Author Topic: Mahler Mania, Rebooted  (Read 364797 times)

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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3940 on: December 29, 2017, 02:26:03 PM »
What's everyone's favorite recording(s) of the Mahler 5th? I've always thought it's a work with great individual moments (the endings of the 2nd and 5th movements, and the entire Adagietto), but one that rather fails to cohere as a whole. I'm looking for performances that'll convince me otherwise :)

Chailly/Conc'bouw (released around 1998) is the one that scores highest with me, great playing all the way thru, and a coherent, steady approach from the conductor. Great sound too.

I like the old Kubelik/BRSO, but I have it on a rather muddy-sounding LP. Still a good interpretation throughout. Levine/Philly (if you're not boycotting him) is another good one. I liked Sinopoli for its attention to detail, but haven't heard it in a long time.

This is a difficult symphony to get right. There are a number of classic interpretations (Barbirolli, Bernstein, Solti) that I've never clicked with, usually because of issues related to tempo or articulation.
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Offline DaveF

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3941 on: December 29, 2017, 02:39:51 PM »
What's everyone's favorite recording(s) of the Mahler 5th? I've always thought it's a work with great individual moments (the endings of the 2nd and 5th movements, and the entire Adagietto), but one that rather fails to cohere as a whole. I'm looking for performances that'll convince me otherwise :)

Barshai/Junge Deutsche Philharmonie (coupled in the box I have with an equally good 10th).
"Just because I like something, it doesn't mean it's any good."

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3942 on: December 29, 2017, 03:02:28 PM »
What's everyone's favorite recording(s) of the Mahler 5th? I've always thought it's a work with great individual moments (the endings of the 2nd and 5th movements, and the entire Adagietto), but one that rather fails to cohere as a whole. I'm looking for performances that'll convince me otherwise :)

I own 35 M5s. My favorites:

CHAILLY CONCERTGEBOUW
NEUMANN   GEWANDHAUS LEIPZIG
DOHNÁNYI CLEVELAND
BOULEZ VIENNA PHIL
KUBELIK SOBR (studio recording)

Sarge
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3943 on: December 29, 2017, 04:42:17 PM »
What are everyone's favorite recording(s) of the Mahler 5th? I've always thought it's a work with great individual moments (the endings of the 2nd and 5th movements, and the entire Adagietto), but one that rather fails to cohere as a whole. I'm looking for performances that'll convince me otherwise :)

Every movement of the work draws upon the same motivic elements, and it's only Mahler's virtuosic treatment of those motifs that makes the materials seem disparate on the first hearing (or first few).  I'd go so far as to say (contrary to what a lot of people seem to say on the internet) that the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth are Mahler's most coherent works, in the sense that they are created with only a very few motifs which undergo constant transformation.  Then again, I think all of Mahler's symphonies are masterpieces, and all wonderfully different from each other.

I've always liked Klaus Tennstedt's performances, and his live Fifth is excellent, if on the slow side.  Boulez's recording with Vienna, Abbado's with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, and the late live version by Solti round out my list of favorites.

I don't really care for either of Bernstein's, or Gergiev's (or any other Mahler he does), nor von Karajan's (he didn't like Mahler's music, and it shows in everything he recorded of it), but the real badge of shame goes to Ozawa here, for the worst version of Mahler's Fifth I've ever heard.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 05:35:39 PM by Mahlerian »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3944 on: December 29, 2017, 05:27:53 PM »
What are everyone's favorite recording(s) of the Mahler 5th? I've always thought it's a work with great individual moments (the endings of the 2nd and 5th movements, and the entire Adagietto), but one that rather fails to cohere as a whole. I'm looking for performances that'll convince me otherwise :)

Bernstein’s 5th on Deutsche Grammophon has been a long-standing favorite. I also admire Abbado’s Chicago 5th (also on DG). I can’t say I’ve heard any other performance that brings this symphony together into a satisfying whole as these two I just mentioned.
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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3945 on: December 29, 2017, 06:01:02 PM »
Levine with the Philadelphia.

Offline bwv 1080

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3946 on: December 29, 2017, 06:06:07 PM »
What are everyone's favorite recording(s) of the Mahler 5th? I've always thought it's a work with great individual moments (the endings of the 2nd and 5th movements, and the entire Adagietto), but one that rather fails to cohere as a whole. I'm looking for performances that'll convince me otherwise :)

Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum

Offline kyjo

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3947 on: December 29, 2017, 08:14:12 PM »
Thanks for the diverse feedback everyone! :)
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Online André

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3948 on: December 29, 2017, 08:25:49 PM »
Mahler 5th: Neumann, Leipzig Gewandhaus (Berlin Classics) ; Haitink, Concertgebouw (Philips studio); Barshaï, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie (Brilliant).

2 of these recordings are extremely cheap to boot!

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3949 on: December 30, 2017, 02:36:27 AM »
What are everyone's favorite recording(s) of the Mahler 5th? I've always thought it's a work with great individual moments (the endings of the 2nd and 5th movements, and the entire Adagietto), but one that rather fails to cohere as a whole. I'm looking for performances that'll convince me otherwise :)

From the Mahler Survey on ionarts:


Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.5 (Part 1)


&


Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.5 (Part 2)


My recommendations still stand, more or less... except that Chailly, although it is one of the most gloriously recorded recordings of any Mahler symphony, might have dipped a little... notably beneath Boulez, whom I've only come to appreciate more. Still, for what I think you are looking for -- coherence and cohesion -- I'd go with Neumann. Despite the age of the recording. And the Suitner is cut of similar cloth... ("VEB Mahler Most Charming", Forbes). And what you least want would be Bernstein on DG, then...

1. Vaclav Neumann, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Berlin Classics / Brilliant

2. Riccardo Chailly, RCO, Decca

3. Rudolf Barshai, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Brilliant

4. Pierre Boulez, WPh, DG

5. Markus Stenz, Gürzenich, Oehms (SACD)

P.S. Kubelik, as mentioned by Sarge and the Archaic Torso of Apollo, might be up your alley, too:

From said survey:
Quote
Why is Kubelik’s Fifth on DG not in print in North America? He makes such a strong, dramatic case from the first to the last note, it’s beguiling. Kubelik keeps this symphony on his toes—as usual—and he makes a crisp, no-nonsense case for it. It’s not rushed, it is dynamic; it does not confuse slowness with gravitas nor speed alone with excitement. The four-note attack of the opening trumpets growing subtly more aggressive on each attempt is just the first of many lovable details (one where Bernstein/New York falls flat, while Zinman/Tonhalle come close)—and the usual lack of bass response on his DG recordings is scarcely noticeable. Alas, it is only available in the Kubelik box of the complete symphonies and the Audite version with the same performers, although similar, is slightly more relaxed, slacker, and effectively less gripping. It is a live recording, of course, and while offering the usual increase in depth and bass over the DG sound, I thought this 1981 recording to be less clear, even a bit muddier, than some of the earlier recordings on Audite.

Online André

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3950 on: December 30, 2017, 05:59:53 AM »
Thanks Jens, this is wonderful (I read the whole article). Not least since you concur with 2 of my 3 top choices  ;D.

Based on your recommendation I’ll probably give a try to Boulez, whom I normally find dry, academic, ultimately unexciting in practically everything, from Stravinsky to Debussy, or Bruckner and Mahler (I have nos 3, 6, 8, 9)..

On the wilful, idiosyncratic, unrecommendable side, I must confess my unflinching affection for Scherchen (Vienna State Orchestra) and Farberman (London Symphony), warts and all. But truthfully, they cannot really hold a candle to the certified top dogs.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3951 on: December 30, 2017, 06:35:52 AM »
Based on your recommendation I’ll probably give a try to Boulez, whom I normally find dry, academic, ultimately unexciting in practically everything, from Stravinsky to Debussy, or Bruckner and Mahler (I have nos 3, 6, 8, 9)..

I've never understood this point of view.  I find Boulez's conducting, whether in Stravinsky, Debussy, Bruckner, or Mahler, alive, rhythmically supple, and finely shaped.  He does tend to underplay intermediate climaxes compared to many conductors, but that's all in service of the longer arc of a piece.
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3952 on: December 30, 2017, 06:38:43 AM »
Thanks Jens, this is wonderful (I read the whole article). Not least since you concur with 2 of my 3 top choices  ;D.

Based on your recommendation I’ll probably give a try to Boulez, whom I normally find dry, academic, ultimately unexciting in practically everything, from Stravinsky to Debussy, or Bruckner and Mahler (I have nos 3, 6, 8, 9)..

On the wilful, idiosyncratic, unrecommendable side, I must confess my unflinching affection for Scherchen (Vienna State Orchestra) and Farberman (London Symphony), warts and all. But truthfully, they cannot really hold a candle to the certified top dogs.

Thanks for the kind words. Always balm to the soul and fingertips.

Just to white-balance our tastes along Boulezian lines:

I find his 8th a total, flat failure... a non-starter.
I think that his 3rd is about his only Mahler that comes close to the stereotypical Boulez: Analytical, transparent, laser-like, see-through. For various reasons, I think that CAN help in the appreciation of the symphony, but isn't the real McCoy (See also: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/07/gustav-mahler-symphony-no3-part-1.html). His Ninth I find quite good, but suffering from lack of mysticism in the Finale. (see: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2011/07/gustav-mahler-symphony-no9-part-2.html). I am quite convinced of his Sixth, though, with one of the best final movements on record; really working out the Wagner-aspects. The First is a surprise impassioned winner like 5. The whole cycle, given the sole dudd in the 8th (which it shares with several cycles as a point of weakness), is probably one of the most recommendable in my book... up there with Gielen.



Online André

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3953 on: December 30, 2017, 07:57:34 AM »
Just finished listening to the Kubelik 5th (DGG, not Audite), part of the box set of all the symphonies. I think I’ll elevate this to the top echelon of ’real’ Mahler conducting: alive to every facet of the score, never underlining nor skimming over the work’s childlike, tragic, dreamy or coruscating aspects: it’s all there. A real kaleidoscope of brilliant touches, each given its due without being forced through the prism of the conductor’s agenda. And the tempo giusto from first note to last.

The biggest surprise though is the recorded sound, whuch is astonishingly lifelike: luminous, with perfect concert hall depth and vertical expansion. It does lack a true bass, but that has always been a characteristic of the Herkulessaal, at least in those days. It’s more like the hall boasts a fabulous middle register that freely expands downward, a bit like those soprano voices that never show breaks when using their lower register (I’m thinking of Gundula Janowitz, Schwarzkopf or Régine Crespin here). Either through hall modifications or equipment improvement, more recent recordings do boast a ‘real’ bass in that hall (Nézet-Séguin’s Mahler 1), but I can’t say the older recording’s characteristics bother me.

As for Boulez, I stand by everything I said. It puts me in the enviable position of eventually reassessing my judgment and be delighted in the process  ;). I recall my early infatuation with every note sung by Maria Callas. From up there the real risk was that it could only go downward, and so it proved  :-[, if even by a notch or two.

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3954 on: January 01, 2018, 03:17:48 AM »
Seeing that his second recording of the Mahler Sixth is one of my favorites (Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.6 (Part 1)), Benjamin Zander's new recording with the Boston Philharmonic [sic] would seem to be of some interest. Anyone here heard it yet? Made it onto two Best-of-Year lists (Chicago, Boston; see "Meta-Best-of" List) and might be more than local(ish) cheerleading.


Offline Biffo

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3955 on: January 01, 2018, 03:59:02 AM »
Seeing that his second recording of the Mahler Sixth is one of my favorites (Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.6 (Part 1)), Benjamin Zander's new recording with the Boston Philharmonic [sic] would seem to be of some interest. Anyone here heard it yet? Made it onto two Best-of-Year lists (Chicago, Boston; see "Meta-Best-of" List) and might be more than local(ish) cheerleading.

I have Zander's recordings of Symphonies Nos 1, 3, 4 & 6, all with the Philharmonia Orchestra. I wouldn't say any of them was a first choice but I enjoyed them all. The discussion discs that accompany them are very interesting, as is the opportunity to hear the original version of the Finale of No 6. I will have to give his new No 5 a try even though I keep vowing not to buy any more Mahler.

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3956 on: January 01, 2018, 12:28:38 PM »
I like the old Kubelik/BRSO, but I have it on a rather muddy-sounding LP. Still a good interpretation throughout.

I have to retract this statement. I ran this Kubelik thru the Spin-Clean and now it sounds great. Not "muddy-sounding" at all, for you vinylists who might be paying attention.

Also, adding my approval for the Barshai recording with his German youth orchestra, already mentioned by some of you.
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3957 on: January 02, 2018, 07:46:14 AM »
Well, it's only taken me somewhere near seven years since WETA took down their blog for me to completely* restore my Mahler Survey in full... but now it's done, with the three short essays on No.4

Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.4 (Part 1)




Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.4 (Part 2)




Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.4 (Part 3)




(* second part of the introduction is still missing...)

Offline Madiel

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3958 on: January 02, 2018, 01:32:03 PM »
That's less than a year per symphony, which isn't bad in my book given the scope of the undertaking.
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #3959 on: January 02, 2018, 01:36:41 PM »
That's less than a year per symphony, which isn't bad in my book given the scope of the undertaking.

True, but the sorry fact is, that all the text (except for a few updates) had already been written -- so it was 'merely' an act of restoring all the links and the graphics and cleaning a messy file of raw, unreliable html code up... Still, I'm glad it's all up now. :-) Cheers.