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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 174

post #2596 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
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.
Well, I was just going off a strong memory of an almost virulent dislike for this performance. I suppose I will have to be fair and go back and listen to it again at some point. I very distinctly remember finding it virtually laughable, though, perhaps because of Scherchen's manic tempos. It struck me as more of a parody than a real performance, as if Scherchen just wanted to get to the end as quick as possible. But memory can exaggerate, so I'll try to revisit it and post my impressions within the next few days. (FWIW, when I want to hear Scherchen at his manic best, I pull out his recording of Beethoven's 8th!)

Mark
post #2597 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
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.
Actually I can relate to your fondness for really bad recordings. I never get rid of those because I use them to remind myself of just how bad a piece of music can sound.

Quote:
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.
I saw that!

Conductor and Orchestra A sound respectful towards Shostakovich, rather like an archaeologist deciphering a newly discovered hieroglyph. Conductor B strays into posturing over-confidence, to which his orchestra responds grudgingly. Conductor and orchestra C sound as though they have lived with the music long enough to let it speak through them, to superb effect. Surprising to report, perhaps, A is Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, B is Temirkanov and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and C is Bychkov and the WDR Symphony, Cologne.


The last orchestra (C) is Gary Bertini's old band! hehe. It's a 3 bears review, this one too small, this one too big, but this one just right.

Reviewer (David Fanning) then goes on to say that the Berliners are "stodgy and tentative" and asks if the "one note at a time phrasing" is Rattle's "doing." It then describes the piece as "this confusion of dark atmosphere with dragging ... pulse." Apparently the other pieces on the cd don't fare any better. I think it's also telling that these reviews came in the August magazine rather than in the July Shostakovich issue. They have softened the blow by putting it in the August issue, to the detriment of the Bychkov which deserved to be covered in the Shosty issue.

For Gramophone describing Rattle, this is a panning of the worst sort!
post #2598 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Still waiting for Wit/Naxos M8 to arrive.......

Kubelik/DG + Kubelik/Audite
Although I have very high ranking for Kubelik/DG set overall and even more for most of the live Audite series, both M8s from these are not going to make my top 5 list. I was hoping the Audite M8 would take things up another level but for me this was not the case.....actually I think I prefer the studio version from the DG set. Nothing quite good enough to compete with elite versions, was never intensely moved emotionally by either version really. I would rank Bertini/EMI as better for M8

Quote:
Interesting read, but I cannot understand the reverence shown towards the Horenstein. For me, there are many better interpretations.
MB
we need to see a top 3 or top 5 list from you for M8 to see where you are coming from here......I have outlined my reasons for ranking Horenstein as best M8 in previous posts, just get much more exciting intense emotional connection with Horensteins style vs any other I have heard

In progress top 5 M8

1)Horenstein/BBC Legends

-Solti/Decca Legends -Bernstein/Sony -Sinopoli/DG -Wit/Naxos -Rattle/EMI

No one mentioned the 1CD Rattle/EMI M8 which is available cheap at yourmusic.com, I quite like it and will probably make the final top 5 list
post #2599 of 3714
My top 3 M8s.

1) Kubelik/DG
2) Inbal/Denon
3) Solti/London

Why? Even though Mahler is probably my favorite composer, and one I never seem to tire of, the composer I certainly have spent the most on having bought countless cds, books, scores, etc, and one of only a few composers I will travel to far off places for a performance, the 8th remains my least favorite. The 2nd movement in particular, despite some moments of unparalleled beauty, just seems to ramble and drag on. I like performances that blaze through the piece and get it moving. The critics complain about that in the three I like: that the second movement is too fast and the conductors don't linger. I don't want them to linger; get on with it! So, any 2-disk version is out: they took longer than 80 minutes! But there's something esle about my choices: you can just hear the sheer joy in the experience by the performers. The end of the first movement in the Kubelik is about at thrilling as can be imagined. They way he pulls the stretto together with an appropriate ritard is smashing. Not all 1-disk versions are good, either. The Jarvi is one of the worst that I know: no excitement, no understanding, no wonderment.

I am picking up the new Wit sometime soon, and I hope it's all everyone says it is.
post #2600 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
My top 3 M8s.

1) Kubelik/DG
2) Inbal/Denon
3) Solti/London

Why? Even though Mahler is probably my favorite composer, and one I never seem to tire of, the composer I certainly have spent the most on having bought countless cds, books, scores, etc, and one of only a few composers I will travel to far off places for a performance, the 8th remains my least favorite.
Same here. I've never really connected with the 8th. And it's not because of the choral/vocal aspect either, there are many other works with chorus that I really enjoy..

I guess I have a problem wrapping my brain around it, meaning, it's always sounded random to me, it's as if Mahler bits are flying around in the air without any kind of cohesion.

I can count the versions I have on one hand:

Tennstedt
Bertini (the first one I've ever actually owned on cd!!)
Solti is on a tape somewhere..

That's really it, I can't think of any others!

Maybe some day I'll "get" it, I do need to probably devote some listening to the Bertini.. I'm sure it will always remain at the bottom of the list for me.

-jar
post #2601 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masonjar
Same here. I've never really connected with the 8th. And it's not because of the choral/vocal aspect either, there are many other works with chorus that I really enjoy..

I guess I have a problem wrapping my brain around it, meaning, it's always sounded random to me, it's as if Mahler bits are flying around in the air without any kind of cohesion.

I can count the versions I have on one hand:

Tennstedt
Bertini (the first one I've ever actually owned on cd!!)
Solti is on a tape somewhere..

That's really it, I can't think of any others!

Maybe some day I'll "get" it, I do need to probably devote some listening to the Bertini.. I'm sure it will always remain at the bottom of the list for me.

-jar
I agree. The M8 never moved me. Only the Solti/CSO involves me in any way. If you want a real symphonic/choral experience, give a listen to Havergal Brian's Symphony no. 1 "Gothic". I don't think there is anything quite like it. 111 minutes long and there isn't one uninteresting idea in it. IMHO. A work not for the faint of heart but it's a work I want to hear again and again, unlike the M8 which I listen to very infrequently if ever lately. Ok, shoot me but give it a try first.
post #2602 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masonjar
Same here. I've never really connected with the 8th. And it's not because of the choral/vocal aspect either, there are many other works with chorus that I really enjoy..

I guess I have a problem wrapping my brain around it, meaning, it's always sounded random to me, it's as if Mahler bits are flying around in the air without any kind of cohesion.

I can count the versions I have on one hand:

Tennstedt
Bertini (the first one I've ever actually owned on cd!!)
Solti is on a tape somewhere..

That's really it, I can't think of any others!

Maybe some day I'll "get" it, I do need to probably devote some listening to the Bertini.. I'm sure it will always remain at the bottom of the list for me.

-jar
Actually, with all the interest on this thread and the new Wit release, I've been listening to M8 a lot, and really loving it. It is a bit disjointed, and within the Mahler canon it is uniquely free of existential angst - that's why people don't like it as much. It grows on you, though.
post #2603 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
Actually, with all the interest on this thread and the new Wit release, I've been listening to M8 a lot, and really loving it. It is a bit disjointed, and within the Mahler canon it is uniquely free of existential angst - that's why people don't like it as much. It grows on you, though.
It seems very common that many Mahlerites (myself included) come to appreciate M8 as the final step of Mahler worship........it is a bit tame and straight forward compared to other Mahler symphonies, and primarily a vocal work with supporting orchestra instead of the reverse for M2, M3, M4......so takes a different mindset to fully get into.

But as Doc says the more times I listen the more I come to appreciate M8 on its own terms.
post #2604 of 3714
I often get the feeling that M8 was written "outside in", conversely to Mahler's normal approach where the outer work followed an inner compulsion. Here, the external idea of writing this grand, cosmic, and very, very public work came before the inspiration. Mahler's craft is of course capable of lifting it to some great heights, but the work is one that must be appreciated in those terms. In other worlds, it will never shake me to the core, because it didn't come from Mahler's core. Maybe it went to his core (considering the philosophical material of the texts, and the dedication to his wife), but I see no evidence that it came from there. I like it more as the years go by, but I suspect it will always remain odd-man-out of the Mahler symphonies.

Mark
post #2605 of 3714
The 2nd part of Mahler 8 is fantastic and is really the closest Mahler ever came to writing an opera. (It's a pity he didn't as he was such a a great opera conductor! Strange...)

But of always found it difficult to reconcile the 2nd part with the 1st part which seems to be so ecclesiastical. Like some others here the I'm slowly 'getting it'.

The other thing about this work is that it's the one that transfers least effectively to cd. It really needs to be experienced in the flesh. Unfortunately it's very expensive to put on so those chances are rare!
post #2606 of 3714
I've heard the 8th live twice so far. You're right, of course; the symphony makes a much bigger impact in the hall that on headphones or even speakers. Maybe a really good SACD Surround Sound recording will come closer and we won't have to wait long, since MTT and the SFO now have it in the can. But the same can be said of any Mahler symphony. They all make a tremendous impact played live and even second-rate orchestras can make thrilling go of it.
post #2607 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
I've heard the 8th live twice so far. You're right, of course; the symphony makes a much bigger impact in the hall that on headphones or even speakers. Maybe a really good SACD Surround Sound recording will come closer and we won't have to wait long, since MTT and the SFO now have it in the can. But the same can be said of any Mahler symphony. They all make a tremendous impact played live and even second-rate orchestras can make thrilling go of it.
The Nagano is available in SACD surround sound format, if that one appeals to you.
post #2608 of 3714
Mahler 5/Vienna Phil/Rattle
post #2609 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
In progress top 5 M8

1)Horenstein/BBC Legends
then
-Solti/Decca Legends -Bernstein/Sony -Sinopoli/DG -Wit/Naxos -Rattle/EMI
Will have to remove Sinopoli/DG from top 5 consideration, after revisiting the closing finale is just slowed down too much, obviously in Sinopoli's mind for the better but really looses impact vs Horenstein and other top M8s. It does have its moments of glory in many other parts, but overall not strong enough to be elite class for me.

So waiting for Wit/Naxos to arrive so I can finalize positions 2,3,4,5 (unless Wit unexpectedly fails to deliver for me)
post #2610 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
So waiting for Wit/Naxos to arrive so I can finalize positions 2,3,4,5 (unless Wit unexpectedly fails to deliver for me)
I have the Wit/Naxos M8
I must admit a let down from all the usual hype at CT.com (should know better by know) an earthy elegant performance of delicate gossamer beauty with fabulous sound recording.......a bit too relaxed overall for my tastes compared to Horenstein, Bernstein, Solti etc.....lacks the tension and drama those versions convey when needed, was not knocked out and a bit underwhelmed. This one has been oversold by the talking heads with too much latest FOTM hype.

Wit is most similar in style to Bertini/EMI.......almost flip a coin which one to include in top 5 list, the Bertini has equally fabulous sound quality. Really the edge should go to Bertini since he comes on 1CD, and actually is a bit more dramatic overall........so top 5 list is set:

1)Horenstein/BBC Legends (Mark was right this rules all M8s)
2)Solti/Decca Legends
3)Rattle/EMI
4)Bernstein/Sony (would be higher but sound quality is weak)
5)Bertini/EMI
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