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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 172

post #2566 of 3714
Hard to believe, but back then the NYPO was considered the finest Mahler band around. How the mighty have fallen!
post #2567 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Hard to believe, but back then the NYPO was considered the finest Mahler band around. How the mighty have fallen!
Indeed with conductors like Masur the NYPO has been diminished, as has the CSO under the Barenboim years......I thought for sure Abbado would replace Solti, but alas not to be

I really like the Bernstein/Sony M8 performance wise, but the sound quality is not the best compared to other symphonies in Sony set. Lacks fullest dynamic range giving it a thin somewhat shallow sound with a tendency towards brightness........I cured some of these ills by sub woofer adjustment, Herbies CD Mat, and copying CD to black CDR, but still leaves something to be desired, the M2 from same Sony set sounds better for instance.

On the positive side the soloists and choral forces are nicely balanced and set back into the soundstage giving a more distant 3D perspective (I like) instead of the closer spotlighting effect you often hear for soloists even in best new recordings. Also there is good detail level but just not the lush natural richness you hear in great modern recording.
Some M8s can sound a bit labored and dull in the central section of 2nd movement, but Bernsteins attention to subtle detail and focus keeps all elements balanced and intersting. As in his magnificent M2 Bernstein concludes the M8 in a slow dramatic build up that culminates in spectacular fashion like a giant dam breaking wide open unleashing a tidal wave, truely exciting climax......one can only imagine what he could have sounded like with NYPO performance!

If I go from Chailly/London or Rattle/EMI M8 to Bernstein/Sony M8 the sound quality difference is very noticeable...............but the Bernstein performance makes me somehow forget these minor shortcomings. In a couple weeks I will have to edit my mahler top 5 list to include M8 listings
post #2568 of 3714
Thread Starter 
BTW can someone explain briefly exactly what the 2 movement based on Goethe's Faust is depicting?

Faust deals with Mephisto-->eventually taken off to heaven--> how is Faust connected to Dr Marianus in heaven?

Final ending sounds somewhat similar to M2.......just heard Bernstein/Sony M8 twice in a row!
post #2569 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Well I have gone through 8-9 versions now and unless I hear something else really fabulous (waiting on Wit/Naxos to arrive) my reference M8 will be:

Horenstein/LSO/BBC Legends

Live stereo recording of 1959 performance at Royal Albert Hall, crowd noise very quiet compared to other BBC legends, sound quality very good and noticeably better than Bernstein/LSO/Sony recorded many years later. Single microphone recording gives distant perspective which I really like, singers set well back into 3D soundstage and magically blend in seamlessly with choirs at times producing a beautiful mystical other worldly effect. Like his magnificent M3, Horenstein carries the long line like no other and ties all the pieces together in a most believable and coherent fashion, sounds more naturally unified than any other version of M8 I have heard. This version has it all, the viscerial power and the magnificent glory all in natural balance, makes other versions sound contrived and labored by comparison.

I notice that DH at classicstoday loathes this M8 and and gave very poor review of it (score 4) mocking the Horenstein cult members and thier blind/deaf worship of this conductor's Mahler/Bruckner work.......Ha ha, again I could not disagree more with our esteemed DH, this is Mahler taken to the highest level. Obviously there is better modern sound (Chailly, Rattle etc) and live performance will always have some mistakes, but taken as a whole it is awe inspiring thrilling performance.

I wish Bernstein/Sony had sound that was this good and was able to use the NYPO forces.......then we would have a real contender! Because of limited sound quality Bernstein will loose a couple notches, also will mention that Solti/Decca will have a hard time making the top 5 list because competition is fierce with newcomers like Wit, Chailly, Rattle, Nagano etc.

1)Horenstein/LSO/BBC Legends
battle for 2,3,4,5
Bernstein/Sony, Kubelik/Audite, Chailly/London, Solti/Decca, ????, ?????
post #2570 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
BTW can someone explain briefly exactly what the 2 movement based on Goethe's Faust is depicting?

Faust deals with Mephisto-->eventually taken off to heaven--> how is Faust connected to Dr Marianus in heaven?

Final ending sounds somewhat similar to M2.......just heard Bernstein/Sony M8 twice in a row!
Goethe's Faust is extremely sprawling and dense - with many classical and Germanic literary and mythological references. Europeans of the Romantic age were very familiar with it. Mahler took the final scene of Faust as inspriation for the concluding section of M8 (the Veni, Creator Spiritus section, on the other hand, is from an old Germanic Christian text if I am not mistaken), it's difficult to understand without the context of the entire work.

Having said this, though, the scene can be ultra-condensed as follows: Faust has died, and angels, who tricked the devil (with whom Faust made his famous deal) have spirited Faust's soul to a rocky mountain landscape, where wise hermits (one of whom is Dr. Marianus), penitent women (representing the Eternal Feminine as does Wagner's Brunnhilde), and other groups (each representing some element of purity) plead with the Virgin Mary for Faust's redemption. Faust is granted redemption, and all of his sufferings and quests come to an end in heaven itself, ending the story. In Faust's redemption comes not only the end of his struggle, but the union of all elements of creation into one whole.
post #2571 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Well I have gone through 8-9 versions now and unless I hear something else really fabulous (waiting on Wit/Naxos to arrive) my reference M8 will be:

Horenstein/LSO/BBC Legends

Live stereo recording of 1959 performance at Royal Albert Hall, crowd noise very quiet compared to other BBC legends, sound quality very good and noticeably better than Bernstein/LSO/Sony recorded many years later. Single microphone recording gives distant perspective which I really like, singers set well back into 3D soundstage and magically blend in seamlessly with choirs at times producing a beautiful mystical other worldly effect. Like his magnificent M3, Horenstein carries the long line like no other and ties all the pieces together in a most believable and coherent fashion, sounds more naturally unified than any other version of M8 I have heard. This version has it all, the viscerial power and the magnificent glory all in natural balance, makes other versions sound contrived and labored by comparison.

I notice that DH at classicstoday loathes this M8 and and gave very poor review of it (score 4) mocking the Horenstein cult members and thier blind/deaf worship of this conductor's Mahler/Bruckner work.......Ha ha, again I could not disagree more with our esteemed DH, this is Mahler taken to the highest level. Obviously there is better modern sound (Chailly, Rattle etc) and live performance will always have some mistakes, but taken as a whole it is awe inspiring thrilling performance.

I wish Bernstein/Sony had sound that was this good and was able to use the NYPO forces.......then we would have a real contender! Because of limited sound quality Bernstein will loose a couple notches, also will mention that Solti/Decca will have a hard time making the top 5 list because competition is fierce with newcomers like Wit, Chailly, Rattle, Nagano etc.

1)Horenstein/LSO/BBC Legends
battle for 2,3,4,5
Bernstein/Sony, Kubelik/Audite, Chailly/London, Solti/Decca, ????, ?????
The 1959 Horenstein M8 performance is considered the rebirth of the piece in the modern era, is it not? In fact, I've heard it referred to as the single most important performance that initiated the modern Mahler revival. I thought it was mono, though.

DA: E-mail me when you get a moment.
post #2572 of 3714
With all this M8 talk from DA I will list my top faves in descending order:

1. Solti
2. Wit
3. Kubelik Audite
4. Abravanel

There are many I haven't heard, including Horenstein.

For me, a great Mahler 8 is characterized by balanced sonics (it is difficult to capture such a massive work effectively in a balanced way; many M3s have the same problem IMO), and clarity of line (this piece can degenerate into mayhem if not tightly controlled).
post #2573 of 3714
Hi Doc,

Have you heard the Nagano?

I was also wondering how you would compare the Wit to the Solti?
post #2574 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Hi Doc,

Have you heard the Nagano?

I was also wondering how you would compare the Wit to the Solti?
Haven't heard the Nagano.

The Wit probably has the best recording engineering of any M8 I've heard, with great balance and many textured details (not to mention solid singing and playing), and probably would be my overall recommendation for a first go at M8, except for the fact that the Solti has a unique, undeniable energy and drive - plus that CSO brass which is just incredible! Those factors set Solti apart from the rest IMO.

One interesting fact: The Audite/Kubelik SACD has both the remastered and original live recordings of the performance, so the effect of remastering and audio engineering can easily be heard (in this case it's pretty dramatic). The total time of the SACD layer is almost 150 minutes on one disc!
post #2575 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
The 1959 Horenstein M8 performance is considered the rebirth of the piece in the modern era, is it not? In fact, I've heard it referred to as the single most important performance that initiated the modern Mahler revival. I thought it was mono, though.
Nope, it was stereo-- recorded that way as an expirament which they pretty much just happened to nail perfectly. And it has often been the concert cited as being "the moment" when many people first got the Mahler bug in England.

I think it's the best performance, by some distance. Those who don't care for Horenstein's fiery manner might take to Nagano's super-cooled flow, or Solti's excitable enthusiasm.

M
post #2576 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
Nope, it was stereo-- recorded that way as an expirament which they pretty much just happened to nail perfectly. And it has often been the concert cited as being "the moment" when many people first got the Mahler bug in England.

I think it's the best performance, by some distance. Those who don't care for Horenstein's fiery manner might take to Nagano's super-cooled flow, or Solti's excitable enthusiasm.
M
Hey Mark
Glad to hear from another confused Horenstein groupie (according to DH) about his reference M8......can you give us your top 5 list for M8?

Have you heard the Wit/Naxos yet?

Horenstein M8 sound
The 1959 stereo sound holds up very well, even in climaxes has enough dynamic range headroom to stay clean/detailed without noticeable breakup. I mentioned the distant perspective that sets singers back in the soundstage, and allows wonderful blending and interplay between soloists and choral
forces......besides the natural balance and focus Horenstein maintains throughout, he really builds a couple tremendous earthshaking climaxes from soft whispers slowing building to towering crashing tidal wave of sound that will sweep you away in most dramatic inspiring fashion
post #2577 of 3714

another glowing review for Bertini cycle

http://www.gramophone.co.uk/gramofil...ewID=200214961
post #2578 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Bertini/EMI M8
This is actually one of the better "newer" M8s, and soundwise is great surpassing even Chailly's SQ, sound is very natural and highly detailed. The "elegant" style of Bertini is best suited to bringing out subtle details at begining and middle of 2nd movement, everything is beautifully sung and well foucused, but in the more powerful climaxes and opening "veni" something is missing (power, drama, energy) compared to Horenstein, Bernstein, Solti that prevents very highest recommendation..........but this may just squeak into top 5 at position 5 competing with Rattle/EMI depending on how Wit/Naxos stacks up.

Also must decide where to put Sinopoli/DG M8 ..........
post #2579 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by calaf
As fine as Bertini's cycle is, I am somewhat bothered by Gramophone's somewhat haughty attitude toward this cycle, and the arrival of Jed Distler to praise it to high heaven. I sort of like my various sources to be just that - varied. CT.com gave it platitudes of all manner, and now Jed Distler (from the very same) is coming over to Gramophone for some praise and worship?

Give me, and - more importantly - Gary Bertini a break.

Edit: I should make this a little nicer. This cycle seemed to have been ignored in its first incarnation, and once CT.com picks it up, I am a little bothered by the sudden FOTM attitude. It was good ten years ago.
post #2580 of 3714
I think Mark from HFR or someone else brought this up in late May when the June Gramophone hit the stands. Yes, Jed Distler gave the cycle a favorable review for Gramophone, and yes he also writes for ClassicsToday. I think it was more shocking that Gramophone ignored Bertini's death in March of 2005. For whatever reason, that was a terrible oversight on their part and a favorable review of his cycle written by Distler doesn't really make up for it.
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