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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 129

post #1921 of 3714
Thread Starter 
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......
Time to wrap up the Abbado Mahler set
Symphonies 1,5,7,9 are excellent with 7,9 making top 5 Mahler list.
Symphonies 3,6 very good just a notch below others in overall quality esp M3
Symphonies 2,4 these are only average, set would improve if 1977 CSO M2 used
Symphony 8,10 unrated

After hearing this set from 1980s and early 1990s I am struck how different Abbado sounds now in his new Mahler series with BPO. New work is more polished and restrained perhaps with some new insights and nueances added here and there, but at the expense of diminshed drama and vitality, the hero is safer more secure with easier journey in Abbado new vision of Mahler.......where is the dark under currents, the danger lurking??????

It is somewhat similar to Bernsteins later DG cycle which was often slower and sometimes more insightful as in 1,5 but also less volitile and dramatic
(will continue later)
post #1922 of 3714
DA, we are in almost complete agreement. Only divergence for me is the M6, which I like quite a lot, at least on par w/the 5, 7, 9. I never listen to the M8, so poor performance or good performance is a non-issue for me.
post #1923 of 3714
Perhaps the biggest criticism of Pierre Boulez is his willingness to scorch everything in front of him--places, ideas, and people. People including nearly every composer except himself. Batonless he is a unique soul, known to have some of the best ears in the business. Now at 80, hardly now an enfant terrible, he probably relies on reputation.

Personally, I like the balance and tautness of his conducting. Except some of his earlier recordings, it is rare to hear anything sloppy.


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post #1924 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFerrier
Perhaps the biggest criticism of Pierre Boulez is his willingness to scorch everything in front of him--places, ideas, and people. People including nearly every composer except himself. Batonless he is a unique soul, known to have some of the best ears in the business. Now at 80, hardly now an enfant terrible, he probably relies on reputation.

Personally, I like the balance and tautness of his conducting. Except some of his earlier recordings, it is rare to hear anything sloppy.


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That's fair. However, all the postmodernists are like that. Derrida, for example, was hardly gentle to sacred cows (cf. Plato's Pharmacy). Boulez still says rather heated things, but since he's been doing it for sixty years, it seems less shocking.

He has a necessary precision (his overall interpretative program requires it), and he manages to put things together in a good balance. As massive as Mahler can be, one needs precision and balance. Now, as I have said above, he does so at the expense of Mahler's Weltschmerz, but I argue that there might not be as much of it as some think. His Wagner recordings, not that there are all that many, are of more interest to me for these reasons. For example, his Bayreuth Parsifal (1970) has an interesting approach to maintaining the drama. However, I don't want to get even further off-topic.
post #1925 of 3714

OT

Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
However, all the postmodernists are like that.
I've always had trouble figuring what category PB fits. Modernism or postmodernism. Most of my limited knowledge about this comes from literature... (specifically, books by Brian McHale). Anyway, FWIW, I think PB most accurately fits the term high modernism... I'm not always sure what good categories do anyway. Guess they come in handy at times... thoughts?

-

I consider Berio's Sinfonia an example of postmodernism, which gets us back to Mahler in that it quotes M2.
post #1926 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFerrier
I've always had trouble figuring what category PB fits. Modernism or postmodernism. Most of my limited knowledge about this comes from literature... (specifically, books by Brian McHale). Anyway, FWIW, I think PB most accurately fits the term high modernism... I'm not always sure what good categories do anyway. Guess they come in handy at times... thoughts?
Boulez started out as a high modernist, but as he progressed - and the French academic milieu progressed from Formalism into postmodernism - he ended up ideologically closer to the postmodernists. I have always thought of him as a musical deconstructionist. He uses absolute precision to show the score in as clear a light possible, with the intent of showing the dichotomies that reveal the disintegration of tone. Boulez, as best as I can tell, is bent on showing that all music beforehand led up to the atonalist movement.
post #1927 of 3714

more OT

Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
Boulez started out as a high modernist, but as he progressed - and the French academic milieu progressed from Formalism into postmodernism - he ended up ideologically closer to the postmodernists. I have always thought of him as a musical deconstructionist. He uses absolute precision to show the score in as clear a light possible, with the intent of showing the dichotomies that reveal the disintegration of tone. Boulez, as best as I can tell, is bent on showing that all music beforehand led up to the atonalist movement.
I'm following this. And I'm aware that the postmodernism movement occurred simultaneous with his career. I wonder though if he wasn't educated too well in modernism and that his germane musical ideas crystalized in modernism. For, although atonal, there is very much a "grand narrative" (Lyotard) to his compositions. For example, Pli Selon Pli as the life of the individual Mallarmé. Also, the altered version of what you wrote: all roads lead to Boulez fits the idea of some sort of Boulez "grand narrative". This is opposed to a multifaceted, stories with small “s’s”, etc. (Or to get more abstract shifting of ontologies.) My sister teaches piano, but I don’t have music training. I did work with someone who attended Oberlin who, to my surprise, told me that his music is likely very deterministic. This really surprises me given how chaotic it sounds. I guess much of atonal music is, if one knows the “code” guiding it. Anyway, PB probably is both modern and postmodern. I do have Georgina Born's scorching of Boulez/IRCAM, Rationalizing Culture, but she doesn't describe any of this such that it makes sense to me. It is a very interesting look inside of IRCAM though.

--

Per the next post, moved here...
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post #1928 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFerrier
I'm following this. And I'm aware that postmodernism movement occurred simultaneous with his career. It still seems to me that, although atonal, there is very much a "grand narrative" (Lyotard) to his compositions. For example, Pli Selon Pli as the life of the individual Mallarmé. Also, the altered version of what you wrote: all roads lead to Boulez fits the idea of some sort of Boulez "grand narrative". This is opposed to a multifaceted, stories with small “s’s”, etc. (Or to get more abstract shifting of ontologies.) My sister teaches piano, but I don’t have music training. I did work with someone who attended Oberlin who, to my surprise, told me that his music is likely very deterministic. This really surprises me given how chaotic it sounds. I guess much of atonal music is, if one knows the “code” guiding it. Anyway, PB probably is both modern and postmodern. I do have Georgina Born's scorching of Boulez/IRCAM, Rationalizing Culture, but she doesn't describe any of this such that it makes sense to me. It is a very interesting look inside of IRCAM though.


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Let's go to a new thread, and avoid hijacking the Mahler thread further.
post #1929 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson
DA, we are in almost complete agreement. Only divergence for me is the M6, which I like quite a lot, at least on par w/the 5, 7, 9. I never listen to the M8, so poor performance or good performance is a non-issue for me.
One last listen to the great Abbado/CSO M7, wow what fire and passion Claudio had back then, fresh bold alive.........

Look what has just arrived, the holy grail of Mahler collectors:



The cover photo says it all about what style of Mahler is presented here........
M9 times in at 73:48

Bigshot will be happy to know 1998 Music & Arts remaster by Maggi Payne
post #1930 of 3714
DarkAngel,

That set makes me so nostalgic.
post #1931 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
DarkAngel,

That set makes me so nostalgic.
Well we know the Mitropoulos M6 is great and my reference, interesting to see if Maggi Payne master improves upon the EMI version for Great Conductors 20th Century series.

The M1 was not as good as I had hoped and will not make the top 5 list, Lenny, Solti, Kubelik have set an extremely high standard for anyone to match here.........on to other symphonies 3,5,9 looking for real jewel like M6.

If anyone has not snatched up Scherchen/Westminster M1, M7 from Berkshire Records do not delay they will gone gone at $3.99 and you will pay kings ransom to find them used
post #1932 of 3714
DarkAngel,

Let us know what other jewels the set may contain.

You know Mitropoulos is frequently described as the greatest conductor of Greek heritage, but von Karajan could give him a run for the money.
post #1933 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
.........

Look what has just arrived, the holy grail of Mahler collectors:



The cover photo says it all about what style of Mahler is presented here........
M9 times in at 73:48

Bigshot will be happy to know 1998 Music & Arts remaster by Maggi Payne

Oh do let us know what you think of that, I listen to his M6 regularly, look forward to your comments on this set DA! I recently got a CD of a boradcast of Mendelssohn performance....excellent!
post #1934 of 3714

MTT/SFSO M3

Picked this up recently (expensive! I see what you mean about these DA) and not really sure as of yet what to think of it... my only other recordings are the Levine/CSO on RCA (LP) and I think I may have a Solti/CSO around somewhere. The playing is good overall, although my initial impressions are certain sections are a bit too polite (percussion in spots). I need to do some more listening, but at this point prefer the Levine to this. I do not have an SACD player, so all impressions based on the Redbook layer.

Also, not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but the CSO is doing the M2 in March (16-17-18) with MTT conducting
post #1935 of 3714

In Praise of Solti's Mahler

AFter hearing quite a bit of new Mahler performances on CD over the past year or 2 (many thanks to this thread), I decided to go back and re-listen to my old Solti set of Mahler Symphonies. I listened to it a few times when I first got it (I was still pretty new to mahler at the time), and I was not impressed. Too shallow, too garish, too loud, doesn't plumb the depths of the music, and generally doesn't seem to "get" mahler. Abbado was certainly my favorite set at the time, with Bernstein, Klemperer, Chailly, Rattle, MTT, Inbal, Tennstedt, Szell, Klemperer, Boulez, Mitroupolis, Kubelik, and quite a few others coming later. What I notice is that while I enjoy "deep" mahler, things are getting slower and "deeper" over time, and performances are coming dangerously close to being static, or completely overblown in music that always has the danger of going over the top.

So, after listening to Boulez's 3rd recent and really enjoying it's tougher, no-nonsense interpretation, I figured why not give Solti a shot again? Well, this time it is a revelation. A perfect antidote to the current trend of "over-interpreted" Mahler. Solti plays it relatively straight, with the slow movements being primarily lyrical and flowing, and the fast movements being fast, terse, and angry sounding. Holy crap this is good stuff!! I also think this style of performance ties Mahler much more firmly in to the style of his classical forefathers, particularly Beethoven, with episodes of angry railing against the world (or fate), intersperced with moments of lyrical beauty.

Anyway, it always makes me happy to be able to hear music I thought I knew well performed so that I "hear it anew". I believe the first times I listened through this set I didn't have enough of a context to really appreciate what Solti was doing. Plus Solti is often looked down upon by the critics as an almost 2nd rate conductor, but I think he had his strong points just like he had his weak points. I think this Mahler set should proudly sit beside his Wagner Ring cycle as one of the towering achievements in the reprtoire, and certainly as one of the finest Mahler cycles available.
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