is far better at being Simon Rattle than he is at conducting Mahler. The sad thing is that he is eclipsing some really top-notch Mahler work with his fame.
post #1805 of 3714
Solti's 9th is much like the 3rd: rushed. The last movement is particular just can't sustain tension at the relatively fast clip Solti conducts at. That's what ruins the last movement of the 3rd, too. But if you tire of those long adagios, then maybe you'll respond better than I did.
Solti's Mahler is snubbed. He does prefer the loud climaxes and does seem inpatient with the slower, more reflective sections. Nonetheless, I like his Mahler -- but I definitely prefer earlier recordings, esp. of 1 & 2 in London. His analog 5th is still exciting, as was the 6th. I never liked his 7th: the measured tremelos at the beginning -- what was he thinking? Abbado and and Levine had much better luck in Chicago with that symphony. And his Das Lied with Kollo/Minton is excellent and I still play my LP copy.
post #1806 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
Solti sometimes gets snubbed because he didn't pay a lot of attention to details like tempo changes and other subtleties. But he sure had a fire in the belly that most current conductors lack, so I find my respect for Solti growing over the years. His Chicago 1 and 2 are vivid (haven't heard the LSO versions). But for the 3rd, I like the LSO a lot more than the CSO digital recording, which is rushed and nervous. The 4th is okay, but perhaps isn't dramatic enough for Sir Georg to get excited about it! The 1970 CSO 5th is a wild ride, scrambles and all, and his later remake (1991 or so) just doesn't have the same damn-the-torpedoes-full-speed-ahead kind of adventure to it. The remake is tasteful, but in the end, who wants tasteful Solti? The 6th is at times relentless, but it has a lot of passion (or at least action). The CSO 7th is fast and brilliant and comes damn close to convincing me that the piece should sound like that (but not quite), and Solti's 8th is rightly famous. How is his 9th? I've never heard it.
Mark
Just went through the entire Solti set and the 9th is really the only weak performance, 1st movement is awkward, 2nd is OK, 3rd of course is Solti's strength but by then things cannot be saved. Have not heard the LSO 3rd but CSO 3rd is strong performance for me as I find most 3rds to be taken too slowly and of course Solti will have none of that

The LSO/Decca Legends 1st is must have additon to CSO set since the later CSO 1st cannot quite capture the strange mystery so beautifully captured. The CSO 2nd eclipses the LSO 2nd with an overwhelming total performance, it is so good on hearing it again I may have to place it ahead of Bernstein/Sony as best M2 ever made in my top 5 Mahler list. That said the LSO 2nd is still so good it surpasses all but the very best versions by other conductors.

Very strong CSO M6 that yeilds little to the very best ever, the M7 is a tricky rubick's cube that only a very few Mahler conductors can fully solve, Solti still has a couple squares out of line but puts in a valliant effort that leaves no cards on the table.
post #1807 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Solti's 9th is much like the 3rd: rushed. The last movement is particular just can't sustain tension at the relatively fast clip Solti conducts at. That's what ruins the last movement of the 3rd, too. But if you tire of those long adagios, then maybe you'll respond better than I did.
Not in the 9th. I can appreciate flowing slow movements in most of the Mahler symphonies, but not in the finale of the 9th. That is the one place where I demand for the music to be given its space.... Oh, and in "Der Abschied" from Das Lied.... Those are the only places I need slow tempos.... Oh, and in the third movement of the 1st... but those are the only places I need slow.... Those, and the finale of the 3rd...

Okay, I've rethought this, and must say that generally I prefer the long, slow adagios to those to move things along efficiently. So I won't be rushing out to get Solti's Mahler 9.

Always a work in progress,
Mark
post #1808 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
Easy does it.

Abbado's new cycle isn't quite what one would expect from such an accomplished conductor; however, I think that it has its moments. The "chamber Mahler" approach, as I have said before, is somewhat in the vein of Boulez, but I think Abbado has a greater affinity for the Romantics that Boulez ever did. Abbado seems to have a very deft touch and an interesting sense of dynamics and tempo. However, he isn't for everyone.

However, Rattle is a man conducting far beyond his talents with the support of the British press. Like a former master of the podium at the Philharmonie, he has his talents, but he is first and foremost an excellent self-promoter. He is far better at being Simon Rattle than he is at conducting Mahler. The sad thing is that he is eclipsing some really top-notch Mahler work with his fame.
I would really like to buy that patchwork Abbado Mahler set from 1980's featuring VPO/CSO performances collected together for decent used price.

The few I own from this era all seem to fare better than newest BPO/DG performances.


The early 1992/93 BPO Mahler recordings M1 M5 started out quite good, but after these something changed in Abbado's style:





Perhaps this is related to health problems not sure, but as soon as CD graphics changed to current style the performances lost stature with me.
post #1809 of 3714
My two-cents' worth on Abbado: My favorites are the early CSO/VPO Mahler recordings. The BPO first is good, but not as magical as the CSO first. The BPO 5th is better than the CSO 5th, though. After Abbado's illness, he roared back with what I found to be a very intense 9th, but then the 7th was just there, and the Wunderhorn songs disc was just there, so I haven't picked up the 3rd or 6th.

So, my Abbado picks thus far:
1: Chicago
2: Chicago
3: Vienna
4: Vienna
5: Berlin
6: Chicago
7: Chicago
8: Vienna
9: Berlin

I wish I would have been in Columbus, Ohio about 15 years ago. Abbado and the VPO came through on tour and did a Mahler 1 that people still talk about to this day.

Mark
post #1810 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Perhaps this is related to health problems not sure, but as soon as CD graphics changed to current style the performances lost stature with me.
I think that his health problems have given him a different take on Mahler. His recent disc of mostly Parsifal excerpts is excellent. He does, though, have a slight tendency to concentrate on the architecture at the expense of the drama (though this isn't distracting or as bad as Boulez's 1970 Bayreuth set). I am, then, reticent to apply this change across the board. For whatever reason, he sees Mahler in a different light. I listened to his new 6th, which seems to be one of the more polarizing of the new cycle, again. Yes, it is lighter and it isn't quite as dramatic as the 6th probably should be. However, there is a sense of resignation. It's as though Abbado says at the beginning, "He dies. Get over it." His lighter touch allows the architecture, and the machinations of fate written in the score, to come through clearly.

However, he isn't turning the most brilliant cycle ever, and that is the problem. If he likes a grim, fatalistic approach, then he should do it to the utmost of his rather considerable talents. And not with the Berliners. Their unfortunate time with the second-rate Mahlerian Von Karajan did them no favors.
post #1811 of 3714
I've bought both the much lauded M2 and the M6, both in SACD because the sound quality of the stereo was not particularly good. Very underwhelming.
These performances are so intropective and thoughtful that there is no energy at all, and very little tension. Hurwitz got it right when he called the cycle Mahler-lite.
post #1812 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
I think that his health problems have given him a different take on Mahler. His recent disc of mostly Parsifal excerpts is excellent. He does, though, have a slight tendency to concentrate on the architecture at the expense of the drama (though this isn't distracting or as bad as Boulez's 1970 Bayreuth set). I am, then, reticent to apply this change across the board. For whatever reason, he sees Mahler in a different light. I listened to his new 6th, which seems to be one of the more polarizing of the new cycle, again. Yes, it is lighter and it isn't quite as dramatic as the 6th probably should be. However, there is a sense of resignation. It's as though Abbado says at the beginning, "He dies. Get over it." His lighter touch allows the architecture, and the machinations of fate written in the score, to come through clearly.

However, he isn't turning the most brilliant cycle ever, and that is the problem. If he likes a grim, fatalistic approach, then he should do it to the utmost of his rather considerable talents. And not with the Berliners. Their unfortunate time with the second-rate Mahlerian Von Karajan did them no favors.
I'm inclined to think that Karajan doesn't even factor into it. Is there even anyone from his time still in the orchestra? Abbado had the daunting task of taking over an orchestra with a VERY distinctive sound, and making it his own. I think he achieved that by hiring new, young players. Unfortunately, he went so eagerly in that direction, that he ended up with an ensemble of super-sleek megavirtuosos who aren't terribly expressive--other than the sensuality of beautiful sound, that is. It makes me think of a line from one of Beck's songs: "The skin of a robot vibrates with pleasure." That's what a lot of BPO recordings sound like to me. Technically perfect, sophisticated, sleek and suave, not quite human, and not terribly distinctive, because it seems that almost all orchestras are playing like that these days.

And since the orchestra Abbado made is like that, he would be better off working with a contrary ensemble-- His best previous Mahler recordings were with Solti's powerhouse Chicago Symphony in the 80's. I think he tempered their aggression, and they tempered his passiveness. Sometimes contrasting partnerships are the best. Look at Bernstein and the VPO!

Mark
post #1813 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
I'm inclined to think that Karajan doesn't even factor into it. Is there even anyone from his time still in the orchestra? Abbado had the daunting task of taking over an orchestra with a VERY distinctive sound, and making it his own. I think he achieved that by hiring new, young players. Unfortunately, he went so eagerly in that direction, that he ended up with an ensemble of super-sleek megavirtuosos who aren't terribly expressive--other than the sensuality of beautiful sound, that is. It makes me think of a line from one of Beck's songs: "The skin of a robot vibrates with pleasure." That's what a lot of BPO recordings sound like to me. Technically perfect, sophisticated, sleek and suave, not quite human, and not terribly distinctive, because it seems that almost all orchestras are playing like that these days.
I think that you have explained, for me, the key problem with the Von Karajan era: technically excellent and that's about it.
post #1814 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
I think that you have explained, for me, the key problem with the Von Karajan era: technically excellent and that's about it.
Yeah, that's true. I wish Furtwangler had conducted more Mahler. We need to find a mad scientist to reanimate Furtwangler.
post #1815 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
I'm inclined to think that Karajan doesn't even factor into it. Is there even anyone from his time still in the orchestra? Abbado had the daunting task of taking over an orchestra with a VERY distinctive sound, and making it his own. I think he achieved that by hiring new, young players. Unfortunately, he went so eagerly in that direction, that he ended up with an ensemble of super-sleek megavirtuosos who aren't terribly expressive--other than the sensuality of beautiful sound, that is. It makes me think of a line from one of Beck's songs: "The skin of a robot vibrates with pleasure." That's what a lot of BPO recordings sound like to me. Technically perfect, sophisticated, sleek and suave, not quite human, and not terribly distinctive, because it seems that almost all orchestras are playing like that these days.

And since the orchestra Abbado made is like that, he would be better off working with a contrary ensemble-- His best previous Mahler recordings were with Solti's powerhouse Chicago Symphony in the 80's. I think he tempered their aggression, and they tempered his passiveness. Sometimes contrasting partnerships are the best. Look at Bernstein and the VPO!

Mark
From what I saw of the BPO in the last two nights, there are very few old timers left. One or two double bass players had grey hair and perhaps a few in the second violas and violins, but I suspect that even many of Abbado's musicians are now gone. The orchestra still sounds very good, but it's only a distant echo of HvK's plummy sound as I suspect Rattle like Abbado also prefers a leaner texture. And, the musicians tend to look very dispassionate about whatever they are playing. I didn't see anyone in the orchestra smiling except for the reeds after Mozart's Gran Partita and one flautist after the Mozart piano concerto. When I heard the M4, they all looked tired and numb, not like the broad smiles and col legno applause that greeted Ivan Fischer after the M1 from the Budapest Festival Orchestra or the applause for Barenboim from the Chicago SO after the M5.
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