Originally Posted by Facade19
Just out of curiosity, how do you folks feel about the Maazel/VPO cycle? I am tempted to get it.
Maazel's was the first CD set I owned. It took a while, and I was beginning to think 8 never would show up, but it did. Anyway: I've always found Maazel a fascinating conductor. He has such control over an orchestra. He's probably the best baton technician alive, with only Reiner and Szell his equal. But his conducting runs the gamit from sublime to ridiculous. So goes his Mahler. Having said that, without exception, if you heard any of the performances live, you'd be very, very pleased. But no composer has such stiff competition. Maazel isn't exactly a do-it-by-the-score conductor, and he doesn't have hardly any eccentricities in Mahler, and the music making is mercifully free of idiosyncracies. At times you wish he'd just let his hair down and let it all hang out.
1) Really top notch. Superb playing and sonics. Nothing to grumble about. very fine recording.
2) Very majestic, and also slower than most. Very potent first movement, and very beautiful second. The Urlicht is heartbreaking. The string glissandos that Mahler wrote, and most every conductor ignores, are beautifully played. Some overloaded sound inthe finale with distortion. Still, I love this recording.
3) Very fine conducting, playing etc. The finale is superb -- Maazel at his best.
4) Long considered a definitive performance -- and I concur. Won't replace Reiner, but the modern sound is stunning. Magnificent orchestral playing. I love this recording.
5) Well played. But it lacks something. The second movement just lacks vigor and snap. The Adagietto is fine. The finale is well enough played, but lacks excitement and sense of building. THe coda is a let down.
6) If you do what the score says, it's hard to blow it here. Well, Maazel follows the score and does a fantastic job. It's not the personal statement of a descent into hell that others bring, Maazel treats it more classically. It's a very clear headed, well judged performance. There is NO recording I've ever heard that makes the multitude of meter changes in the scherzo sound so natural.
7) Very well played, very smooth -- and too controlled. The finale is a problem for Maazel. He takes it way too seriously. But, you'll never hear the Nachtmusik II done better.
8) BORING. Slow, turgid, lacking in power. By the time this was made, CBS was sold to Sony, Maazel's tenure in Vienna was over and maybe he was just not interested anymore. I've played it a few times, and that's all.
9) There's nothing wrong with this, it's just that there are so many great recordings from the likes of Walter, Levine, and especially Karaljan.
10) Only the Adagio, and nothing special either. A horribly out of sync string pizzicato ends it -- I can't believe that no one bothered to go back and correct it.
Das Lied: no Maazel is on RCA with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra. THis is a fine, fine performance. Powerful, poetic, superbly recorded. Well worth getting.