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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 3

post #31 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Gergor
What is accompanying Szell/Sony Mahler's 4? Any comment on that?


Szell/Sony

More Mahler song selections for Judith Raskin, but I don't usually listen to them.
post #32 of 3714
Thread Starter 
I have listened to a couple symphonies from my Bernstein/Sony complete Mahler set and so far the sound is really pretty good, but I have read that it varies depending on which symphony you choose.

Can't beat the price, a little over $50 for 12 Cds, and since I was going to buy a couple of these individually might as well get the whole set for same price.

Seems many new large multi CD sets now do not use individual jewel cases or 4 CD jewel cases because of size and weight issues. Each CD in this Mahler set comes in own cardboard sleeve with same artwork as jewel case versions. These are nice though because when squeezed they expand and allow CD to be removed with no scuffing.

Interesting trivia........there are no pictures of Mahler anywhere in entire package/booklet, all Lenny, Lenny, Lenny

post #33 of 3714
Quote:
Originally posted by DarkAngel
I have listened to a couple symphonies from my Bernstein/Sony complete Mahler set and so far the sound is really pretty good, but I have read that it varies depending on which symphony you choose.

Can't beat the price, a little over $50 for 12 Cds, and since I was going to buy a couple of these individually might as well get the whole set for same price.
Another good set to check out is the Solti on Decca. I have the Lenny set, too, but find the Solti better overall.



Mahler: The Symphonies / Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Quote:
Seems many new large multi CD sets now do not use individual jewel cases or 4 CD jewel cases because of size and weight issues. Each CD in this Mahler set comes in own cardboard sleeve with same artwork as jewel case versions. These are nice though because when squeezed they expand and allow CD to be removed with no scuffing.
I love those sleeves. I'd wish, for storage purposes, that even single CDs came in these, but not having the disc info as on a jewel case's spine would cause headaches.
post #34 of 3714
Quote:
Originally posted by DarkAngel


Szell/Sony

More Mahler song selections for Judith Raskin, but I don't usually listen to them.
Looks like the coupling is by Frederica von Stade (not Judith Raskin). Different conductor and Orchestra as well.
post #35 of 3714
Quote:
Originally posted by batlang
I agree. I too have always loved that performance.



Again, we agree. All this time I thought I was the only one that felt like this was a dud. It just always leaves me wanting for some OTHER Mahler music. Nothing memorable happens IMHO. Not bad, two for two. {^;
well, I didn't mean to imply that I don't like the 7th, I do like the 7th. It's just a different beast thant the 5th or 6th.

The weird thing about the 7th is that there are so few very excellent recordings of it. I think it's a tough nut to crack, so to speak. Maybe even tougher than the 9th or the 6th.

-jar
post #36 of 3714
Quote:
Originally posted by Masonjar
...The weird thing about the 7th is that there are so few very excellent recordings of it. I think it's a tough nut to crack, so to speak. ... -jar
The only performance of the 7th that, to my ears, has any coherence or structure is the Solti/CSO on Decca. Great performance of a perhaps-great work.
post #37 of 3714
Well, guys, I'm still building my Mahler collection--I have yet to have one complete set, just a hodge-podge.

Regarding the 7th, though I have nothing to really compare it with, the 60s Bernstein/Sony performance mentioned by DarkAngel has EXCELLENT sound, and the performance is typical Bernstein--exciting.

Although I don't have the complete set, I think every Mahler officianado should probably have the Bernstein set, as he was the first modern conductor to really bring Mahler into the mainstream of orchestral programming.

Currently have:

1st--MTT and the SFO, SACD hybrid (Delos distribution)
2nd--Slatkin/SLO, Telarc
3rd--just released MTT and SFO (haven't listened yet)
4th--Bernstein/Sony
5th--Zander on Telarc, surprisingly good!
6th--MTT and SFO--again, nothing to compare with, but I think it to be an emotionally charged performance (recorded within a day or two of 9/11)
7th--Bernstein/Sony
8th--Solti/CSO
9th--Don't have it yet!

Anyone who has an SACD player (although they are all hybrids and can be played as a CD) and wants to see more classical SACDs from major orchestras really OUGHT to buy the MTT/SFO series as it is released. It will be a LIMITED release, although I understand that the demand was so high for the 6th that they decided to do a second "pressing".

DarkAngel,

Where did you pick up the Bernstein/Sony set? Were all of the recordings remastered?

Not to start a new thread, but why did you sell the AZ Silver Reference?
post #38 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
DarkAngel,
Where did you pick up the Bernstein/Sony set? Were all of the recordings remastered?
I got it at alldirect.com, price $52.45, yes all remastered using Sony SBM technology.

Mahler Set

Quote:
Not to start a new thread, but why did you sell the AZ Silver Reference?
Because I have found something noticeably better at a fraction of the cost.....Bogdan BSSR ICs.

Bogdan BSSR

We have a thread started on this remarkable IC, check cable section of Head-Fi

Michael Tilson Thomas
I don't have any Mahler by MTT, he has been somewhat quiet for the last 10years as far as recordings. In the 1980's he was pretty popular with major labels.
post #39 of 3714
Quote:
Originally posted by DarkAngel

Michael Tilson Thomas
I don't have any Mahler by MTT, he has been somewhat quiet for the last 10years as far as recordings. In the 1980's he was pretty popular with major labels.
Well, in recent years he's certainly been pretty active in terms of making the Mahler cycle. After the Grammy winning Mahler 6th, 1st and 3rd are now out.

Press release of MTT's Mahler project
post #40 of 3714
Quote:
Originally posted by DarkAngel
...

Michael Tilson Thomas
I don't have any Mahler by MTT, he has been somewhat quiet for the last 10years as far as recordings. In the 1980's he was pretty popular with major labels.
IIRC, MTT was involved in some kind of cocaine bust in the '80s. What would be good PR would that he were a gangsta rapper, I believe was bad PR for the major Classical labels and his recorded output whithered. C'mon: I imagine I'd like my aged conductors on a little blow once in a while.

Classical could use a little East-Coast/West-Coast rivelry a la Tupac and Biggie, no?

***

MTT's relatively recent release of an all-Copland CD is superb...and I never was a big MTT fan.

I'd post the cover and a link, but I am either too drunk or too lazy at present.
post #41 of 3714
Great thread DarkAngel! I've been getting to know Mahler for some months now. I never used to like his awkward rhythms and leaping melodic lines but they do become familiar after a while, and there's plenty of sweet lyrical contrast to be had as well (in just about any of the 2nd and 3rd movements). Hope you don't mind if I throw in a few off-topic thoughts, starting with:-

My arbitrary appraisal of the Mahler symphonies (subject to change at whim):-

#8 - The Masterpiece. Rarely performed, perhaps due to the "significant" resources required. Worthy of much greater recognition than it gets. Hopefully, once the "100 years of Mahler" festival cheering subsides, this work will be elevated to its rightful position alongside the greats.

#2, #3, #4, #6 - The Jaw-Droppers. These stand up to repeated listening and just keep getting better.

#1, #10(complete) - The Essentials. Mahler seems to have reinvented himself over and again. Who knows what he would have produced if he had lived another 20 or 30 years? As it is though, these symphonies form endpoints of a remarkable journey.

#5, #7, #9 - The B-Sides. Oh, don't write them off, there's plenty to get excited about here too. Just don't be surprised to hear a few "token movements" on the way.

I would not recommend a newcomer to listen to them in the above order though!! I say start with #1, as it is highly accessible. Then, if the going gets tough at #2, skip to #4 before coming back to #2.



Recommended recordings:-
NB: I confess to being a sound snob. Whilst I will audition a poor quality recording in order to experience a particular conductor's interpretation, the buck stops there. If the sound sucks, the search continues...

#1
pending

#2
Ozawa/Boston/Philips/(1986). Don't rush the first movement! Ozawa takes his time and adds expressive phrasing which others completely miss. Some superb playing by Boston and an excellent job by Philips make for a good headphone experience. Add Tanglewood and Te Kanawa and you've got a hit.

#3
Abbado/Vienna/DG/(1980)
de Waart/Netherlands Radio/RCA,BMG/(1995) in the Concertgebouw.
Neither of these is perfect but both very good.

#4
de Waart/Netherlands Radio/RCA,BMG/(1993).

OMG, I'm telling you, this is da BOMB! This could be the best sound I have ever experienced through headphones. The RCA Victor team deliver a perfect combination of instrumental intimacy and Concertgebouw acoustics. Almost every instrument gets a solo line here, making Mahler 4 an ideal alternative to Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" (for any music teachers or parents reading this). Suffice to say, on this recording those solos are all captured beautifully. If you like your woodwinds you won't be happier. [Yeah, I like my woodwinds.] De Waart's interpretation is spot-on too. Pity this recording appears to be unavailable (in the U.S.) at present.

#5
Mehta/NY Phil/Teldec/(1989)
#5 is obviously a challenge, both for the performers, where the 1st movement has some tricky, exposed violin parts and a heroic french horn line which hits a top F (concert), and also for the conductor, who faces the problem of maintaining the interest through the somewhat pedestrian latter movements. I found Boulez/Vienna/DG/(1996) boring towards the end. Both Tennstedt/London-Phil/EMI/(1978) and Bertini/Kolner Rundfunk/EMI/(1990) are hobbled by EMI's poor efforts and distortion.

#6
Bernstein/Vienna/DG/(1988)
I love this interpretation. One highlight is the "snake charmer" dance in the 2nd movement. I counted only one over-level distortion event, an improvement over some of Deutsche Grammophon's other attempts. The sound otherwise is great though, including some crispy bells.

#7
Ozawa/Boston/Philips/(1989) is a strong contender. For interpretation alone, I may prefer the recently released Abbado/Berlin/DG/(2002 Live) (the one with the word "MAHLER" cut out of the CD sleeve) but Deutsche has dished out some weird sonics here - the sound alternates narrow/wide and the acoustic wet/dry. Totally bizarre, and not recommended for headphones for that reason. Anyone else heard this Abbado?

#8
Inbal/Frankfurt Radio/Denon/(1986)
As you may imagine, I am hard to please when it comes to #8, but Inbal comes close and the people at Denon/Nippon Columbia did a great job with this monumental production, albeit with the odd audible splice. This recording has been re-released in a very tempting box set by Brilliant Classics.
Sinopoli/Philharmonia/DG/(1990) is also worth a mention and may go down as one of the finest recordings that DG has ever spoiled by setting the levels too high and splattering the climaxes.

#9
Bernstein/Concertgebouw/DG/(1985 Live). OK, so it's the only version I've heard, but I look no further.

#10
Chailly/Berlin Radio/Polydor,London/(1986)
Choices seem limited here. Don't think that you've heard Mahler 10 though or that your box set is complete just because it contains the Adagio. A full version is essential, of which Cooke is the standard. When I first heard #10 I had multiple "That's not Mahler" reactions but soon realized that I would have thought the same thing if a question mark had been raised over any of his earlier works. Mahler made leaps and bounds from #4 onwards. Now when I listen to #10 I have only one "That's not Mahler" moment, midway through the 5th movement, where it suddenly seems like half a century may have passed.
As for interpretation, I really couldn't pick a winner between this Chailly performance and Rattle/Berlin/EMI/(1999 Live), but where Chailly wins is the more intimate sound (nice woodwinds!) and acoustic of the Jesus Christus church. By contrast, EMI's live recordings have abundant dynamic range but a more distant perspective.


Box Sets
For sound, I feel certain that de Waart/Netherlands Radio/RCA,BMG/(199X) must be impossible to beat. I have heard #1-#4 of this set and I can say without reservation that RCA Victor really excelled themselves and the Concertgebouw sounds beautiful. The playing is for the most part top notch too, starting with a solid fiddle section. However, I don't always like de Waart's interpretation and find him a bit conservative at times. Why doesn't he take a few more risks? On the other hand, it is doubtful that the temperament of any one conductor could match the wealth of expression found in these works which span a lifetime.
Why on earth this set is off RCA's list I cannot fathom. If it has anything to do with de Waart's ongoing Mahler series with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, then perhaps we can look forward to a re-release next year as Edo's tenor comes to an end.

Ozawa/Boston/Philips/(198X) also brings fine playing together with a skilful hand at the mixing desk. Boston's brass is hard to beat (or was in those days). I need to hear more Ozawa to give a verdict on this set. As above though, his #2 is highly recommended.

Inbal/Frankfurt Radio/Denon/(198X), recently re-released by Brilliant Classics at a price which brings this set well into the in-zone. Don't confuse it with the even cheaper Mahler compilation by the same label...

For interpretative interest I am attracted to the later Bernstein set but it comes at a price where I might prefer concert tickets over shiny plastic discs. What a pity he never got to tackle #8 again for the final series, and what a pity he never threw the weight of his endorsement behind one of the completed versions of #10.
post #42 of 3714
Quote:
Originally posted by j-curve


My arbitrary appraisal of the Mahler symphonies (subject to change at whim):-

It probably won't surprise you to hear this, but I really can't agree with this appraisal. The 9th a b-side!!??? For me the 9th contains the deepest and most moving movements of all of Mahler's symphonies.
post #43 of 3714
Quote:
Originally posted by Davie
It probably won't surprise you to hear this, but I really can't agree with this appraisal. The 9th a b-side!!??? For me the 9th contains the deepest and most moving movements of all of Mahler's symphonies.
Yeah, it's my favorite one, "Der abscheid" is one of the most beautiful, powerful and emotional pieces ever written.
post #44 of 3714
Hmm, seems like there might be an Abbado #9 in my future...

BTW, are you guys familiar with the 1985 Bernstein, and if so, do you consider it deficient?
post #45 of 3714
Quote:
Originally posted by j-curve
Hmm, seems like there might be an Abbado #9 in my future...

BTW, are you guys familiar with the 1985 Bernstein, and if so, do you consider it deficient?
1985? I'm too tired to double-check, but that's probably the one with the New York Philharmonic. If so, I don't find it "deficient." If not, and it's the one with the Berlin P.O., that performance isn't deficient either.

My pick for Mahler's Nineth: Barbirolli on EMI, recently reissued, too.
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