Author Topic: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I  (Read 1364 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline aukhawk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1238
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #40 on: July 13, 2020, 05:51:59 AM »
Yes, please include a Scherzo excerpt!  Might I suggest Cue 148, about halfway through, after the Tuba glissando and the fff Bb on the Timpani, followed by a general pause, and the music seems to start from the beginning?

Yes I like that section very much - and the viola solos before and after it -  but then I also like how the movement starts - and how it finishes - but I won't present the whole Scherzo because that is a bit too close to piracy for my comfort.
I'm going to take it from the start, right through the section you describe, up to the whip-crack.  An easy edit - so easy, I've already done them.  A bit over 7 minutes on average.  This is the top three only, and I'll reveal the rest, tomorrow, Tuesday.  (These three are far enough ahead of 4th place that even a huge last-minute voting swing would not alter that.)

The 'Final' zip file (3 clips) is here:
(Group F link and file removed)

It's a different file repository - in the hope this one works better for Cato - so I hope it still works for everyone else!  ;D  I haven't used it before but I note there's a small 'download' link top right of screen.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2020, 12:53:49 PM by aukhawk »

Offline Sergeant Rock

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22457
  • Location: Wine Country Germany
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #41 on: July 13, 2020, 05:59:29 AM »
Quote from: aukhawk link=topic=29984.msg1305558#msg1305558 date=1594651919
[b
The 'Final' zip file (3 clips) is here:
Group F zip[/b]

It's a different file repository - in the hope this one works better for Cato - so I hope it still works for everyone else!  ;D  I haven't used it before but I note there's a small 'download' link top right of screen.

Odd, it's locked and you have to request access. It said I would receive an email if the request is granted. An email from you, aukhawk?

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8980
  • An American Hero!
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #42 on: July 13, 2020, 06:28:02 AM »
Yes I like that section very much - and the viola solos before and after it -  but then I also like how the movement starts - and how it finishes - but I won't present the whole Scherzo because that is a bit too close to piracy for my comfort.
I'm going to take it from the start, right through the section you describe, up to the whip-crack.  An easy edit - so easy, I've already done them.  A bit over 7 minutes on average.  This is the top three only, and I'll reveal the rest, tomorrow, Tuesday.  (These three are far enough ahead of 4th place that even a huge last-minute voting swing would not alter that.)

The 'Final' zip file (3 clips) is here:
Group F zip


It's a different file repository - in the hope this one works better for Cato - so I hope it still works for everyone else!  ;D  I haven't used it before but I note there's a small 'download' link top right of screen.

Odd, it's locked and you have to request access. It said I would receive an email if the request is granted. An email from you, aukhawk?

Sarge

Yes, AukHawk: many thanks for thinking of my difficulty!  You can grant Public Access to a Google Drive file: go to the three dots in the upper right corner, pull down Share, and you should see two "windows," the lower one should say "Grant Access to Anyone with the Link."
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline aukhawk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1238
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #43 on: July 13, 2020, 08:43:43 AM »
Thanks for the tip Cato.
I've made that change (I think!!) and so Sarge and others you should be good to go now.  :-[  Sorry for the hiccup. (Did I spell that right?  :-\ )
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 08:47:44 AM by aukhawk »

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8980
  • An American Hero!
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #44 on: July 13, 2020, 08:46:15 AM »
Thanks for the tip Cato.
I've made that change (I think!!) and so Sarge and others you should be good to go now.  Sorry for the hiccup. (Did I spell that right?  :-\ )

It works!  Many thanks to you again for the effort here!
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline mc ukrneal

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9118
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #45 on: July 13, 2020, 08:54:03 AM »
It works!  Many thanks to you again for the effort here!
Worked for me too! This will be fun!
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline aukhawk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1238
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #46 on: July 13, 2020, 08:55:32 AM »
I should just say that the "louder is better" discussion that we had in the Beethoven Quartets thread is very germane here.  Beware!

Offline mc ukrneal

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9118
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #47 on: July 13, 2020, 05:06:17 PM »
I thought louder was always better when it comes to Mahler?!?!  :)

Impressions:
F1: Intense, well executed vision. Just beautifully played. The precision is right on the money. The originality of the music jumps out here. It may have been just over 7.5 minutes, but when it finished, I couldn't believe it was already over. Very well done.

F2: Also excellent. Precision is equally good, which while played at a slightly faster tempo makes the precision here even more memorable. I think it could have used more extremes in some of the phrasing to bring out those grotesque moments even more so. And it doesn't have quite the crack of the whip as F1. Still, minor quibbles in another excellent version.

F3: A third very good version. The phrasing is more similar to F1, and the brass really come out of the woodworks, though the strings might lack that extra thwack you get in F1.

Wow, what a great threesome. But for me, F1 really stands out. I think it's phenomenal playing matched with superb interpretation. I like how the phrasing really brings out the juicy grim/grotesque/dark moments/qualities.  It's what gives F1 that small, but important lift over the others here.

But in the end all three are really well done! Thanks Aukhawk for the little extra!
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline aukhawk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1238
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #48 on: July 13, 2020, 10:01:27 PM »
Thanks - that was quick work!  (Or have I just had a good night's sleep?) 
I'm so glad you liked them all  :) it would be a worry if we got this far and discovered it was all some horrible mistake  >:D

Offline aukhawk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1238
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #49 on: July 13, 2020, 10:21:11 PM »
Results (so far)

As you'll see, there's nothing really to separate this first group - my scoring was not so precise that half-a-point or even a point here or there signifies anything much.
Several of these conductors have recorded this music multiple times.  The dates I've given may be a bit off sometimes (issue dates vs recording dates).

12th scoring 11.5 or 58% is A1:
"The atmosphere is of an 18th-century dance in a palace: “Knight-music” rather than Nachtmusik.
"The Mahlerian sleaze is missing.
"Sound seems very spotlit and close. The various changes in color and texture are navigated quite well.
"Very well played, perhaps lacking a bit of darkness at times, but the mix of martial and pastoral is well done.

A1 is Georg Solti / Chicago SO / Decca 1971



11th scoring 12 or 60% is B1:
"Didn’t like the sound produced here as much
"The opposite of C2. Too fast...but surprisingly I like it...at least within this group
"I believe the atmosphere of the "night-time" is lost, however, because of the faster baton

B1 is Pierre Boulez / Cleveland SO / DG 1994



10th scoring 12.5 or 63% is B2:
"The connections between all of the episodes are felt very well, and the performance is very good
"Overall, the pastoral elements are not highlighted/contrasted enough, but some good playing nonetheless
"the string triplets in Cues 85 and 86 are brought out nicely, as they should be, a rumbling unconscious struggling to unleash itself

B2 is Klaus Tennstedt / LPO / EMI 1981



9th scoring 13 or 65% is C1:
"Excellently shaped and magnificently played
"Pastoral quality is a bit muted, and so is the darkness of it
"The Nachtmusik atmosphere is not particularly strong: the emphasis is more on the dance-like qualities

C1 is Bernard Haitink / Concertgebouw Orch / Philips 1967



8th scoring 13.5 or 68% is A3:
"The strings really bring out the eeriness in the score: e.g. those growling basses, and the “slide”
"Certain instruments overwhelm at times, perhaps a recording issue due to being live?

A3 is Claudio Abbado / Lucerne Festival Orch / DVD 2005



6th== scoring 14 or 70% is A4 and B3:
A4:
"it has an eerie flavor now and then, perhaps not as often as in A2 and A3
"Sounds gorgeous, if a little too smooth
"A bit too stop and start for my tastes

A4 is Ken-ichiro Kobayashi / Japan PO / Exton  2004


B3:
"Some parts of it seem to work really well, but not as a whole
"Nothing really stood out for me

B3 is Ivan Fischer / Budapest Festival Orchestra / Channel 2018

« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 10:24:37 PM by aukhawk »

Offline aukhawk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1238
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #50 on: July 13, 2020, 10:43:49 PM »
5th scoring 15 or 75% is C2:  >:D
"Dragging and dull, and somehow manages to keep slowing down on top of that
"I like the insanely slow pace ... the great detail and prominent cowbells ... I love this radical, pointillistic interpretation
"The cowbells seem almost too fast in contrast. Control of the playing is pretty impressive ... the orchestra have clearly bought in
"But...does it work?

C2 is Otto Klemperer / Philharmonia Orch / EMI 1968


What can you say??  On the one hand - Klemperer and Mahler knew each other, Klemperer assistant-conducted at the premiere of the 8th Symphony, Mahler helped the young Klemperer get his conducting post in Prague.  Unique and impeccable Mahlerian credentials there.
On the other - the maestro was 83 when he recorded this, physically paralysed down one side and mentally scarred from a lifetime of depressive episodes and brain surgery back in 1939.
On some level or another, this is a recording to treasure.


4th scoring 16 or 80% is C3:
"Very beautiful and attractively shaped
"Cowbells have a strangely mystical quality to them (softer and less clangy) ... I like the overall forward thrust of this one
"A good schmaltzy "tango" ...could use more cowbell but overall I liked this one
"An unusual, "nightly" atmosphere can be detected most of the time

C3 is Riccardo Chailly / RCO / Decca 1994

Offline Sergeant Rock

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22457
  • Location: Wine Country Germany
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #51 on: July 14, 2020, 05:27:19 AM »
All three are excellent and difficult to rank (especially between F1 and F3) so I'll just mention a few things that make the difference to me:

F3 I love the over the top, very vulgar brass farts at 1:26 and the almost Havergalian brass explosions at 6:09 (reminds me of the Gothic). The winner.

F2 At this tempo the movement feels like a true scherzo but I also feel that the conductor, and the recording, de-emphasizes the vulgar and grotesque characteristics of the music, placing this third.

F1 So, so close to F3 but F3's emphasizing certain details, and not just the brass details, to more startling effect makes this the runner-up.


Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Sergeant Rock

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22457
  • Location: Wine Country Germany
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #52 on: July 14, 2020, 05:45:00 AM »
Results (so far)
As you'll see, there's nothing really to separate this first group

Two of my favorites (I mean prior to this blind comparison) are at the top of this list (Chailly and Klemp) and two at the bottom (Solti and Boulez). Thankfully, for my own mental well-being I only denigrated one (Solti) in my comments  ;D

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Mahlerian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3302
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #53 on: July 14, 2020, 06:23:07 AM »
Results (so far)

Interesting! Even though listening through Boulez's Nachtmusiken the other day in the Chicago performance I felt they were a little too fast, I guess that effect was amplified when I heard them next to everyone else's versions. Thanks again for running this.
"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 Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8980
  • An American Hero!
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #54 on: July 15, 2020, 02:47:07 AM »
Finally found some time for Group F:

F1: Excellent detail in bringing out the voices, and powerful climaxes: the "proto-Webernian" fragmentation is done well.  Certainly a weird Nachtmusik atmosphere is portrayed throughout. The skittering strings toward the end are excellent as are the punches from the Timpani.

F2: The dance-like qualities in the music are the emphasis here, rather than grotesquerie, although that quality is not lacking!  Excellent performance, whose climaxes are also powerful.  The Timpani smash at the end gets your attention!

F3: Oh, this will be difficult!  Again, excellent playing, the antiphonic aspects are well-handled, more variations in the tempo produce more contrasts, e.g. the dancing becomes almost languorous c 4:00 + , but then the strangeness and a Scherzo speed returns. 

(Are these excerpts from vinyl records?)

What to do?! 

F3/F1      :o   8) 

F2


   
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Sergeant Rock

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22457
  • Location: Wine Country Germany
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #55 on: July 15, 2020, 04:18:03 AM »
C2 is Otto Klemperer / Philharmonia Orch / EMI 1968


What can you say??  On the one hand - Klemperer and Mahler knew each other, Klemperer assistant-conducted at the premiere of the 8th Symphony, Mahler helped the young Klemperer get his conducting post in Prague.  Unique and impeccable Mahlerian credentials there.
On the other - the maestro was 83 when he recorded this, physically paralysed down one side and mentally scarred from a lifetime of depressive episodes and brain surgery back in 1939.
On some level or another, this is a recording to treasure.

Amen!

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline aukhawk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1238
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #56 on: July 15, 2020, 04:28:50 AM »
Vinyl, tsk!  ;D

Though one of them is an old enough recording to pre-date CDs by some margin.   In fact, this 2nd round (I've stopped calling it a 'Final') includes both the oldest and the newest of the recordings included in the 12 I selected.

Thanks Cato for listening - well it seems pretty clear, in this round F2 is liked well enough, but just not as much as F1 and F3, and they are about level.  It seems as though F2 will be 3rd - which as it happens is where it was placed in round 1, so that's clear enough.  And F1/F3 will be decided by their 1st-round scores.

Mahlerian?  (You could have a casting vote here!   ???  )  (In fact - c'mon - tell us who they are  ;D )
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 04:34:29 AM by aukhawk »

Offline aukhawk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1238
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #57 on: July 15, 2020, 05:15:27 AM »
If it helps - I don't suppose it will - in retrospect I really regret not including two recordings in particular - MTT/SFSO, and Dudamel/Simón Bolívar SO.

Offline aukhawk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1238
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #58 on: July 15, 2020, 10:09:07 PM »
Results (final three)

3rd scoring 18 or 90% in round 1, and 3rd of 3 in round 2, is C4/F2:
"Very strong recording here too, balanced a little differently from the others.
"The woodwind sometimes seem so far forward that they cover up everything else.
"Here the march-like opening sounds rather devil-may-care at first, but then things become more ominous.

C4/F2 is Osmo Vänskä / Minnesota Orch / BIS 2018


Recorded in 2018, but only released a few weeks ago - Hot off the presses!


2nd scoring 19.5 or 98% in round 1, and level top in round 2, is B4/F1:
"Wow, this is a great recording. Attentive throughout to both detail and overall musical shape
"Not as dark as it could be in terms of contrast – a bit too consistently sunny I think. Still, well done
"Perfectly paced throughout
"Back to a slower, more mysterious atmosphere: cowbell sound is just right.  And the triplets mentioned in B2 are also done nicely

B4/F1 is Michael Gielen / SWRO / Hänssler 1993


Probably my own favourite, when I'm not in the mood for (or haven't got time for!) Klemperer.
Very close in the end between this and ...


1st scoring 20.5 or 103%  ??? in round 1, and level top in round 2, is A2/F3:
"This recording really captures the musical momentum and drive of the work, all of its shifts in color and tone. Very detailed
"Good cowbells. I like the slower pace which brings out the "tango" rhythm (3:31) to spooky, and sleazy effect
"The basses are ominous, the ff  "slide" in the strings is much more unsettling than in A1.  The slower tempo is to my liking.
"This is a subtler approach, which I prefer. Darkness and lightness is much better caught here

A2/F3 is Leonard Bernstein / NYPO / CBS 1965


I had to choose between this, the oldest recording of the twelve - and his later recording on DG - but on listening to the two, it was no contest.

Offline MusicTurner

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1131
  • Location: Cph
Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
« Reply #59 on: July 15, 2020, 10:57:24 PM »
Very interesting reading, thank you. Glad to own some of the recommended ones.

Btw, concerning historical recordings - a guess would be that if Klemperer had recorded the 7th much earlier, say in the 40s-50s, tempi would also have been much quicker. And Scherchen/Toronto is quite unique, but obviously can't compete soundwise.