Originally Posted by DarkAngel
I have finally purchased the Tennstedt/EMI
set, I already have his 2CD set of M1,M2 plus a CD with M4 which I enjoy very much so I decided to take the total plunge
Price was pretty good at overstock.com $57.........have to keep digging into older sets as nothing done recently in modern sound appeals to me, great Mahler conducting appears to be a lost art now
I think the old Tennstedt set is well worth investigating. Like Solti or Levine, the cycle has gotten pushed aside over the years, but they are actually quite remarkable. Tennstedt is especially a welcome antidote to the excessive refinement of Tilson Thomas and Abbado in recent years. In the end, Tennstedt wasn't too bothered if the cellos entered a bit raggedly, as long as they played their phrase like they meant it. One of the peaks of his cycle is definitely his Mahler 6 (which is also a little better recorded than the average for the cycle, IIRC). No discussion of best M6's is complete without Tennstedt. My overall 2 cents' worth:
1: Warm, bucolic
2: Broad, plays the extremes
3: I need to revisit this one, I vaguely recall it as being good.
4: Surges with energy in I, II; radiantly broad in III, IV
5: Good, but less energized and extreme than his live 1991 with RCOA
6: Passionate, alternately explosive and ardent
7: Good, but woolly recording vitiates drive and presence. This is a shame because the 1st mvt of 7 was Tennstedt's favorite Mahler movement.
8: Lyrical and radiant
9: Resigned and darker than many.
Some of the last recordings ever made in Kingsway Hall in London were in this cycle, and they sound good. Other recordings were made in Abbey Road Studio #1, which is pretty much the worst large studio often used for orchestral recordings.
Overall, though, a richly rewarding cycle that deserves to be remembered.