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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 128

post #1906 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Only 2 minutes and some seconds faster than Mahler's time of 74 minutes. It can be done -- now why is not being done? Are there repeats not taken or sections of development being skipped (as they edit Shakespeare for performance perhaps Mahler was edited as well)? We need someone with a score to tell us what is happening.
Bunny,

There are no repeats in Mahler's 2nd. Kubelik's basic tempos are generally fast, and then he makes fast transitions as well. Thus, he comes in with a swift timing. So, yes, that puts him in the neighborhood of Mahler's own timing, but what of it? As a critic, I have certainly written some reviews that put performers on the grill for not closely following a composer's score, but at what point does that merely become reductio ad absurdam? Kubelik may hit the clock mark that Mahler set, but a listening to any of his recordings with Mahler score in hand shows that he misses or glosses over an enormous amount of details that Mahler took the trouble to write down. So it doesn't look like he is truly achieving the vision that Mahler had, he's achieving his own vision. If it's okay for him to achieve his own vision and still make us love Mahler, then I'm coming to accept the notion that it is okay for Bernstein or Sinopoli or Chailly to conduct slow performances of Mahler, because they are using his works as doorways, not as dead-ends. Mahler wasn't so much interested in having others imitate him as he was in seeing others take his music and find their own truths & revelations... Just as we as listeners do, too. I think it is important for a few musicians to devote some energy to obsessing over the scores and other forms of research in order to try and make a Mahler performance that sounds something like it might have in his own day. But in the end, what matters is what we choose to have it sound like today. And tomorrow.

Mark
post #1907 of 3714
Hi Mark,

Thanks for the reply! I have always understood the score to be a launchpad rather than the landing point. I just could not understand why some performances stretch out so long and others do not. Thanks for the clarification.

For my own personal taste, I need a performance that balances tempo with detail; not so fast as to lose everything nor so slow that one becomes obsessed with the small things that are seen best in passing. Sometimes the slow performance exaggerates details and thus distorts things in a way that while intriguing, is best described as unnatural, like a fish-eye lens view of the music.
post #1908 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
My Abbado Mahler set arrived, got this at:
Overstock.com

Cost was $65 with almost free shipping, very hard and expensive to find elsewhere, so grab one if interested, packaged in 2 chubby jewel cases with booklet and slipcover. Overstock also has nice inventory of the Ancerl Supraphon Gold series so grab some if you missed first time around, hard to find now.

Let me tell you what is in set since info hard to find:
BPO 1,5,8 (same 1,5 shown above)
VPO 2,3,4,9,10 (M3 can be found used)
CSO 6,7 (M7 available on used DG budget CD)

You can also grab a couple additional used CSO performances not in this set, there is a CSO/DG Galleria M5 and a 2CD DG featuring CSO M2 and VPO M4 (this M4 in set above) The older CSO M2 is much better than new Abbado Lucerne M2 BTW........

Will report more soon as request by Tyson...........
Tyson
Any idea why the brilliant minds at DG choose the 1994 live VPO 2nd over the older 1977 CSO 2nd for inclusion in Abbado Mahler set?

I suspect the VPO is considered the Mahler orchestra of choice and the 1994 sound with "4D mastering" sounds incredibly dynamic and powerful, several climaxes had the walls reverberating! I think performance wise I actually prefer the CSO 2nd, the later VPO 2nd reminds me a bit of Sinopoli version recently heard.

Several passages noteably slowed down only to suddenly erupt into volcanic climaxes of great magnitude, the CSO has more of a vibrant spontaenous feel, more free flowing and less deliberate. I like both of these better than newest Abbado Lucerne 2nd BTW........
post #1909 of 3714
I agree completely, I actually owned the CSO recording before I picked up the complete set, and it is certainly better, IMO.
post #1910 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Tyson
I already owned the 1,5,7 from this Abbado set so was aware of thier quality especially the 1984 CSO 7th which is in my top 5 Mahler list, but the real unknown jewel for me is the 1988 VPO M9......what a great performance that is! Seems Abbado was at his creative Mahler peak in the mid 1980s turning out some great performances up until very early 1990s work.

The newest BPO M9 was my favorite of the newest Mahler series by Abbado, but this VPO M9 surpasses it in all respects even sound quality! I am so impressed I will add it to top five list and remove the mighty live Karajan M9 so beloved by all critics......


Top 5 Mahler list by symphony, top pick first:

1)Bernstein/DG + Solti/LSO/Decca Legends + Kubelik/Audite + Horenstein/Unicorn + Scherchen/Westminster
*
2)Bernstein/Sony + Solti/CSO/London + Rattle/EMI + Mehta/Decca Legends + Litton/Delos + Kaplan/Conifer
*
3)Horenstein/Unicorn + Bernstein/Sony + Barbirolli/BBC Legends + Kondrashin/Melodiya + Solti/London + Salonen/Sony
*
4)Szell/Sony + Renier/RCA + Inbal/Dennon + Bernstein/DG + Levine/RCA + Welser Most/EMI
*
5)Bernstein/DG + Kondrashin/Melodiya + Sinopoli/DG + Gatti/Musical Heritage + Barbirolli/EMI GROTC
*
6)Mitropoulos/EMI Great Conductors + Kondrashin/Melodiya + Bernstein/Sony + Szell/Sony +Solti/London + Sinopoli/DG
*
7)Kondrashin/Melodiya + Bernstein/Sony + Kubelik/Audite + Abbado/CSO/DG + Scherchen/Westminster + Solti/London
*
9)Ancerl/Supraphon Gold + Kondrashin/Melodiya + Bernstein/Sony + Kubelik Audite + Abbado/VPO/DG
post #1911 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Tyson
I already owned the 1,5,7 from this Abbado set so was aware of thier quality especially the 1984 CSO 7th which is in my top 5 Mahler list, but the real unknown jewel for me is the 1988 VPO M9......what a great performance that is! Seems Abbado was at his creative Mahler peak in the mid 1980s turning out some great performances up until very early 1990s work.

The newest BPO M9 was my favorite of the newest Mahler series by Abbado, but this VPO M9 surpasses it in all respects even sound quality! I am so impressed I will add it to top five list and remove the mighty live Karajan M9 so beloved by all critics......
I was listening to the Abbado CSO 7th last night.. the two 7th's that I know the best are the 1984 Abbado and the CSO Levine (from around the same time, maybe a little later). The striking thing is that they are mixed so differently (Levine is RCA Red Seal), that at times the personality of the work comes off completely differently. As far as the interpretations go, Abbado 7th is like a hazy meadow while Levine's is a brighter valley.. Levine brings out details that are somewhat lost in the Abbado version, yet Abbado brings out parts that Levine misses. I'll have to pull out the Levine again and so some back-to-back if I can find the time. They're both great versions, and they actually compliment each other very well. It's interesting listening to the same orchestra in two very different recordings under different batons. I have to give the nod to Levine, I prefer many of his choices in tempo and feel, plus the recording is more coherent. Now, I have the Abbado 7th on a remaster, and I do feel it's improved from the original (at least what I can remember of it), but I still feel that the mix is just wierd in places, and it's hard to know if these balance issues are due to Abbado's control or the DG engineers.

I have a similar issue with the Abbado 1988 M9. I have the original issue so maybe the remastering helps, but that DG multi-mic mix just bugs me in places. I feel like I'm sitting in the middle of the orchestra, which is nice in places, but I feel like I need to get up and step back so I can hear a coherent "whole" - I just don't get that from many of the 80's DG recordings. They improved things somewhat in the 90's but I still get that feeling when listening to the Boulez Mahlers that I have (1, 6 and 9). I guess I'm brainwashed by the Telarc approach. As for Abbado's M9 performance, I like it, it's one of my favorites for sure, but he glosses over some of the details, especially in the 1st movement that I like to hear more fleshed out.

I will probably like the Zander, esp. if he does the 9th anything like he does his 3rd.. though maybe that episodic approach won't be as effective with the 9th?

-jar
post #1912 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masonjar
I was listening to the Abbado CSO 7th last night.. the two 7th's that I know the best are the 1984 Abbado and the CSO Levine (from around the same time, maybe a little later). The striking thing is that they are mixed so differently (Levine is RCA Red Seal), that at times the personality of the work comes off completely differently. As far as the interpretations go, Abbado 7th is like a hazy meadow while Levine's is a brighter valley.. Levine brings out details that are somewhat lost in the Abbado version, yet Abbado brings out parts that Levine misses. I'll have to pull out the Levine again and so some back-to-back if I can find the time. They're both great versions, and they actually compliment each other very well. It's interesting listening to the same orchestra in two very different recordings under different batons. I have to give the nod to Levine, I prefer many of his choices in tempo and feel, plus the recording is more coherent. Now, I have the Abbado 7th on a remaster, and I do feel it's improved from the original (at least what I can remember of it), but I still feel that the mix is just wierd in places, and it's hard to know if these balance issues are due to Abbado's control or the DG engineers.

I have a similar issue with the Abbado 1988 M9. I have the original issue so maybe the remastering helps, but that DG multi-mic mix just bugs me in places. I feel like I'm sitting in the middle of the orchestra, which is nice in places, but I feel like I need to get up and step back so I can hear a coherent "whole" - I just don't get that from many of the 80's DG recordings. They improved things somewhat in the 90's but I still get that feeling when listening to the Boulez Mahlers that I have (1, 6 and 9). I guess I'm brainwashed by the Telarc approach. As for Abbado's M9 performance, I like it, it's one of my favorites for sure, but he glosses over some of the details, especially in the 1st movement that I like to hear more fleshed out.

I will probably like the Zander, esp. if he does the 9th anything like he does his 3rd.. though maybe that episodic approach won't be as effective with the 9th?

-jar
I have problems with Zander -- I like his work to a point, but I feel like he just doesn't get there for me.
post #1913 of 3714
Have to say thanks to this thread, I've picked up the Boulez Mahler 3, 5, and 6. I've only listened to the 3rd so far, but I have to say that it is GREAT. Much different than most performances, it really emphasises the "hard" aspects of the music, with a more martial (military) feel than any other version I've heard. Mahler performed as a bad-@ss instead of a neurotic hypersensitive. Can't wait to get through 5 & 6....
post #1914 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson
Have to say thanks to this thread, I've picked up the Boulez Mahler 3, 5, and 6. I've only listened to the 3rd so far, but I have to say that it is GREAT. Much different than most performances, it really emphasises the "hard" aspects of the music, with a more martial (military) feel than any other version I've heard. Mahler performed as a bad-@ss instead of a neurotic hypersensitive. Can't wait to get through 5 & 6....
Good, good. Edward Seckerson of Gramophone panned Boulez's 5th, calling it a "requiem for a fashion victim," but I really like it (but I love all of Boulez's Mahler). I like your characterization of Mahler's personality through the Boulez-filter. You will find a dearth of emotion in Mahler done by Boulez, but I think that you will find that Boulez finds the score at that expense.
post #1915 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson
Have to say thanks to this thread, I've picked up the Boulez Mahler 3, 5, and 6. I've only listened to the 3rd so far, but I have to say that it is GREAT. Much different than most performances, it really emphasises the "hard" aspects of the music, with a more martial (military) feel than any other version I've heard. Mahler performed as a bad-@ss instead of a neurotic hypersensitive. Can't wait to get through 5 & 6....
Boulez M3 at yourmusic.com, all others have good used price at Amazon

I have them all (except M2) and find them "interesting" alternative versions with great clarity and spotlight on inner detail.......but none are in my favorite versions exactly because not enough neurotic emotional fireworks, this is Boulez's world not Mahler's world for me.

Listening again to Abbado M1 from set, almost ready for overall set wrap-up.
post #1916 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
Good, good. Edward Seckerson of Gramophone panned Boulez's 5th, calling it a "requiem for a fashion victim," but I really like it (but I love all of Boulez's Mahler). I like your characterization of Mahler's personality through the Boulez-filter. You will find a dearth of emotion in Mahler done by Boulez, but I think that you will find that Boulez finds the score at that expense.
I found the 5th the least compelling of Boulez' cycle so far mainly because of the other Boulez Mahler 5th I have. It is a radio-check from around 1970 of Mahler's 5th with the BBC Symphony. The sound isn't good and the playing is very rough in places, but the whole thing has an excitement about it that the VPO recording just can't touch.
post #1917 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masonjar
I will probably like the Zander, esp. if he does the 9th anything like he does his 3rd.. though maybe that episodic approach won't be as effective with the 9th?

-jar
It's pretty effective, something like a cross between Bernstein's high drama and Horenstein's grimness.
post #1918 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel

The newest BPO M9 was my favorite of the newest Mahler series by Abbado, but this VPO M9 surpasses it in all respects even sound quality!
Really?!? I'll agree that the VPO M9 has a more ingratiating recorded sound, but there's something about the finale in the later recording that tears into it like the earlier one never does. To me, the live BPO seems to make an emotional leap to a plane that the earlier recording never quite did. Of course, that's just from my point of view
post #1919 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
I found the 5th the least compelling of Boulez' cycle so far mainly because of the other Boulez Mahler 5th I have. It is a radio-check from around 1970 of Mahler's 5th with the BBC Symphony. The sound isn't good and the playing is very rough in places, but the whole thing has an excitement about it that the VPO recording just can't touch.
As much as I love the Boulez Mahler cycle, I have to admit that the 5th (especially the Trauermarsch) is not the most exciting in the bunch. Granted, I don't need my Mahler to sweat blood, but I can see how it might be a problem for some.
post #1920 of 3714
I just listened to the Boulez Mahler 5 and it is a bit lacking. Still has that drier, less ripe soundworld, but lacking in the toughness of the Sym 3 performance. Oh well. On to the Boulez Mahler 6.....
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