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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 173

post #2581 of 3714
The earliest Mahler 8th that was commercially released was from 1954, a mono production of the Rotterdam Philharmonic conducted by Eduard Flipse and released on Philips. If you want to hear it, it's now on the Scribendum label coupled with the first recording of the Mahler 10th in Deryck Cooke's 2nd version.

The most overlooked and generally forgotten 8th is the one made by Wyn Morris and his London based orchestra. Over here it was released on RCA. The sound was definitely better than the ones then available: Solti, Bernstein, Abravanel. I hold hope that someday Morris' fine Mahler recordings will reappear on cd, but so far only Des Knaben Wunderhorn has shown up.

BTW: have you all read the Gramophone review of Boulez' M2. It is not nice. Hits many of the problems that comments on the board have made.
post #2582 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
BTW: have you all read the Gramophone review of Boulez' M2. It is not nice. Hits many of the problems that comments on the board have made.
Well, I can see why Boulez' new M2 would be unpopular. For such a profoundly-emotional score, Boulez' clear-eyed, supremely-rational approach can seem dead wrong.

I disagree, but I am a hardened Boulez fanboy.
post #2583 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
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 have to disagree. Having heard the CSO under Barenboim on a number of occasions, I must say that they sounded splendid and the works, from Schubert to Mahler that I have heard performed were done excellently.
post #2584 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
Well, I can see why Boulez' new M2 would be unpopular. For such a profoundly-emotional score, Boulez' clear-eyed, supremely-rational approach can seem dead wrong.

I disagree, but I am a hardened Boulez fanboy.
I seem not to have gotten the August Gramophone yet, and didn't see the Boulez reviewed in the June or July issue, but here is what they have posted for Maderna's M9 (BBC Legends), which mentions the Boulez in passing:


It is always fascinating when modernist conductors whom one perhaps regards as somewhat analytical take on one of the great heart-on-sleeve composers. Boulez has just released a barnstorming Mahler 2 on DG, while BBC Legends uncovers this awesome Bruno Maderna Mahler 9. It hails from the Royal Festival Hall, March 1971. Maderna, cool? Have a listen.

Btw, Mariss Jansons has a new M6 with the RCO out as well, and in SACD surround sound as well.
post #2585 of 3714
I'm going to have to get the Maderna M9 just out of curiosity. I have his M7 and it is one of the absolute worst things imaginable. Of the two dozen or more recordings of the 7th I've collected, it's probably the poorest in terms of orchestral execution, even below the low standards set by Hermann Scherchen's Vienna Opera Orchestra and Hans Rosbaud's radio orchestra. It's done with the Vienna Symphony, and even by the 4th bar, the winds make an early entrance and mess things up. The tenor horn player is terrible -- making more errors than Horenstein's. I can't wait to hear how Maderna screws up the 9th.
post #2586 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
I'm going to have to get the Maderna M9 just out of curiosity. I have his M7 and it is one of the absolute worst things imaginable. Of the two dozen or more recordings of the 7th I've collected, it's probably the poorest in terms of orchestral execution, even below the low standards set by Hermann Scherchen's Vienna Opera Orchestra and Hans Rosbaud's radio orchestra. It's done with the Vienna Symphony, and even by the 4th bar, the winds make an early entrance and mess things up. The tenor horn player is terrible -- making more errors than Horenstein's. I can't wait to hear how Maderna screws up the 9th.
Why would you want to spend money when you have a pretty good idea that you won't like it? Curiousity just might be a little to deadly in this case! Remember, the positive review is coming from Gramophone which loves British recordings whether they are good, bad or ugly.
post #2587 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Why would you want to spend money when you have a pretty good idea that you won't like it? Curiousity just might be a little to deadly in this case! Remember, the positive review is coming from Gramophone which loves British recordings whether they are good, bad or ugly.
Ah...that is the wonderful thing about collecting music! You get to hear different perspectives as well as good, bad, and downright raunchy performances. There is probably some twisted part of my psyche that likes to listen to "professional" orchestras screw up. In a way, it makes you realize that those players are just human, too, and also that compared to some recordings out there, that some of our smaller regional orchestras aren't so bad by comparison.

And I know what you mean about British magazines and their bias. Even the much ballyhooed Penguin Guide has some appalling lack of sense and fairness. You just have to keep it in mind. This month's Gramophone does happen to have a fairly poor review of a Rattle/Shostakovich recording which really surprised me, although they tried to cushion it and make it sound like it was the Berliner's fault.
post #2588 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
I'm going to have to get the Maderna M9 just out of curiosity. I have his M7 and it is one of the absolute worst things imaginable. Of the two dozen or more recordings of the 7th I've collected, it's probably the poorest in terms of orchestral execution, even below the low standards set by Hermann Scherchen's Vienna Opera Orchestra and Hans Rosbaud's radio orchestra. It's done with the Vienna Symphony, and even by the 4th bar, the winds make an early entrance and mess things up. The tenor horn player is terrible -- making more errors than Horenstein's. I can't wait to hear how Maderna screws up the 9th.
I have not heard that Maderna M7, but I have heard some of his other Mahler performances, and he was capable of great things. I don't think he was ever the most technically secure conductor (he was foremost a composer), but he sometimes caught great spirit in his performances. I have this M9 in its Arkadia incarnation (hopefully the BBC will improve on the sound), and I rank it highly among my Ninths. Others are better played, but Maderna is both ardent and clearly focused on what is foreground and what is background. At least give it a chance.

And for what it's worth, I absolutely defy you to find any M7 worse than the live Scherchen performance with the Toronto Symphony which appeared on Music and Arts a few years back. It makes Scherchen's VSOO recording look like the last word in orchestral execution.

M
post #2589 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
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?
Hmm, my top five M8's... Keeping in mind that I haven't heard the Chailly, the Rattle, or the Wit; and keeping in mind that I haven't listened to the Bertini yet... My top five would be:

1. Horenstein/LSO (BBC) [simply astonishing]
2. Solti/CSO (Decca) [fiery, ardent]
3. Sinopoli/PO (DG) [luminous, energetic]
4. Tennstedt/LPO (EMI) [lyrical]
5. Nagano/DSO (HM) [unusually elegant and cool]

I haven't heard that new Wit yet. Should I?

Mark
post #2590 of 3714
Anyone have any thoughts yet, on the Wit Naxos Mahler Eight?

- augustwest
post #2591 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
I
And for what it's worth, I absolutely defy you to find any M7 worse than the live Scherchen performance with the Toronto Symphony which appeared on Music and Arts a few years back. It makes Scherchen's VSOO recording look like the last word in orchestral execution.

M
I don't think so at all: the opening is actually very secure, the tenor horn nails the part. The first movement is really driven and very accurate, in fact. Scherchen here really digs into the piece and shows why his Mahler was so highly regarded. The worst Scherchen is the 1960 Vienna Symphony version (maybe it is the orchestra; they had trouble with it under Scherchen and Maderna). One big difference must be noted: by 1965 when the Toronto concert was taped, the Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft had issued a corrected score and parts. In the 1954 Vienna State Opera version, the notoriously incorrect and error-ridden Bote & Bock score and parts were used and "wrong" notes duly recorded. But that still doesn't give Maderna's 1967 any excuse. Part of the problem for Rosbaud, Scherchen and other early pioneers was the publisher! The Dover edition reprints Bote & Bock in all it's erroneousnous. Side by side comparison with Band VII of the Critical Edition (this volume is published by Bote & Bock) is very enlightening. (It was Abravanel who first recorded the corrected edition. Sadly, he led an underpowered, uninspired performance.)

Unfortunately, there is no perfect Mahler 7th: ALL have at least some wrong notes, wrong entrances, etc. The new Barenboim comes as close as anything. This is not the case with other Mahler symphonies.

I agree with you though, about Maderna's spirit: it's clearly evident in his recording of the 7th -- it's just too bad it's ruined by such poor playing. That he was able to get the orchestra back together is amazing.
post #2592 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by augustwest
Anyone have any thoughts yet, on the Wit Naxos Mahler Eight?

- augustwest
Here was my thought from an old post:

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.

So, in a nutshell, it's my 2nd favorite M8 behind Solti.

It got a 10/10
post #2593 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
(It was Abravanel who first recorded the corrected edition. Sadly, he led an underpowered, uninspired performance.)
I and many others disagree with you on this. But, that's what makes life interesting (and I'm an Abravanel fanboy). I will give you that his 7 is not among the highlights of the set - 4 and 8 are. But "uninspired, underpowered"? Them's fightin' words...

The Abravanel recordings can sound "underpowered" on first listening because of the cavernous Mormon Tabernacle acoustics. And, while the USO was not the same band in the 60s that it is now (and has never been the VPO, if you know what I mean), they put in a creditable performance on 7 IMO.

Here's an interesting survey of 7s:

http://turing.cs.camosun.bc.ca:8080/Mahler/Symphony7
post #2594 of 3714
Interesting read, but I cannot understand the reverence shown towards the Horenstein. For me, there are many better interpretations. And the Haenchen, despite its good points, is marred by a grotesque tape edit in the first movement that disqualifies it as far as I'm concerned.

In fairness to Abravanel, I have not bought any on CD. I still have the LP editions and the sound just isn't that potent. I think the 9th has the same problem. Perhaps the cds are better. But then, the lp release of the 2nd sure has impact. Give credit where it's due: Abravanel, the Utah orchestra, and Vanguard deserve thanks for bringing us the first truly integral set of Mahler symphonies. But too often I got the feeling that the orchestra hadn't spent much time playing any of the symphonies. Like many of the symphony sets this team made 40 years ago, they were a good introduction, but never probed the depths.
post #2595 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Interesting read, but I cannot understand the reverence shown towards the Horenstein. For me, there are many better interpretations. And the Haenchen, despite its good points, is marred by a grotesque tape edit in the first movement that disqualifies it as far as I'm concerned.

In fairness to Abravanel, I have not bought any on CD. I still have the LP editions and the sound just isn't that potent. I think the 9th has the same problem. Perhaps the cds are better. But then, the lp release of the 2nd sure has impact. Give credit where it's due: Abravanel, the Utah orchestra, and Vanguard deserve thanks for bringing us the first truly integral set of Mahler symphonies. But too often I got the feeling that the orchestra hadn't spent much time playing any of the symphonies. Like many of the symphony sets this team made 40 years ago, they were a good introduction, but never probed the depths.
My Abravanel interest is as sentimental as anything: 1. I grew up in SLC and my parents were longtime season-ticket holders back when they played in the Tabernacle - I actually saw Abravanel and the USO perform Mahler 2 as a kid; and 2. I honor Mahler as the early Mahler champion that he was (there are actually rumors about an affair between him and Alma!) I agree that the interpretations are sometimes not as informed as subsequent recordings - how could they be? Mahler was still new to much of the world back then. And, the band was not as strong then as now, but something about those recordings seems to "fit" Mahler for me.

I also had the set on LP, and I think the CD remasters from Vanguard sound better (there are DVD-Audio versions out now as well), mainly from being recorded at a higher level.

Having said all this, there is one Abravanel that still outshines many competitors in my humble opinion - his 4th. This is largely due to the vocal from Netania Devrath, who was born to sing the part, no question (she also recorded the Chansons d'Auvergne for Vanguard - the recording is legendary).

Incidentally, my favorite 7th at the moment is Levine/CSO.

The 7th is a symphony whose time has come, I think. Not long ago it was the least-performed Mahler of all (excepting maybe 8); now if seems to be played everywhere.
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