Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 178

post #2656 of 3714
Mark: glad to get your point of view on the Scherchen. An out of control roller coaster is a very apt description. As far as Scherchen's tempo changes go, he was famous (notorious?) for ignoring what composers indicated, as his large recorded legacy will testify. But the whole thing a disaster? If you want total disasters, you ought to try these:

Hans Rosbaud on Vox is pretty bad -- sounds like a high school orchestra sight reading. His live recording on Phoenix is much, much improved. If the sound had been better (and the newer Critical Edition had been available) it would be one of the better ones.

Bruno Maderna on Hunt is execrable. Horrifically bad. Why anyone would approve this to be released is beyond me.

Kurt Masur on Berlin Classics. It's stuff like this that leads many people to find Mahler long winded, boring, and ultra-serious. Oddly, it comes on one disk, but it just sounds like it's on 4. So incredibly dull.

I have a warped part of my psyche that loves to hang on to really bad performances. Usually they're live European broadcasts from the 50s and 60s. But not always: Yevgeny Svetlanov had a way with Mahler that is stupefying.

BTW: I've been listening to a lot of Mahler this summer, and I've reconsidered the rankings of many recordings, and perhaps surprisingly, I now put the Barenboim 7th at the top of the very large pile of 7ths. In terms of orchestral execution, conducting, recording quality it seems to get it all right. Not that I'd ever get rid of either Bernstein, Kondrashin, Levine or Abbado/Chicago, but Barenboim really hit a home run with this one.
post #2657 of 3714
Anybody see the UC Davis orchetra on cable performning Mahler 2? I watched it last night, and was quite entertained, not by the musical virtuosity, but by the general coherence of the piece. Can't remember who was conducting, but the whole thing was very enjoyable.

Best of all, my three kids all enjoyed it as much as I did!

Nothing like a live Mahler performance...
post #2658 of 3714
What channel was it on? I'd like to see it. It's testament to the extraordinary quality of our colleges and their music departments that even a school not known for music can put on a Mahler symphony, and one of the big ones, at that.
post #2659 of 3714
Starting last spring, many of you started raving about the virtues of the Gary Bertini Mahler cycle on EMI. I waited and waited, read some, and finally bit the bullet and picked it up on sale. I've been listening the past two weeks. The results?

You were absolutely right! This set is superb. The sound is exceptional, the performances excellent to superb. Interpretation is marvelous. This is, IMO, the best complete set in existence. It supercedes Solti, Bernstein, Tennstedt, Sinopol, Inbal, Maazel, Kubelik, Tabakov, Abaddo, Boulez, Walter, MTT, DeWaart as a consistent and satisfying view. This no small achievement given the years it took to complete the set and the fact that there are a few live recordings. The very small number of orchestral flubs is easily overlooked. I wasn't expecting this set to be as good as it is, but dang, this is fine Mahler.

I hate the layout of the disks, but then I can see the logic of trying to cut costs by putting them on 11. I'm sorry I didn't get it earlier, because I was missing a lot. My other regret is that the 10th exists only in the 1 movement version. (anyone want an Inbal set -- cheap?)
post #2660 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Starting last spring, many of you started raving about the virtues of the Gary Bertini Mahler cycle on EMI. I waited and waited, read some, and finally bit the bullet and picked it up on sale. I've been listening the past two weeks. The results?

You were absolutely right! This set is superb. The sound is exceptional, the performances excellent to superb. Interpretation is marvelous. This is, IMO, the best complete set in existence. It supercedes Solti, Bernstein, Tennstedt, Sinopol, Inbal, Maazel, Kubelik, Tabakov, Abaddo, Boulez, Walter, MTT, DeWaart as a consistent and satisfying view. This no small achievement given the years it took to complete the set and the fact that there are a few live recordings. The very small number of orchestral flubs is easily overlooked. I wasn't expecting this set to be as good as it is, but dang, this is fine Mahler.

I hate the layout of the disks, but then I can see the logic of trying to cut costs by putting them on 11. I'm sorry I didn't get it earlier, because I was missing a lot. My other regret is that the 10th exists only in the 1 movement version. (anyone want an Inbal set -- cheap?)
Agreed. The performances are solid and the sonics are absolutely great. Some call the sonics "compressed", which I suppose they technically are to some degree, but the effect totally works in this instance to improve the emotional impact of the recordings. Bertini could arguably be the ideal "first Mahler set" other than Bernstein/Sony; the sonics are much better than Lenny's.
post #2661 of 3714
Thread Starter 
I have a large classical collection but prior to this Mahler set never heard of Bertini before or seen any CDs by him........very "underground" conductor.

Sound quality is as good as any Mahler set I have heard (not heard MTT)

Not my favorite performances but great example of "elegant" performances that let Mahler naturally develop.....most similar to Inbal's style. I prefer more energy and dramatic contrast for my reference Mahler set, but do have great respect for Bertini set.
post #2662 of 3714
Question: What's everyone's favorite SACD Mahler 8 other than Kubelik - what others does everyone love?

Has anyone heard this?

post #2663 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
Question: What's everyone's favorite SACD Mahler 8 other than Kubelik - what others does everyone love?

Has anyone heard this?

I haven't heard the Haitink in its SACD incarnation. I used to have the regular CD version of it, but I eventually got rid of it, because it seemed to have a low tension level to me. Hopefully the sound would bloom more in multichannel, too, because it was a bit woolly.

On SACD, the Nagano is very interesting. Kind of a buddhist slant on the work. Perhaps not my ideal choice, but very interesting.

Mark
post #2664 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
Question: What's everyone's favorite SACD Mahler 8 other than Kubelik - what others does everyone love?

Has anyone heard this?

Doc- yes, I own that recording. I was surprised to come across a Pentatone at Tower, so I bought it. I think it sounds very good and have been enjoying it. That being said, this is the only recording on the 8th that I've listened to, so I don't have anything to reference it against.
post #2665 of 3714

1st complete set !!

Hi all,

after a few weeks break from classical music, i dived back and bought the Bertini set. I hadn't much looked at the pricing on Amazon lately, but it is now at £25.99 (used to be at £60-ish when it was released !!), so quite a steal even by UK standard !!!

i kept going back to my single CDs time and again (M5/Tennstedt - M1/Maazel - M6/Abbado - M8/Solti), so the full set was the way to go to listen to other versions and discover the rest...it's all your fault

only received it today and i am halfway through the M1.... must admit the sound quality is top notch, don't ask me about the performance, i won't know what i am talking about !!!

Now for the silly question, looking at the timings of the bertini's versus my other versions : why so much difference time wise please ? all the pieces are time related by the note types, with their own duration ? Do the "annotations "(allegro, scherzo, etc ..), for lack of better word, relate to the feel of how the piece should be played only, or do they also have a bearing on the timing itself ?

I can understand why a conductor would influence a way it is played in terms for instance of layers of instruments at a given time (e.g. strings playing strongly, with the horns softly in the background), depending on his understanding of the piece...but the timings should be something logically preset, no ? Where do i get it wrong ?

Thanks for any clarification.

Papy
post #2666 of 3714
Papy,

Tempo is one of the places where conductors can make a real difference. Most of the time, the markings for tempo are descriptive: allegro (literally cheerful, for tempo it is interpreted as brisk or lively), andante (walking tempo or rather strolling as it's a slower tempo), andante con moto (andante with movement or direction a little faster than andante), andante con moto quasi moderato (walking with motion, almost moderate -- thus a little faster), etc. In the absence of metronome markings, conductors set the pace of an orchestral work, and manage the tempo shifts between the parts of the music (first theme, development, recapitulation, 2nd theme, coda etc.) and then how fast to make the moderato or how slow to make the largo. Additionally, the conductor has discretion in the use of rubato (robbed beats) where certain phrases can have notes or even rests that are longer than notated at the expense of other notes in the measure, accelerandos, ritards (speeding up phrases, or slowing down phrases respectively). Mahler's notations are very precise on his scores, for instance the first movement of the M6 stars with the direction: Allegro energico, ma non troppo; Heftig, aber markig. That translates to Brisk energetic, but not to much; violent but vigorous/emphatic. Or, he has both pace and mood described but after that it's up to the conductor to set the pace. Zander's M6 and Gielen's M6 start slower than Oué's or Levi's.

This holds true for just about every composer. Beethoven did include metronome markings for his symphonies which were ignored for years because it was believed that they were recorded incorrectly by his amanuensis (nephew karl) and some musicians even felt that Beethoven couldn't have understood how fast he was specifying in many works because of his hearing difficulties.

Edit: Here is a picture of a metronome. You can see that each tempo has a range of metronome markings which generally describe the number of beats in a minute. Thus there will always be discrepancies in how the tempo of a given piece is interpreted. In descriptions, broader tempos means slower.

post #2667 of 3714
It would be nice if tempos were so perfectly easy to get right, but it's not. A composer might write "Andante", but what exactly is that? There's a wide range of tempi possible. Mahler liked to write "sehr langsam" (Very Slow). Well what does that mean? How slow? Sometimes composers are fanatical and write in tempo indications like quarter = 100...and they're usually wrong. Very often what composers write is not what they themselves want. Listen to any of Stravinsky's or Copland's recordings and compare it to the score an you'll see what I mean. So Mahler, that most romantic of all composers, is open to a wide variation in tempo. A simple comparison of the finale of the 9th in the Solti version (very quick) and the Bernstein/DG (very slow) will suffice to demonstrate this. Some conductors just take Mahler at a more leisurely tempo (Farberman, Maazel, Morris), others more rapid (Solti) and most somewhere in between. Having performed several Mahler symphonies in my time, I can tell you that tempo changes from night to night with the same conductor. I think one's emotional state has a lot to do with it. It comes down to this: there is no perfect tempo for any music. Some performers and listeners and composers have different views. (There are totally wrong tempos. Sometimes the effect is exhilirating, sometimes buffoonish.)

There's nothing out of line in the Bertini set. Many performances do squeeze nos. 2, 6 and 9 onto a single disk, which Bertini's tempos won't allow. But Mahler's music can handle the slower, grander approach as well as the lighter style that Kubelik used, or the more aggressive approach.

Edit: now that's weird. Bunnyears and I must have been writing at the exact same time. I mention Andante and there's the picture! Thanks.
post #2668 of 3714
Mb is so correct about this! There is no way for anyone to predict how long any piece of music will last. I've been to concerts where the playbills will give estimates of the timing based on rehearsals but then in performance, some magical chemistry occurs and the timings are significantly different -- either slowed down as moments are drawn out or speeded up to reflect excitement.

Conductors also like to fool around with tempos in order to make original contributions to performance traditions; there's no way they can change the notes without a lot of protest. That's why people like me collect multiple sets of Mahler, Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, Strauss, Schubert, Haydn, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofieff, Shostakovich, Martinú, Nielsen, Grieg, Sibelius, Bach, Telemann, Copland, Harris, Glass, Dvorak, ...
post #2669 of 3714
Thank you very much for your explanations, Bunny & mbhaub. That makes it clearer, kinda

I guess i was more seeing the matter of tempo in a mathematical way, thinking that if the starting bar shows 4/4, there is only one way to go about it, or within respectable reasons, but not to the extent of several minutes' gap !!

Taking your explanations, then it all comes down to how the conductor feels like counting :

1 2 3 4
1234
1.......2.......3....... 4

etc..

based on his own interpretations and possible notes/comments from the composer...

Am i seeing this the right way then ?

Thanks again,
Papy

PS : just listened to the 1st movement of the M2 now for the first time...i am DEAF ! lol
post #2670 of 3714
Papy,

that's a pretty good analogy. Then again there are also the composers who will count this way:

12...3......4|1.2.3.4|...123..4|

The count within each bar of music is not always played exactly as written which is why it can get so interesting or downright annoying.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Music
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings