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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 164

post #2446 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Has anyone heard the Mahler piano rolls? He made them in 1905 after he had completed the M5.

I have a recording of Gershwin playing his own music from piano rolls so I know just how limiting the medium was, but they should give a good indication of tempos that Mahler favored. The works recorded are these:
"Ging Heut' Morgens ubers Feld"
"Ich ging mit Lust durch einen grunen Wald"
Symphony # 4 (4th movement)
Symphony # 5 (1st movement)

They are available at Amazon and I am seriously considering getting them (but I suspect I'll listen once and never again).

This recording should be in the library of any serious Mahler collector. If, and it's a big if, the performance recreations on the reproducing piano are accurate, it sure sheds light on Mahler's choice of tempi and sudden changes he wanted. The last track on this disk is essential listening: Remembering Mahler which is a half hour set of interviews with musicians who actually played under him. In the absence of photographic evidence, it's the best first-hand information available and very interesting. You're right, you might not listen to it often, but I know you'll be glad you heard it at least once.
post #2447 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Has anyone heard the Mahler piano rolls? He made them in 1905 after he had completed the M5.

I have a recording of Gershwin playing his own music from piano rolls so I know just how limiting the medium was, but they should give a good indication of tempos that Mahler favored. The works recorded are these:
"Ging Heut' Morgens ubers Feld"
"Ich ging mit Lust durch einen grunen Wald"
Symphony # 4 (4th movement)
Symphony # 5 (1st movement)

They are available at Amazon and I am seriously considering getting them (but I suspect I'll listen once and never again).

The two symphonic movements seem to give an indication that Mahler's speeds were more moderate than is often heard. His slow speeds are quicker than usual, and his fast speeds are slower. Plus they show that Mahler used sprung rhythms, not literal rhythms, and with a natural flexibility. The first movement of the 5th is worth listening to more than just once because in addition to being so informative about Mahler's own approach, it is also quite satisfying (for a piano version).

You know, if we can extrapolate from these piano rolls, the problem with modern Mahler performance is not that it has gotten too slow, but that it has gotten too extreme in both directions. After all, several prominent recordings of the first movement of the 5th knock it off too efficiently (Kubelik, Solti, Neumann, Walter, Kondrashin, etc). On the other hand, everyone is way too slow in the finale of the 4th, according to the piano roll.

But what is more important that specific tempos (which Mahler often changed) is hearing his organic, flexible manner.

BTW/FWIW: I think the Gershwin player rolls were Duo-Art, whereas Mahler's were Welte Mignon, which seems to have been a somewhat more accurate reproduction system.

M
post #2448 of 3714
Duplicate post.
post #2449 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
The two symphonic movements seem to give an indication that Mahler's speeds were more moderate than is often heard. His slow speeds are quicker than usual, and his fast speeds are slower. Plus they show that Mahler used sprung rhythms, not literal rhythms, and with a natural flexibility. The first movement of the 5th is worth listening to more than just once because in addition to being so informative about Mahler's own approach, it is also quite satisfying (for a piano version).

You know, if we can extrapolate from these piano rolls, the problem with modern Mahler performance is not that it has gotten too slow, but that it has gotten too extreme in both directions. After all, several prominent recordings of the first movement of the 5th knock it off too efficiently (Kubelik, Solti, Neumann, Walter, Kondrashin, etc). On the other hand, everyone is way too slow in the finale of the 4th, according to the piano roll.

But what is more important that specific tempos (which Mahler often changed) is hearing his organic, flexible manner.

BTW/FWIW: I think the Gershwin player rolls were Duo-Art, whereas Mahler's were Welte Mignon, which seems to have been a somewhat more accurate reproduction system.

M
Well, for what it's worth, the sale at Amazon (by a partner) was an erroneous listing. As soon as I put in my sale, I received the email that the listing had been posted in error. I'll have to wait to buy that or buy the Masters of the Piano Roll which also includes Bartok and some others and doesn't include any of the talks. On the brighter side, I've saved some money which I will have no problem spending on something else.

This is the type of thing that does come up sometimes so I'll just have to hope it becomes available again.
post #2450 of 3714
Just to briefly weigh in (albeit belatedly - I have been traveling) on this whole debate re: a conductor's interpretation vs. sticking to the original "intent" of the composer:

The famous photographer Ansel Adams (who was a solid classical pianist) said that his photos were like the composer's score, and his printing of the negatives (which, in those days, involved a highly subjective and prone-to-variations process) was like the performance by a conductor. I have always thought that to be a nice analogy.

Today, we struggle with notions of composer's intent becasue we live in a world of recorded music - it's hard for our brains to comprehend a fluid, subjective performance style. I assure you that our forefathers had no problem with varied interpretations. In truth, Mahler tried to exercise control over the interpretation with his very specific instructions, but we need to understand that he was coming from essentially (not literally, I know - no need to reference Edison) a paradigm in which recorded sound did not exist.
post #2451 of 3714
On the rolls: I haven't heard them, but every review I have read has noted how interesting and revealing they are. I am positive that they are quite the insight into Mahler's style. However, my reservation is this: can one really assume that his strategies for a piano were the same as his approach to an orchestra? Perhaps they were one and the same, but I do think that the control over the piano would give Mahler somewhat more freedom to play as he would like. One simply cannot do that with an orchestra.

Just my two cents. Also, I have finished listening to the Domingo/Salonen Das Lied. It's interesting to hear the great tenor of the current age attack Mahler, and his lyric voice is certainly preferable to the Heldentenor most recordings usually have barking over the orchestra. However, Domingo isn't a Mahlerian, and he sounds somewhat out-of-sorts with the score. His renderings are beautiful, and that's about it. Bo Skovhus clearly was out of his depth. This is a weird, slightly gimmicky, record that strikes me as being in the same class as the new Abbado M4.
post #2452 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
On the rolls: I haven't heard them, but every review I have read has noted how interesting and revealing they are. I am positive that they are quite the insight into Mahler's style.
One could also argue, even if they did mesh with his feelings about tempo for orchestra, they only represent his feelings when the rolls were made.

It's a shame he didn't survive into the age of recordings (heck even wax tubes could have been a great insight).
Scott
post #2453 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
On the rolls: I haven't heard them, but every review I have read has noted how interesting and revealing they are. I am positive that they are quite the insight into Mahler's style. However, my reservation is this: can one really assume that his strategies for a piano were the same as his approach to an orchestra? Perhaps they were one and the same, but I do think that the control over the piano would give Mahler somewhat more freedom to play as he would like. One simply cannot do that with an orchestra.
I believe that his wife (Anna) wrote that when composing she would frequently sit with him while he played the themes (sketches) for his symphonies on the piano, so using the piano for composition and also for demonstration must have been something he was very comfortable with. It is also very amazing to hear the symphony as Mahler must have been imagining it. I only hope that I can get a copy of the cd somewhere at some time.
post #2454 of 3714
Anyone tried the re-release of Ormandy's M1 with Blumine movement yet?

post #2455 of 3714
Scott,

Haven't tried it yet but have considered it. I have another recording with the Blumine and don't really think that its inclusion strengthens the symphony but the Blumine is a very interesting piece of music.

Clever you -- the picture is actually a link to the arkiv listing. Verrrrrrrrry Nice.
post #2456 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Scott,

Haven't tried it yet but have considered it. I have another recording with the Blumine and don't really think that its inclusion strengthens the symphony but the Blumine is a very interesting piece of music.

Clever you -- the picture is actually a link to the arkiv listing. Verrrrrrrrry Nice.
All the better to tempt others. I have one M1 by Ozawa, but haven't spent much time with it. May pull it out and give it another listen.

Scott
post #2457 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
On the rolls: I haven't heard them, but every review I have read has noted how interesting and revealing they are. I am positive that they are quite the insight into Mahler's style. However, my reservation is this: can one really assume that his strategies for a piano were the same as his approach to an orchestra? Perhaps they were one and the same, but I do think that the control over the piano would give Mahler somewhat more freedom to play as he would like. One simply cannot do that with an orchestra.
My guess when hearing the rolls is that the tempos work for a piano in an intimate setting, but that the speeds of some of the songs might be a little hectic if transferred to orchestra. Or, I should say, would be hectic for the singer. The finale of M4 in Mahler's roll is something like 7 minutes, which is a lot faster than any orchestral version I've ever heard.

I think the most useful insight is rhythm. It wouldn't have been hard for him to get his orchestras play with sprung rhythm. (For that matter, back in those days, they probably did automatically.)

M
post #2458 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottder
Anyone tried the re-release of Ormandy's M1 with Blumine movement yet?

Holy moly Batman! When did they release this?? How did I miss this one? I love that recording and my old LP is very, very worn. Ormandy was a fine Mahler conductor -- very central European in approach. It doesn't have the hysterics of Bernstein, but boy, what a great orchestra. This is very good news. It was made after the premier recording of the Blumine, a miserable recording with Frank Brief conducting a light-weight, minor league orchestra on the old Odyssey label. Alma wanted that orchestra to record it, so they did, but 40 years back we all were waiting for a great orchestra to record it, and Ormandy did.

Keep your finger's crossed -- maybe his also excellent recording of the 2nd on RCA will be coming out! And then Tchaikovsky's Manfred. And the Gliere 3rd.
post #2459 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Holy moly Batman! When did they release this?? How did I miss this one? I love that recording and my old LP is very, very worn. Ormandy was a fine Mahler conductor -- very central European in approach. It doesn't have the hysterics of Bernstein, but boy, what a great orchestra. This is very good news. It was made after the premier recording of the Blumine, a miserable recording with Frank Brief conducting a light-weight, minor league orchestra on the old Odyssey label. Alma wanted that orchestra to record it, so they did, but 40 years back we all were waiting for a great orchestra to record it, and Ormandy did.

Keep your finger's crossed -- maybe his also excellent recording of the 2nd on RCA will be coming out! And then Tchaikovsky's Manfred. And the Gliere 3rd.
May have to check into this in any case (also include Davis/Frederica Von Stade Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen as filler).

I have a transfer of his Gliere 3rd made from an LP, but have yet to listen to it.
post #2460 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Holy moly Batman! When did they release this??
Release Date: 03/28/2006 as shown in the Arkivmusic listing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Keep your finger's crossed -- maybe his also excellent recording of the 2nd on RCA will be coming out!
That's already out, but it's part of a 10 cd boxed set: Eugene Ormandy: Maestro Brilliante

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