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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 229

post #3421 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Facade19 View Post
I cannot believe I am going state this, but after having heard the dramatic approach of Bernstein, the lyrical of Karajan, the classical of Bertini, Solti's hyper-powerful and etc, I seek something different. Something that is well more different than what I am accustomed to. Something very modern, where pieces float and are more detailed, less coalescence. Perversion, I know, but I want a different attestation to these symphonies.
But yes, the Bernstein and Bertini cycles are great.
Oh DA, Solti's 5th seems to rushed for me.
But thank you and MB for your recommendations!
A more modernized Mahler would be Gielen or Boulez
post #3422 of 3714
Just out of curiosity, how do you folks feel about the Maazel/VPO cycle? I am tempted to get it.
post #3423 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Facade19 View Post
Just out of curiosity, how do you folks feel about the Maazel/VPO cycle? I am tempted to get it.
It's a very personalized interpretation. There are some personalized Mahler performances where many listeners will say, "Oh, I never thought of that passage going like that, but it feels right and makes musical sense!" For me, Maazel's complete set has moments like that, along with other points where I said, "Huh???!!! Why?" I wouldn't buy it as a set, but I personally like his 2 and 4 and 9. I would describe the sound throughout the set as having somewhat of an edge at high volumes. The string and brass playing are the VPO at its best. In summary, caveat emptor...
post #3424 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Facade19 View Post
How would you fellows rate the Kubelik cycle? Any worth checking out? How does it compare to for instance to Bernstein's, or Bertini's? Also, once I am over my apparent inertia towards Mahler, I must pursue Boulez's cycle.
Kubelik and Bernstein were my first Mahler purchases way back when LPs were the only game in town. I rank Kubelik's Mahler up there with the best cycles. It's older now, but still has acceptable sound quality (ADD). As DA said, the live performances on Audite are more exciting, even if the play is not as precise as the DG studio recordings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Facade19 View Post
I cannot believe I am going state this, but after having heard the dramatic approach of Bernstein, the lyrical of Karajan, the classical of Bertini, Solti's hyper-powerful and etc, I seek something different. Something that is well more different than what I am accustomed to. Something very modern, where pieces float and are more detailed, less coalescence. Perversion, I know, but I want a different attestation to these symphonies.
But yes, the Bernstein and Bertini cycles are great.
Oh DA, Solti's 5th seems to rushed for me.
But thank you and MB for your recommendations!
By "least coalescence" do you mean least "unified" or least "structured" -- ie: a symphony whose parts don't seem to belong together or a symphony where the structure is minimized? The least unity, or architectural structure I've ever found in Mahler recordings is in the Benjamin Zander cds. Although someone I know has described them as growing organically, I think that's not quite right. To me, Zander's Mahler just adds on part after part in a very linear fashion, without trying to give it any long line or structure. It's not my cup of tea, but you may enjoy it. The cds also have lectures with them, but I find that he talks the talk but he doesn't walk the walk, if you know what I mean.

The most detailed Mahler is Chailly's with the Royal Concertgebouw. Try some of those.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post
A more modernized Mahler would be Gielen or Boulez
Like MbHaub, I tend to avoid Boulez. Although his M3 is excellent, I wouldn't recommend his cycle. Gielen's cycle remains hopelessly overpriced. It is a great cycle, but rather heavy, dark, and cold. When I listen to Gielen, it's very sobering. Chailly is more lyrical and hopeful, but very detailed and precise. His performances tend to be long, but so are Gielen's. Gielen's orchestra has a very dark sound for the Mahler, the RCA's sound is a bit brighter, but not so bright as to be jarring. It's just lighter in feeling than the Gielen.
post #3425 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Facade19 View Post
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.

Individual symphonies:
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.
post #3426 of 3714
Bunnyears, yes that was I meant. What i noticed when listening to my current Mahler recordings (the 30 or so ones) I always think that each part of, each note belongs to the whole, that is that without one another the notes do not exist, cannot exist. That each section must be told coherently and must be approached with the holistic vision. But from my personal readings of philosophy, I learned to appreciate that thinkers like to dupe their careless readers with long and far-fetched "narratives", while at marginal, or even unsaid parts, they reveal their thoughts and unmask their dissimulation. Now I am sure Mahler was not one who did so, but still, there are moments, in particular the end of the 3rd symphony, where I feel that Mahler is fooling the audience. So I am looking for readings of the symphonies that express "high-points" of the symphonies grander and more saliently than the works put together. I hope this makes sense?!

MB and pbarach, thank you very much for your input. Reading the reviews of Maazel's Mahler, one gets the feeling that one should not spend, or rather waste their money on that cycle. MB, your astute account of each symphony made me want to give the Maazel cycle a try. From what I can discern, pbarach, it seems that you mean Maazel does not necessarily follow along the lines of the established ways to conduct the Mahler symphonies. A part of me, rather a big one, is really bored and tired of the Romantic and Melodramatic approaches to Mahler. One can only do so much with a melancholic Mahler, or a hopeful Mahler (Chailly's 5th in mind). I want to hear the music for the music with a taste of esotericism.
post #3427 of 3714
I should have added: the problem with the Maazel set is the price. It is just too expensive for its age. Some (4 & 5) have appeared on Sony Essentials at a lower price, but the set isn't cheap. I've seen it at Berkshire for $60, and the set can also be had from JPC. There's just so much fine Mahler out there that the price in the US is unjustified. And I will stand by this: Maazel's Mahler, cool it may be by some standards, is still better than the sets from Boulez, Zinman (so far), Gergiev (what I've heard), for the more recent versions.
post #3428 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Facade19 View Post
Bunnyears, yes that was I meant. What i noticed when listening to my current Mahler recordings (the 30 or so ones) I always think that each part of, each note belongs to the whole, that is that without one another the notes do not exist, cannot exist. That each section must be told coherently and must be approached with the holistic vision. But from my personal readings of philosophy, I learned to appreciate that thinkers like to dupe their careless readers with long and far-fetched "narratives", while at marginal, or even unsaid parts, they reveal their thoughts and unmask their dissimulation. Now I am sure Mahler was not one who did so, but still, there are moments, in particular the end of the 3rd symphony, where I feel that Mahler is fooling the audience. So I am looking for readings of the symphonies that express "high-points" of the symphonies grander and more saliently than the works put together. I hope this makes sense?!

MB and pbarach, thank you very much for your input. Reading the reviews of Maazel's Mahler, one gets the feeling that one should not spend, or rather waste their money on that cycle. MB, your astute account of each symphony made me want to give the Maazel cycle a try. From what I can discern, pbarach, it seems that you mean Maazel does not necessarily follow along the lines of the established ways to conduct the Mahler symphonies. A part of me, rather a big one, is really bored and tired of the Romantic and Melodramatic approaches to Mahler. One can only do so much with a melancholic Mahler, or a hopeful Mahler (Chailly's 5th in mind). I want to hear the music for the music with a taste of esotericism.
Try Zander. His Mahler is the least organized along the long line. Every note is there and each note is independent of the notes before or after. It's not organic, it's not organized, it's just one after the other fwiw. I personally find his readings pretty boring, but if you are bored with the lyrical, structural, optimistic, melancholic, romantic, or objectivist readings then Zander might just do it for you. You'll also enjoy all the lectures he gives which for me are worth more than his performances. Also, try Gilbert Kaplan for M2. He gives every note of the score importance without ever really understanding what the score is about or what he's doing. Some find his work very emotional, but after listening to his recordings 4 or 5 times, I've downgraded them to the level of orchestral performance by reflex -- guiding baton ignored.
post #3429 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
I should have added: the problem with the Maazel set is the price. It is just too expensive for its age. Some (4 & 5) have appeared on Sony Essentials at a lower price, but the set isn't cheap. I've seen it at Berkshire for $60, and the set can also be had from JPC. There's just so much fine Mahler out there that the price in the US is unjustified. And I will stand by this: Maazel's Mahler, cool it may be by some standards, is still better than the sets from Boulez, Zinman (so far), Gergiev (what I've heard), for the more recent versions.
Gielen's cycle is too expensive too, and it's a new cycle. It's excellent, but the cost! It's just not good enough for the price they are asking, and it's not in SACD either -- just plain digital stereo which is okay but not superb. I just don't understand how Hanssler, a label that is supposed to be "budget" or "mid-priced" could come up with a cycle that is the most expensive one around. It's still retailing for astronomical prices (~$180 at Amazon). You can do better collecting the original releases which include other music with them; they are much better value that way, especially if you pick them up used. If you get the Bertini or Chailly cycles (Chailly was available at the BMG music stores for a while) you are doing just as well for far less money.
post #3430 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears View Post
Try Zander. His Mahler is the least organized along the long line. Every note is there and each note is independent of the notes before or after. It's not organic, it's not organized, it's just one after the other fwiw.
I mostly agree with you, although I found his Mahler 1 to be more structurally coherent than his other Mahler recordings. I do like his lectures, although he has an unfortunate tendency sometimes to state his opinions and conclusions as if they were the last word on the subject.

A better "objectivist" set of Mahler symphonies, although incomplete, would be Dohnanyi/Cleveland (he recorded 1, 4, 5, 6, and 9).
post #3431 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbarach View Post
I mostly agree with you, although I found his Mahler 1 to be more structurally coherent than his other Mahler recordings. I do like his lectures, although he has an unfortunate tendency sometimes to state his opinions and conclusions as if they were the last word on the subject.

A better "objectivist" set of Mahler symphonies, although incomplete, would be Dohnanyi/Cleveland (he recorded 1, 4, 5, 6, and 9).
First, I don't think that Facade19 is looking for objectivist as he has already stated that he wants something different from Bertini.

I suggested Zander because while he tries to produce something that is observes the score rigorously, he lacks feeling for the structural integrity of the whole that characterize great "objectivist" conductors such as Bertini, Gielen, Zender, Boulez. They can be lyrical, optimistic, dark, pessimistic, but they don't take liberties with the score, especially with respect to tempo in order to heighten the emotional content. They are almost anti-Mahlerian in their approach, if what I have read about the composer conducting his own works is accurate.

Zander really doesn't fall into the same category as those conductors. Zander's performances don't demonstrate that he has a concept of the architecture of the symphonies, although he does try. He also seems to be a bit more emotional in his approach than an objectivist. I find that there's a disconnect between what he says in the lectures and what he produces.
post #3432 of 3714
If you're looking for something really different try Leif Segerstam's recordings with the Danish National Radio on Chandos. They would never be anybody's reference set as the orchestal playing inevitably falls a little short. But Leif certainly has a point of view and isn't afraid to indulge in a climax, or anything else for that matter. (Speaking of climaxes Leif's Poem of Ecstasy on Bis is really something...)
post #3433 of 3714
My Chailly/Royal Concertogebouw box set arrived a few hours ago.
Listened to the first symphony and the Concertogebouw's woodwind section had a field day. Man, those bassoons are just the most amazing instruments, or at least the way I heard them in that performance. Fantastic.

Right now I am enjoying the second. I know I ascertained about a modernized Mahler, but for the price I saw the Chailly set brand new I would have been a fool if I had not purchased it. I am going to hold off buying any more Mahler recordings now, since I have the Bruckner bug now.
post #3434 of 3714
Mahler #6

Inbal: Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra

It is a very no-nonsense #6 with a smaller orchestra, so things are a little better defined. Pretty decently mastered and recorded as well. Nice big sound on headphones and recorded in a way that it sounds as though you are in the first balcony.


My favorite is actually No.5 done with Karajan conducting. Very emotive and beautiful.

#3 gets favorable mention when done with a good chorus, the Chicago Symphony recording is pretty nice and spacious sounding
post #3435 of 3714
But which Chicago recording of the third? There's Solti, Levine, Haitink & Abbado.

Solti was too rushed, but exciting. Haitink dull. Levine is magical -- my favorite. Haven't heard the Abbado.

The Inbal set seems to be forgotten. When it came out it was highly regarded for sensational sound and conducting. But boy, was it expensive on those Denon disks. Now on Brilliant, Mahler fans should at least give it a listen.
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