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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 170

post #2536 of 3714
Before nixing any more sets, can I suggest one? The Bernstein DVD set with Vienna in most, London in 2, and Israel in DLVDE? The sound is not what it could have (should have) been, but the performances themselves are great. Somewhere between the hell-bent-for-leather approach of his Sony set and the more reflective DG set. I enjoyed these immensely, and they really reawakened my admiration for Bernstein's Mahler. There isn't a dud, other than a big screw up (wrong entrances) in the finale of 7.
Add these to the continuing Abbado DVD set and Mahler is getting very expensive.
post #2537 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Mahler is getting very expensive.
Mahler has always been expensive.
post #2538 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Before nixing any more sets, can I suggest one? The Bernstein DVD set with Vienna in most, London in 2, and Israel in DLVDE? The sound is not what it could have (should have) been, but the performances themselves are great. Somewhere between the hell-bent-for-leather approach of his Sony set and the more reflective DG set. I enjoyed these immensely, and they really reawakened my admiration for Bernstein's Mahler. There isn't a dud, other than a big screw up (wrong entrances) in the finale of 7.
Add these to the continuing Abbado DVD set and Mahler is getting very expensive.
I have rented a few of Abbado's dvd performances (Netflix) of Mahler. The 9th, with a brilliant Mahler youth orchestra performing in Rome was a stunning success. I would love to watch Bernstein conduct Mahler. I remember watching a PBS special on Bernstein in Vienna. He was bawling out the members of the Vienna Philharmonic for not playing Mahler at all well. Seeing what their history was with Mahler, it was a delicious tounge lashing. I'll check these dvd's out and thanks for the heads up but I can't promise anything as I gotta EAT too!
post #2539 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raptor34
I have rented a few of Abbado's dvd performances (Netflix) of Mahler. The 9th, with a brilliant Mahler youth orchestra performing in Rome was a stunning success. I would love to watch Bernstein conduct Mahler. I remember watching a PBS special on Bernstein in Vienna. He was bawling out the members of the Vienna Philharmonic for not playing Mahler at all well. Seeing what their history was with Mahler, it was a delicious tounge lashing. I'll check these dvd's out and thanks for the heads up but I can't promise anything as I gotta EAT too!
As I read your comments, I was given to a couple more thoughts about the Mahler-WP relationship. Vienna is, especially in the Vereinsaal and Staatsoper, a very conservative place. This is a city that gets really worked up over the dance music of the Strauss family. Even today, compared to the major symphonic repertoire (before atonality set in), Mahler isn't exactly a reactionary. There is, understandably, some institutional inertia against running to Mahler. His brand of wild-eyed emotion and mysticism does not gel with Viennese reserve and elegance. To put it another way, the Viennese are too Viennese really to get into Mahler the way Mahler demands with any regularity.

Secondly, while he is no longer a fad, Mahler is still a relatively new phenomenon. His music has been a force for maybe fifty years, and a dominant one for thirty-five or so. The Anschluss drove most of the great Mahlerians out of Vienna (and Germany, for that matter) and into England or the United States. The performing tradition that exists in the United States and England simply does not exist there. Vienna had Mahler, but - then again - so did New York.
post #2540 of 3714

Antoni Wit's 8th

First of all, I apologize if someone else has done a review on this recording. I've been absent from this thread/forum for so long that it is simply impractical to read through all the newer posts - although I'm sure I'm missing a lot of constructive and invaluable discussions as a result. But for now I'll have to live with that.

I did a search with "Antoni Wit", and the last post seems to be Scott talking about getting the record. Maybe he has posted his impressions, maybe not. Either way this new 8th merits not just another review, or ten - it deserves a whole new thread - and I haven't even bought the CDs yet!

I ran across this recording in the 6/3 episode of the Naxos podcast. The episode started with the symphony, and I was blown away by the details and balance of the performance. All of this on my iPod nano with ER6i and a 128kbs MP3 file! I could barely imagine what joy it would be to listen to the recording on my home gear and the CDs. I only wish the weekend could come sooner and I could get to the only decent CD store in NZ to buy it. A week's wait from Amazon is too long.

Anyway, I just discovered this gem and I couldn't wait to share it with the world. Once I have the CDs and have a proper listening session, nay, ecstasy with it. I shall share with you. Till then, have fun with your existing 8th recordings - because I no longer am able to.
post #2541 of 3714
Just curious what people's thoughts were on Ozawa/Boston/Philips cycle? I've heard the 2nd and thought it was pretty good. Loved the 3rd. But I have an opportunity to buy it, love the Boston Symphony's trumpets, but would like to hear your opinions.
post #2542 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raptor34
These are my "Favorites"

M1 Bruno Walter/CBS Solti/LSO/CSO Bernstein/Sony
M2 Kemperer/EMI Solti/CSO MTT/SFSO sacd hybrid
M3 Bernstein/Sony
M4 Maazel/CBS Vienna Solti/CSO Reiner/CSO sacd re-issue
M5 Levine/Philadelphia RCA
M6 Bernstein/Sony
M7 Bernstein/Sony
M8 Abbado/DG Berlin
M9 Bernstein/DG Concertgebouw Bruno Walter/Sony

May be more and better out there but not for me.
I agree strongly on 1, 3, 4 and 5. All are fine. Always glad to see some love for the Levine M5..

Except for the M3, I've had this strange aversion to Lenny doing Mahler. Part of it is from experience hearing his recordings back when I was first learning Mahler, and part of it is probably just circumstance. I know that his recordings are held in high regard these days, I just never seem to "pick" his cd's when I'm in the store. To this day I don't own any of Lenny's Mahler except for that CBS M3.

I also have this weird thing about "saving" things for later...

-jar
post #2543 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masonjar
I agree strongly on 1, 3, 4 and 5. All are fine. Always glad to see some love for the Levine M5..

Except for the M3, I've had this strange aversion to Lenny doing Mahler. Part of it is from experience hearing his recordings back when I was first learning Mahler, and part of it is probably just circumstance. I know that his recordings are held in high regard these days, I just never seem to "pick" his cd's when I'm in the store. To this day I don't own any of Lenny's Mahler except for that CBS M3.

I also have this weird thing about "saving" things for later...

-jar
I think the only Bernstein Mahler I have is the DGG M2 and Decca Das Lied. As much as I have recently railed against Viennese elegance and reserve, I prefer it to the overtly hysterical Mahler offered by some. That might explain my love for the Boulez cycle.
post #2544 of 3714
This is in reference to the new Boulez M2:

Hurwitz wasn't too far off the mark. This is a very cool, very objective performance that doesn't take you to hell and back, and frankly left me very unsatisfied. There's nothing wrong with it musically: every note is flawlessly played, every tempo change observed, every luftpause taken. So what's wrong?
1) The DG team once again demonstrates their use of the volume control knob. The dynamic range is too compressed. For LP it was needed, but not for cd. The quiet sections are just fine, but the heaven-storming sections just don't pop from the headphones or speakers. Some of it can be laid at the hands of the conductor: the last downward chromatic scale at the end of the first movement is clearly marked fortissimo (ff), but barely gets a forte. The closing pages, where choir is marked fff, tutti orchestra, full organ, should rattle the roof, but doesn't.
2) Boulez seems uninvolved: I should have anticipated this; his earlier recording of Todtenfeier was similar. The second movement just moves along without any insight. The Urlicht is superb, actually, but then the extraordinarily shocking entrance of the last movement just lays there and does nothing. There is none of the dramatic flair and excitement that Solti, Bernstein, Jansons, Rattle, Blomstedt and others bring. Even Bruno Walter whips up more excitement. (If there were a recording of M2 I would have to compare Boulez to, the Walter is probably closest.)
3) Recording balances are odd. The percussion section sounds weak, the off-stage band barely audible. The trombones at times are bright and brassy, but MIA at other times. On the other hand, you do hear orchestral details you've likely not heard before, and will never hear in concert either. The best recordings made in Vienna were in the now-burned Sofiensaal, and this was made in the Musikverein, which is a great place to hear a concert live, but has always been a challenge for recording teams. The sound is very reverberant which is why Bruckner works so well there. For Mahler, it can blur things as what happens here. This is not the clearest recording by any means.

This new recording is hardly the "incandescent" performance the blurb on the back of the cd claims. It isn't really bad, but simply outclassed sonically and performance-wise by too many other really great recordings. Too bad this wasn't done live, which might have added some adrenilin. Boulez' age shouldn't be an excuse: Walter, Klemperer, Stokowski and I'm sure others turned in dazzling versions at advanced ages. I just think that this music is too overtly romantic for the ultimate anti-romantic conductor of our age to comprehend.

The best part of the release are the, as usual, excellent notes by Henry Louis de la Grange, who is on record as disliking other "cool" Mahler recordings, most notably Maazel's. I wonder what he thinks of this? I also wonder what the Boulez/Chicago performances last year were like.
post #2545 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Boulez M2 has been removed from Tower Records basket

If yourmusic.com carries it I will probably buy just because I have most of the remaining Boulez set..........

HB
Surprising that Boulez could put out very nice M3 with VPO recently and then have such a lackluster M2..........be interested to see if PS also pans the Boulez M2
post #2546 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Boulez M2 has been removed from Tower Records basket

If yourmusic.com carries it I will probably buy just because I have most of the remaining Boulez set..........

HB
Surprising that Boulez could put out very nice M3 with VPO recently and then have such a lackluster M2..........be interested to see if PS also pans the Boulez M2
I have been consistently frustrated by professional reviews of this piece. Most reviewers have panned Boulez for conducting this work precisely as any serious listener of his would have expected. Mbhaub's is a very solid, very critical (in the best sense) review with which I - to a certain point - agree. The recording, compared especially to Kaplan's demonstration-quality disc, could have been better done. In fact, other records in the Boulez Mahler cycle have better sound and were recorded ten years ago. I am not sure that his soloists are the best for the piece, but there have been plenty of otherwise excellent M2s with bad soloists.

I'll be slightly less-equivocal than Mbhaub: do not buy this recording unless you're a Mahler completist or a Boulez fanatic. It is too idiomatically "Boulez" and, thus, too specialized to appeal to a wide audience. I loved every second of it, but I am definitely the latter of the "buy list." Broadly speaking, there are about five or ten better recordings than this one. Even among analytical recordings, it is only second or third, after Kaplan II and maybe Levi. In a word, it's weird. The Wiener Philharmoniker is characteristically elegant and underinvolved, Boulez makes them play all the notes as correctly as he thinks they should be (Mb: have you ever heard Boulez really let a band rip?), and the singers aren't fantastic. Some moments are "incandescent" and others are "pure Boulez." This is a return to his earlier Mahler and a departure from such "crossover hits" as his M3 or M6.

However, if you love Boulez and "get" his Mahler: this might be the best recording of the cycle (though the M3 makes a case, too). His handling of the Urlicht is exquisite, despite DeYoung (though will anyone ever top Christa Ludwig?), and done with great sensitivity. I found moments in the last movement to be spectacular, but can see how people wouldn't agree.

Too weird, too spotty. If you get it cheap, then go for it. If you love Boulez, you have it.
post #2547 of 3714
Have I ever heard Boulez let an orchestra rip? Very good question. Being a completist type of collector, I have the entire Boulez Mahler output, and the answer is, sort of. His early Sony Das Klagende Lied certainly has some tremendously exciting work. Of course, Boulez was a much younger man at that time, too. But even given his relatively restrained Mahler DG set, this one takes the cake. You are right: Boulez fanatics will get it. Makes you wonder what the hopefully forthcoming 8th will be like...
post #2548 of 3714
I just heard Boulez' M2 on radio and thought it was amazing, at least better than my Berstein M2.
post #2549 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Have I ever heard Boulez let an orchestra rip? Very good question. Being a completist type of collector, I have the entire Boulez Mahler output, and the answer is, sort of. His early Sony Das Klagende Lied certainly has some tremendously exciting work. Of course, Boulez was a much younger man at that time, too. But even given his relatively restrained Mahler DG set, this one takes the cake. You are right: Boulez fanatics will get it. Makes you wonder what the hopefully forthcoming 8th will be like...
I have his Das klagende Lied, too. I had been hoping that he would take another crack at it, but I doubt that I'll see that. In any event, you're right. He does sort of let the band have fun. But, to be difficult, let me just say that Bernstein or Solti probably would have been somewhat more visceral. Moreover, I'll reference his Bayreuth Götterdämmerung as being a prime example of keeping everything in tight check. He was still fairly young then, too.

This disc is at number 2 on the classical charts. As long as it sells well, DG will let him do as he pleases for the M8 and make a big marketing to-do about it. It will probably be the biggest disappointment for non-Boulez fanatics, as it will be as clear-eyed and cold, but in the most emotional score. For those of us in the fraternity, it will probably be hailed as the Second Coming of Mahler.
post #2550 of 3714
PSmith,

I don't think that DG would even think of interfering with Boulez. He has risen almost to iconic status nowadays. His name on the cover really does guarantee sales so long as it isn't his own music.

I am seriously considering this cd, but am hoping that it turns up at ym.com I've done a lot of spending on things (like refrigerators, cabinetry, lighting) that never seem to get discounted, so I'm unfortunately in penny pinching mode.

I am, however, extremely curious about it.
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