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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 204

post #3046 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by lwd View Post
Just as a sidepoint - if you're interested in hearing some late romantic repertoire played well on 'original' instruments have a listen to Herreweghe's Bruckner recordings. I still prefer it the old (new!) fashioned way but it's quite nice to listen to for a change. I believe he's recorded Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde but I haven't had a chance to hear that yet.
Herreweghe's Das Lied is in the Schoenberg-Riehn version, i.e., the chamber orchestra transcription. In addition to being an interesting musical experiment, a successful one at that, it's a pretty solid version of Das Lied. Probably not a first choice (Bernstein '66, or Giulini '87, in my book), but definitely one that fans of Das Lied need to hear. It reminds me, though for purely theoretical reasons, of Liszt's Wagner transcriptions for piano. It gets down to a very lean, very tight texture and lets you see what Mahler was doing. Now, I think it would be effective in some of the symphonies, maybe more than in Das Lied, as that score is pretty lean to begin with, despite its forces.

Herreweghe's Bruckner, too, is quite nice. It's different, but done in such a way that it makes its case well.
post #3047 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears View Post
I've seen that essay before. Truthfully, I don't consider the historical accuracy or "rightness" of the order of the movements so much as the musical rightness. To my ears, putting the andante 2nd critically weakens the symphony. It loses momentum and the scherzo before the 4th movement greatly diminishes the power of the catastrophic blows. ... It sounds better with the andante third, so for my ears that's the way it should be.
It is finally a question of personal taste, isn't it? For me, the 6th always sounded "wrong" even before I knew about the debate. The scherzo sounded like a continuation of the first movement, followed by two long slow movements. This may well have embodied Mahler's thematic concept, but, at the less lofty level of showmanship, the effect is unsatisfactory.

I should give fair warning that I love these debatable issues! And I usually take the underdog position, to make things more interesting. I'm sure that if the "completed" Bruckner 9 becomes standard, I'll quickly come out against it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears View Post
If we really want something Mahlerian, then why not put back all the portamenti that have been stripped from music. True, portamenti with vibrato can be extremely cloying -- anyone ever hear of Mantovanni?-- but portamenti were an essential part of the Viennese style and I certainly would be interested in hearing at least one Mahler performance where they were used.
I have a secret love for portamento and would like to hear more of it (and certainly some passages in Mahler cry out for it), but if it ever comes back in a big way, I think we'll find out why it was previously dropped - too many conductors will abuse the effect and devalue it.
post #3048 of 3714
Picked up the 1938 Walter recording of the M9 with the VPO. Wowowow, really great, a perfect antidote to the uber-slow and angsty interpretations of late. Manages to keep things moving while still being beautiful, and sound is not too bad considering the age of the recording.
post #3049 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson View Post
Picked up the 1938 Walter recording of the M9 with the VPO. Wowowow, really great, a perfect antidote to the uber-slow and angsty interpretations of late. Manages to keep things moving while still being beautiful, and sound is not too bad considering the age of the recording.
Sound is really amazingly good for 1938 performance.......which label did you get, EMI or ??????

The timing is so fast overall makes Ancerl even seem slow, makes you wonder how over time the newest modern versions grew to the glacial 85-90 minute opus of today.

Makes me also wonder how distorted the other 1-8 Mahler symphony performances are today compared to those closer to Mahlers own time
post #3050 of 3714
Both approaches can work, sometimes I feel like listening to Chailly or MTT w/their drawn out approach, other times it's Mitropoulis (and now this Walter) and Solti with their greater forward impetus.

It's funny, because the DG Kubelik set put me off of "fast" Mahler for a long time, because his interpretations are just to genial for my tastes. The brilliant thing about Walter and Mitroupolis is that they keep things moving but still capture a level of drama and intensity that most others simply don't match.
post #3051 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
Sound is really amazingly good for 1938 performance.......which label did you get, EMI or ??????
As far as I knew this was only on Naxos and Dutton Labs, but Tony Duggan mentions an (older) release from EMI and says it's easier on the ear than the Dutton. So when I upgrade my Naxos copy I guess I know which way to go.
It's a great performance, isn't it? The playing's not perfect but it's so committed.
post #3052 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
Makes me also wonder how distorted the other 1-8 Mahler symphony performances are today compared to those closer to Mahlers own time
Certainly, that 1938 Mahler 9 is swifter than his old-age stereo recording. But can that info be generalized to all older Mahler performances? I don't think so. Here are the timings of two other Walter performances from that era. How do the timings compare to his later recordings?

Mahler 1--Walter, NBC Symphony, 1939:
I: 11:57
II: 6:00
III: 11:21
IV: 17:59

M2-Walter, Vienna, 1948
I: 21:30
II: 10:24
III: 10:35
IV: 4:32
V: 33:13

Of course, timings don't tell you much. For example, you couldn't find two recordings of M4 that are more different from each other than the following, both of which I love for different reasons. Their timings aren't hugely different, and the Mengelberg was made only a year after Walter's first M9 recording:

Mengelberg, 1939 Szell, 1966(?)
I: 17:16 17:25
II: 8:17 9:15
III: 21:24 20:51
IV: 9:53 10:16

Just to name the most obvious attributes that differentiate them, Mengelberg has enormous flexibility in tempo from moment to moment, with huge ritards that often aren't marked in the score, while Szell tends to follow the score with much less variation. There is also a lot more portamento in the string playing for Mengelberg. Both have orchestras that play their hearts out, as do their conductors in their own ways.
post #3053 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeresist View Post
As far as I knew this was only on Naxos and Dutton Labs, but Tony Duggan mentions an (older) release from EMI and says it's easier on the ear than the Dutton. So when I upgrade my Naxos copy I guess I know which way to go.
It's a great performance, isn't it? The playing's not perfect but it's so committed.
I have the EMI ART remaster version which is best sound I have heard:



Selling for $7.50 used at Amazon.......
post #3054 of 3714
This is the one I got. This same label did transfers of Rachmaninov playing Rachmaninov (Piano Concertos), and while some detail is lost, I found the results to be overall more pleasing. I've not heard the EMI transfers of the Mahler, so can't comment there:

post #3055 of 3714
Tyson, what is the year of the performance on that cd and which orchestra is he conducting?
post #3056 of 3714
bunny,
It's the 1938 performance. Details can be found here:

http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?PID=1861840
post #3057 of 3714


Reiner Das Lied von der Erde is coming out in a few weeks, anyone familiar with this performance at all?
post #3058 of 3714
The Reiner DLVDE is one of the true classics. Great performance by the orchestra, great singing (Forrester and Lewis are a perfect pair!), and not to mention superb interpretation by Reiner: he plays it as written with no fussy mannerisms. The ending is truly unforgettable. Maybe it's because it was the first version I ever owned on LP, but it's still my favorite. Sound: this is my concern. On LP, the distortions and overloads were attributable to the lousy RCA pressings. Then I bought the CD version from 1989 and the distortion was still there in all it's glory. Very unfortunate. Keep your fingers crossed.

I've been out lately, and didn't get to chime in about portamento. It was a style of string playing used widely up until the 1940s or so. It took more modern conductors (Weingartner, Toscanini, Karajan) to banish it once and for all. There are some extremely old recordings of Brahms symphonies where the portamento is abundant, and to contemporary ears, unacceptable. It sound syrupy and coy. There are some places in Mahler where he specifically writes it in: such as the Urlich from the second symphony in a solo violin part. When it's used correctly, it's heartwrenching. In his usual scrupulous attention to detail, Lorin Maazel's Vienna Phil gets it exactly right in that recording.

Last March I was in Philadelphia to hear the orchestra play Schmidt's 4th -- very Viennese and romantic. The conductor (Yakov Kreizberg) played it as written, much to his credit. The VPO no longer plays portamento as expected. But there was one passage in the second section, where totally unexpected he had the violins use it in a melodic section. The effect was startling, extremely moving and beautifully moving. When I went the next evening to hear the concert again, I awaited that passage with great anticipation -- same effect. Used judiciously and tastefully, portamento can enhance music quite a bit. John Mauceri (in a video on Hollywood music) talks about it and reveals how to use it and why the practice stopped.
post #3059 of 3714
I may just take a chance on it then, for the price it's not a HUGE gamble.
post #3060 of 3714
I should have added that Reiner's Mahler 4th is also a top recommendation. Reiner was quite fascinated by the Mahler 7th, and did it in Pittsburgh and Chicago. Too bad that at least an air check has never surfaced.
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