Author Topic: Mahler Mania, Rebooted  (Read 488645 times)

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Offline Biffo

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4480 on: April 08, 2020, 06:19:07 AM »
Thoughts on Bernard Haitink's recordings of Mahler with the Royal Concertgebouw...? Are there highlights of the cycle that are worth seeking out over others? I know the 9th is supposed to be good, but I've not heard it. I really love the few Haitink Mahler recordings I have: the song cycles, including Das Lied von der Erde. The Concertgebouw sounds excellent...!

I bought Symphonies 1 - 4 back in LP days and they were my standby for many years. I still have great affection for them. I know Haitink's Concertgebouw recordings of the middle symphonies less well - the 8th hasn't had very good reviews down the the years. No 9 and Das Lied von der Erde are very fine indeed. When the 9th was first released it was described as the 'perfect Mahler 9' - forgotten by who, possibly Deryck Cooke.

Offline André

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4481 on: April 08, 2020, 06:25:55 AM »
Haitink’s RCOA versions of nos 5, 7 (two of them) and 9 are magnificent. I also happen to appreciate his sobriety and perfect pacing in nos 2, 3 and 8. The latter needs to be played at a higher volume level, otherwise it sounds distant and dull. In the end, it the orchestra’s show, not the conductor’s, and it satisfies me more than most other cycles.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4482 on: April 08, 2020, 06:51:59 AM »
Thanks for your thoughts, André and Biffo. He recorded much of the cycle (if not all of it...?) with the Berlin Philharmonic as well, and it looks like some duplicates with the RCO (I see two Mahler 4ths with different singers, same orchestra). I think what I'm most interested are the '60s recordings, but I'm curious as well to see if there is any love for the BPO Haitink records?

Offline Biffo

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4483 on: April 08, 2020, 06:58:48 AM »
Thanks for your thoughts, André and Biffo. He recorded much of the cycle (if not all of it...?) with the Berlin Philharmonic as well, and it looks like some duplicates with the RCO (I see two Mahler 4ths with different singers, same orchestra). I think what I'm most interested are the '60s recordings, but I'm curious as well to see if there is any love for the BPO Haitink records?

I have Nos 1 & 5 with the Berlin Philharmonic but don't rate them very highly, greatly prefer him in No 1 with the Concertgebouw. I also have him with the Dresden Staatskapelle in No 2 - a bit of a mixed bag, he seems to be trying too hard to rethink the work though the Finale is shattering.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4484 on: April 08, 2020, 07:12:42 AM »
I have Nos 1 & 5 with the Berlin Philharmonic but don't rate them very highly, greatly prefer him in No 1 with the Concertgebouw. I also have him with the Dresden Staatskapelle in No 2 - a bit of a mixed bag, he seems to be trying too hard to rethink the work though the Finale is shattering.

Interesting, thanks. Am I alone in thinking that the Berlin Philharmonic is not the greatest Mahler orchestra in the world? Outside of a couple great recordings of the 9th (Barbirolli and Karajan live) I have not been terribly impressed with any BPO Mahler. They are a damn fine orchestra, surely. I just seem to usually prefer the Concertgebouw, the VPO, or even the New York Philharmonic when it comes to Mahler.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4485 on: April 08, 2020, 08:15:09 AM »
Haitink’s RCOA versions of nos 5, 7 (two of them) and 9 are magnificent. I also happen to appreciate his sobriety and perfect pacing in nos 2, 3 and 8. The latter needs to be played at a higher volume level, otherwise it sounds distant and dull. In the end, it the orchestra’s show, not the conductor’s, and it satisfies me more than most other cycles.

I'll give his 8th another chance. Thanks.

Offline Herman

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4486 on: April 08, 2020, 09:20:08 AM »
Andre, you were wondering about the 2020 Amsterdam Mahler Festival.

It has been cancelled due to the pandemic and social distancing.

People had been working on this for two years, organising things, and it is all gone. Imagine how that must feel...
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 11:44:41 AM by Herman »

Offline Herman

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4487 on: April 08, 2020, 09:26:12 AM »
About Haitink Mahler recordings.

Somehow the BPO recordings get little love, but I have 6 and 7 and like them fine (having to admit though that I have a hard time taking 'listening to Mahler on a home system' 100 % seriously. The music is a theatrical experience to me.)

I believe Haitink performed the Sixth with the Berliner Ph at a BBC Promenade concert in the late nineties, too. Now that performance was unforgettable. Just as a live performance with the London Philharmonic of the Seventh around 1992.

His Concertgebouw recordings are obviously great (best of which perhaps the Lied), a lot of people prefer the Xmas Matinee performances, and maybe you see where this is going. A man as repressed as Haitink did his best work in the concert hall and we really need a box with radio recordings.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4488 on: April 08, 2020, 11:41:49 AM »
Thoughts on Bernard Haitink's recordings of Mahler with the Royal Concertgebouw...? Are there highlights of the cycle that are worth seeking out over others? I know the 9th is supposed to be good, but I've not heard it. I really love the few Haitink Mahler recordings I have: the song cycles, including Das Lied von der Erde. The Concertgebouw sounds excellent...!

I like that version of Das Lied as well. Some people have problems with the extremely dry acoustic, but I'm also fond of this recording, and the aforementioned acoustic means that a lot of the details are brought out:


Funny story about that Ninth. My undergrad school's library had a copy, but I was never able to listen to it, because the CD was damaged! Maybe that's why I never returned to that particular recording.


I heard the Second Symphony under Haitink at Tanglewood over a decade ago. I remember that being a fantastic experience, too.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 11:52:39 AM by Mahlerian »
"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 vers la flamme

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4489 on: April 08, 2020, 02:15:57 PM »
I'm listening to the Haitink Mahler 8 again. So far, I think, I'm enjoying it more than the last time. The sound is a little recessed which doesn't do the massive forces required of the work any favors. But the soloists are incredible, including Heather Harper and Hermann Prey. We'll see how I feel by the end of the disc, but I don't think it's as bad as people give it credit for.