Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Was the price at B&N as cheap as yourmusic, or cheaper?
As for this M4, I hope the Berliners weren't playing it the same way with Abbado as they were with Rattle who opened with the bells at half tempo and then the strings coming in twice as fast as marked. The strings also sounded so thin -- more like the CBSO than an orchestra that was once piloted by HvK. I ordered it because it was cheap. Now after hearing your assessment, I'm wondering if I shouldn't just send it back unopened when it arrives. You have really damned it with faint praise -- and a complete thumbs down for Renée Fleming that can in no way be construed as praise, faint or otherwise!
Btw, I never would have guessed that the Berliners weren't a Mahler band after listening to HvK's M9.
I think it was 12 dollars or so with the B&N markdown plus my 10% discount.
This, like most of Abbado's new Mahler, is not a particularly lush performance. I would say that this is somewhat spare. This could be a problem with the band, which your experience would seem to indicate, or it could be a DGG problem - trying to dry out the Philharmonie. This is certainly one of the weirder M4 recordings on the market. Again, I get the impression that Universal was trying to cash in on Renée Fleming's popularity. Juliane Banse did a fantastic job for Boulez, showing that they can still find a good soprano.
Give it a spin. I am interested by Abbado's orchestral work and absolutely disgusted by Renée Fleming's vocals. His new Mahler reminds me of Von Karajan's Der Ring des Nibelungen
. The vocals aren't great, but the orchestral clarity is worth it (I suppose). You might find it a wonderful disc.
As to the Berliners: they have turned in, to my mind, four Mahler discs worth the trouble: Von Karajan's 5th and 9th, Barbirolli's 9th, and Bernstein's 9th. There is something about the Prussian mindset that makes Mahler alien; the famous Prussian frostiness does not deal well with Mahler's irony and emotion. Barbirolli's M2 on Testament shows how poorly they did at the beginning of the reconstruction of a Mahler tradition in Berlin.