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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 216

post #3226 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08 View Post
Boulez' Romantic and post-Romantic interpretations are, to my mind, roughly in line with his more-modern repertoire. There is a great emphasis on rhythmic articulation, clarity of line, orchestral transparency, precision, and architecture. He deemphasizes some of the overt emotional content, which is to say that he tends to go through the work, rarely pausing to linger or broaden his tempo to impress the point. He is very precise, usually toward the fast side, and very concerned with fidelity to the score.

His Wagner (Der Ring des Nibelungen and Parsifal) is criticized for being too fast and too light, if that gives you some idea.

His Mahler cycle has been very successful where the emotional content is not necessarily front and center (i.e., except M2, M8, and Das Lied von der Erde). I would say that his instrumental works are better than his vocal ones, but his M3 and M4 were pretty darned good. He was at, in my opinion, his best in M5, M6, M7, and M9, where Mahler's modernism becomes increasingly apparent.
I have not heard the new Boulez M8 yet, but from what I have read it is anything but light and quick. The total timing is 85 minutes with Part II taking about 60. The ending of Part I is also taken at a very slow tempo, as is the ending of Part II (as well as the orchestral introduction to Part II). With those kind of timings, that puts it as one of the longer M8s out there.

I don't really agree that Boulez does away with the emotional content of Mahler, I think that's nearly impossible. Mahler was the height of romanticism crossing over into the 20th century. Take the first movement of Boulez' M6: very weighty, slow and crushing. The climax of the 3rd movement (on his recording) Andante is wonderful and full of passion IMO. I think his M6 is one of the best recordings in his cycle.

I've tried to pigeon-hole Boulez too, but he usually comes up surprising me in some way just when I thought I had him nailed down. Naturally, I don't like everything Boulez does in Mahler - I really dislike his M9 and I thought the 2nd and 3rd movements in his M2 were a bit too quick there.

True, Boulez is no Bernstein, which is good. I like Bernstein's recordings, but there should only be one Bernstein. I think Boulez brings Mahler's music and the emotional qualities across in a different but valid way.
post #3227 of 3714
I just watched the Rattle/BPO performance on PBS.
The second and third movement were not nice. Especially the third movement it sounded as if the BPO were not in tune with one another, rather lacking cohesiveness. It sounded horrible to me. But the 4th movement was ethereal and pleasing.
post #3228 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundsGood View Post
I have not heard the new Boulez M8 yet, but from what I have read it is anything but light and quick. The total timing is 85 minutes with Part II taking about 60. The ending of Part I is also taken at a very slow tempo, as is the ending of Part II (as well as the orchestral introduction to Part II). With those kind of timings, that puts it as one of the longer M8s out there.
Quick, I'll give, as Boulez' Mahler tends to the middle of the timing pack, with both some faster and some slower (Nagano's M8 is somewhat slower) recordings. His fondness for lighter orchestral textures, though, remains. Part of that is the recording, and part of it is the fact that Boulez has always been very good at maintaining transparency. It is rare, in my experience, when anything is lost with Boulez in the concert hall as well as the recording studio. I would say that Claudio Abbado is more extreme on lightness and transparency than Boulez, especially in the current cycle, running closer to "chamber Mahler" than Boulez. Still, Boulez manages to turn a very light and clear recording, which is preferable to late-Romantic soup.

Quote:
I don't really agree that Boulez does away with the emotional content of Mahler, I think that's nearly impossible. Mahler was the height of romanticism crossing over into the 20th century. Take the first movement of Boulez' M6: very weighty, slow and crushing. The climax of the 3rd movement (on his recording) Andante is wonderful and full of passion IMO. I think his M6 is one of the best recordings in his cycle.
His M6 is one of the best out there, by my book, receiving solid competition from Mitropoulos and Von Karajan. I find his M7 to be better than that for which it gets credit, and I have never been as overwhelmed in a concert hall as I was in Chicago when Boulez veritably ripped into the last movement. The Chicago brass was something to behold that night. I had chills.

Quote:
I've tried to pigeon-hole Boulez too, but he usually comes up surprising me in some way just when I thought I had him nailed down. Naturally, I don't like everything Boulez does in Mahler - I really dislike his M9 and I thought the 2nd and 3rd movements in his M2 were a bit too quick there.
I've listened to a lot of Boulez, both his work as a composer and a conductor, and while he is not as cookie-cutter as other conductors, he certainly behaves in similar ways under similar circumstances. The only time I have ever been absolutely floored with surprise is his recording (on BBC Legends) of Beethoven's PC 5 with Curzon. That one showed me that a great loss is a Boulez' Beethoven symphony and PC cycle. Having Knappertsbusch and Kubelík in the same work with the same soloist showed that Boulez could compete with either of them in the material. He does what he does, and listening to his own compositions is a good way to gain some meager insight into his conducting style.

Quote:
True, Boulez is no Bernstein, which is good. I like Bernstein's recordings, but there should only be one Bernstein. I think Boulez brings Mahler's music and the emotional qualities across in a different but valid way.
In some cases, I'd agree, but in others, I'll just have to say that I agree to disagree. His M1, for example, leaves me a little cold.
post #3229 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson View Post
I finally picked up the Barenboim M7 (and the Scherchen M7 too). Scherchen is a mess, although an interesting mess. Barenboim is a rarity, a performance with something new to say. I like it a lot, it joins Abbado/CSO and Bertini among my favorites. Is it just me, or is Barenboim enjoying a level of artistic achievement in the last 10 years that has eluded him most of the rest of his career? With his 'old school' beethoven cycle, his schuman symphonies, and now his Mahler. I'm picking up his M9 asap.

In regards to Barenboim, I think he went through his mid-career crisis that so many others have gone through and finally emerged with the real Barenboim the conductor: finely honed, well thought-out performances. Maazel, Mehta, Abaddo, even Bernstein went through a similar phase.

Which Scherchen? Toronto or Vienna (the Westminster)? They're both a mess, but a exciting messes. You must keep in mind that when he was promoting that symphony almost no one played it, and the edition then available was chock full of errors. The Toronto playing is much better than the Vienna, but when you compare it to the Barenboim it's amazing how far performance standards of that symphony have come.
post #3230 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Facade19 View Post
Ah now I am very curious to hear how he committed himself to Mahler's 5th and 6th (which I think have powerful, emotional messages pouring out from the score). I might give his 7th a try, always wanted to hear a modernistic approach. Thank you very much for the insight!
I don't think his 6th is "lightweight" at all. It's one of my favorite versions.

-jar
post #3231 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
Which Scherchen? Toronto or Vienna (the Westminster)? They're both a mess, but a exciting messes. You must keep in mind that when he was promoting that symphony almost no one played it, and the edition then available was chock full of errors. The Toronto playing is much better than the Vienna, but when you compare it to the Barenboim it's amazing how far performance standards of that symphony have come.
I have had the Scherchen/Westminster M7 for some time and love to listen to it for its exciting fresh insights into this work, execution is a bit messy as MB/Tyson say but I wish the recent crop of Mahler conductors could be this imaginative and spontaneous when performing Mahler today

I too have really noticed Barenboim has upped his performance level in recent years, his Mahler 7,9 being best example and his recent Bruckner set is also surprisingly good......unfortunately his many years with CSO have been pretty unproductive compared to Solti.
post #3232 of 3714
Yeah, I think the CSO was a really bad match for Barenboim. He seems to be a very European style conductor and that matches up much better w/the Berlin Staatskapelle. In fact I find almost every recording he's done with this orchestra to be really first rate. Too bad he couldn't have been lead conductor for this group over most of his career, think of some of the amazing recordings we'd have if this were the case....
post #3233 of 3714
This unwieldy thread is now so long it's practically useless for anyone wanting to find what other people's favorite Mahler recordings are.

Perhaps a new, concise, and less self-indulgent thread would be better.
post #3234 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Origen View Post
This unwieldy thread is now so long it's practically useless for anyone wanting to find what other people's favorite Mahler recordings are.

Perhaps a new, concise, and less self-indulgent thread would be better.
Great idea, let us know when you get that done.
post #3235 of 3714
I'm willing to start such a thread, but it would be a more useful resource if other Mahler experts contributed too. You can also offer a list.

We'd have to agree to one ground rule in advance: No poster needs to "contribute" 500 posts on his favorite Mahler. Let's limit it to no more than 10. Otherwise it'd turn into something like the monstrosity we've got here now.

I envision a thread consisting of various posters' favorite Mahler recordings, just the facts, not the fluff. I don't mind relevant capsule descriptions or explanations, but let's make sure they stay capsule size.

For example, DarkAngel's list several pages back

Quote:
Top 5 Mahler list August 2007:

1) Bernstein/Sony + Kubelik/Audite + Solti/LSO/Decca Legends + Gielen/Hanssler + Abbado/CSO/DG
*
2) Solti/CSO/Decca + Bernstein/Sony + Mehta/Decca Legends + Kaplan/Conifer + Litton/Delos
*
3) Horenstein/Unicorn + Bernstein/Sony + Kondrashin/Melodiya + Tennstedt/EMI + Salonen/Sony
*
4) Szell/Sony + Inbal/Dennon + Levine/RCA + Renier/RCA + Welser Most/EMI
*
5) Bernstein/DG + Kondrashin/Melodiya + Sinopoli/DG + Gatti/Musical Heritage + Kubelik/Audite
*
6) Mitropoulos/EMI Great Conductors + Bernstein/Sony + Eiji Oue/Fontec + Kondrashin/Melodiya + Thomas Sanderling/Real Sound
*
7) Kondrashin/Melodiya + Bernstein/Sony + Kubelik/Audite + Abbado/CSO/DG + Barenboim/Teldec
*
8) Horenstein/BBC Legends + Solti/Decca Legends + Bertini/EMI + Bernstein/Sony + Rattle/EMI
*
9) Ancerl/Supraphon Gold + Bernstein/Sony + Kubelik/Audite + Kondrashin/Melodiya + Karajan/DG Live
*
10) Rattle/BPO/EMI
*
DLVDE) Klemperer/Ludwig/EMI GROTC
*
is exactly the kind of useful post I mean. If we had a few pages of similar lists, all in one place without a lot of jibber jabber in between, think how useful it would be.

I can look at that and see that DA has Bernstein down for every complete symphony except 4, whereas I would list Bernstein for hardly anything BUT 4 (DG with Helmut Wittek). It makes for a handy comparison guide, whereas no one can wade through 324 pages (!) to figure out what's what in people's opinions.
post #3236 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson View Post
Great idea, let us know when you get that done.
What, you don't think this is at least a little about how long people can make the thread?
post #3237 of 3714
I'd be willing to contribute my top 5 to a new thread.
post #3238 of 3714
A heads up! Euroart is releasing the M2 "Resurrection" with Boulez and the Staatskappelle Berlin on HD-DVD! It can be pre-ordered at Amazon. It's a late Feburary release. I hope this "heads up" isn't breaking any forum rules, but I am very excited about it and wanted to share. After seeing some live performances of Mahler on dvd, (the Abbado M7 in particular) I have begun to appreciate Mahler's genius even more. I know, most reviews of this performance haven't been good but some have so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.....
post #3239 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson View Post
Yeah, I think the CSO was a really bad match for Barenboim. He seems to be a very European style conductor and that matches up much better w/the Berlin Staatskapelle. In fact I find almost every recording he's done with this orchestra to be really first rate. Too bad he couldn't have been lead conductor for this group over most of his career, think of some of the amazing recordings we'd have if this were the case....
You cannot have heard Barenboim conducting the CSO live, and say that! I was privileged to hear him conduct the CSO in NY over the years (most notably Mahler's 5th and Schubert's 8th - Die Grosse) and it was a truly great partnership. In fact, I can't remember a single disappointing concert. I'm most sorry that they didn't record more together, especially in the last few years of the contract when the orchestra and the conductor were so completely in sync. His partnership with the SKB is also great, but there is no way I can fault his work with the CSO.
post #3240 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Origen, Hadden

Yes these long threads can be very cumbersome because they become long ongoing dialog as people buy new Mahler CDs and report on them over long period of time, so they are not great way to quickly get very specific info for causual reader.

If you quickly want to know what is best ideas for Mahler 2nd for instance there are two options:

1)ask the question within this longer thread and you will get many reponses
(this has the advantage of keeping thread alive instead of quickly dying off)

2)start a new thread and get some quick specific responses (but thread will quickly die off without ongoing dialog)

I started my Top 5 list because I was very actively buying many Mahler CDs for several years and wanted to keep track of it all while thread was progressing........every few months some members would post/update their lists which becomes a useful reference.

I have hit a dry well recently and bought almost no Mahler for last 6 months.......I have most of the good older recordings and resist spending big bucks for new SACD releases like Fisher etc
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