Mahler Mania, Rebooted

Started by Greta, May 01, 2007, 08:06:38 PM

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LKB

Quote from: JBS on June 14, 2024, 08:24:48 AMReminder: there's been a HIP/PI recording of M9 that been available for about 85 years now.

Quote from: San Antone on June 14, 2024, 06:42:03 AMBased on the five minute sample on Spotify, I love what I hear; especially the light/transparent texture and use of portamento in the strings.

" You know who " has made absurd claims more than once. I take all of his commentary regarding both Mahler and Bruckner with at least a few gains of salt.
Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen...

Leo K.

Quote from: calyptorhynchus on June 11, 2024, 04:32:15 AMThis looks interesting:



(If you can't read the image it says 'Mahler Symphony No.9 on Period Instruments, Mahler Academy Orchestra, Philip von Steinaecker [conductor]')
I heard the 5 minute preview on iTunes and the orchestra didn't sound strong (or maybe it was the recroding didn't capture it) during the first fortissimo, and it sounded thin in parts.  But I'll have to hear the whole thing before passing definitive opinion.

Leo K.

The new Vanska Mahler 3 feels like a stately performance. Very well played (loved the trombone in the first movement). I wish the first movement was a little wilder, more risky, faster. But the style is grand, stately and more objective, or apollonian and there are those that prefer that. On second listen it's still not grabbing me like I hoped. I think the middle movements are better.

Valentino

Quote from: Roasted Swan on February 27, 2024, 11:15:46 PMI've been listening to the latest reincarnation of Horenstein's Mahler 3 as released by HDTT



The "source" for this is very unusal.  This is not yet another "back to the original master tapes" sort of thing.  Instead - at the original sessions an American engineer Jerry Bruck was allowed to set up an experimental 4 microphone surround sound array which he recorded on a system quite independent from the Bob Auger commercial recording for Unicorn.  For whatever reason these raw session tapes were never edited into a performance until now.  The HDTT team have done - to my ears - a pretty extraordinary job at replicating the original release in terms of takes chosen (the original production notes for the 1st movement(s) were lost) and although I could only listen in stereo not the 4.0 'ideal' for an early 1970's analogue recording the sound is genuinely remarkable.

Hurwitz recently consigned this performance to his mocking pile of "mediocre Mahler" but I still find Horenstein's rather monumental slow-burn approach wholly convincing if not the only/last word in Mahler 3 interpretation.  The LSO plays beautifully and the natural balances achieved with this minimalist array is very impressive.  Perhaps I want this to be a revelation so I'm not wholly objective.  It is not clear why Bruck never pursued this concept further - I assume money/rights prevented a parallel release of the Unicorn original so perhaps the deal was always more theoretical/experimental than commercial - until now....

The Death & Transfiguration squeezed into the 6th and last Mahler session gets the same recording treatment and emerges impressively too as a considerable bonus
I stumbled upon this a couple of days ago via Tracking Angle and Stereophile. A friend can play 4.0 (and more) so we'll listen to that at his place, and the 2.0 at his and my place. Being an audiophile (or audiofool) has it's benefits (there's a lot to bite into in this minimalist four microphone recording), and I'm pretty sure we'll get something out of Horenstein's approach too.
For the Tod und Verklärung I have the most recent direct to laquer master of the Berliner/Karajan from the Jesus Christus Kirche so there's a nice audiophile comparison to do there too.
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Roasted Swan

Quote from: Valentino on June 19, 2024, 05:55:04 AMI stumbled upon this a couple of days ago via Tracking Angle and Stereophile. A friend can play 4.0 (and more) so we'll listen to that at his place, and the 2.0 at his and my place. Being an audiophile (or audiofool) has it's benefits (there's a lot to bite into in this minimalist four microphone recording), and I'm pretty sure we'll get something out of Horenstein's approach too.
For the Tod und Verklärung I have the most recent direct to laquer master of the Berliner/Karajan from the Jesus Christus Kirche so there's a nice audiophile comparison to do there too.

Do report back with your thoughts - both as a technical production and a performance.  My feeling is that with the latter more and more "neurotic" Mahler has become the perceived norm so this older school slow burn approach seems underwhelming (a relative term).  I've read some reviews of the very recent Vanska No.3 that seem to imply that he is going for slow-build approach too so I'll try to listen to that for a comparison.

DavidW

Quote from: Leo K. on June 17, 2024, 11:13:54 AMThe new Vanska Mahler 3 feels like a stately performance. Very well played (loved the trombone in the first movement). I wish the first movement was a little wilder, more risky, faster. But the style is grand, stately and more objective, or apollonian and there are those that prefer that. On second listen it's still not grabbing me like I hoped. I think the middle movements are better.

I will be listening to that recording soon. I don't expect it to match the great Ivan Fischer recording but hopefully it will be interesting and different.

Leo K.

Quote from: DavidW on June 19, 2024, 09:51:25 AMI will be listening to that recording soon. I don't expect it to match the great Ivan Fischer recording but hopefully it will be interesting and different.
I look forward to your thoughts. I think it has many moments that show difference from other recordings. I want to give it a 3rd listen soon. I really like what I have heard of Vanska's Mahler cycle, especially the 6th - that was a unique interpretation to my ear.

DavidW

Quote from: Leo K. on June 17, 2024, 11:13:54 AMThe new Vanska Mahler 3 feels like a stately performance. Very well played (loved the trombone in the first movement). I wish the first movement was a little wilder, more risky, faster. But the style is grand, stately and more objective, or apollonian and there are those that prefer that. On second listen it's still not grabbing me like I hoped. I think the middle movements are better.

It is too slow, ponderous and grim for me. To compare to newer recordings it lacks the cohesion of Nott and the passion of Fischer. All other Vanska Mahler recordings rest I've heard so far I either liked or loved, but this is a misfire for me.

Madiel

Quote from: Brian on June 14, 2024, 05:43:48 AMYou Know Who has a scathing video review of that new "period instrument" Mahler 9. It contains a lot of humming and "singing" snippets, so for those who don't want to listen to that (or him in general), here's the TLDR: The orchestra is just not that competent. Not always together at climaxes, trumpet/trombone parts are buried behind the strings, horns don't ring out, string playing is tentative rehearsal quality.

He specifically calls out the "awful sound at the beginning of the adagio" so maybe prospective buyers should check that. If you like that sound, buy it!

EDIT: BTW, looking at Presto's sound samples, this thing is broken up into like 32 tracks!
https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/9624632--mahler-symphony-no-9-on-period-instruments

No matter what music we are talking about, few things upset him more than tentative brass. Except maybe tentative percussion.
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Atriod

Based off Hurwitz's review of Mahler's reorchestrations of some of Beethoven's symphonies I hope more conductors will record them. Sounds like the genius strikes again!

LKB

Quote from: Madiel on June 22, 2024, 05:44:53 AMNo matter what music we are talking about, few things upset him more than tentative brass. Except maybe tentative percussion.

For him, Hell is a soggy tam-tam.
Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen...

DavidW

Alright it is time:


What I hoped for was a spiritual successor to the '38 Walter in modern sound.  Did it achieve that goal?  Nope.  Not even close, honestly.

Question 1: does a PI approach make a difference?  YES, it does!  Really.  I've heard other PI Mahler, but this is the first where it sounded SUBSTANTIALLY different.  It had a very lean, transparent sound that made it easier to hear all the different instruments.  Minimal vibrato and portamento really brings you back in time.  And the Viennese brass and woodwinds really give the symphony a different character with more longing and poignancy than I've heard before.

Question 2: is it well played?  Technically yes, but it is shockingly uninspired.  Unfortunately it is easily the worst recording of the Mahler 9 I've ever heard.  But I want to get this straight: this is not a failing of PI, this is just poor conducting choices.

So it works as bringing something new and interesting, which is demonstrating that there is a place for Mahler on period instruments despite how late it is.  It is not really about evolution of instruments, it is really about the tonal characteristic of the instruments Mahler happened to write for.

Will I buy it?  No.  MI had it right, I was curious to stream, but not invested enough to acquire it for the collection.


Leo K.

Quote from: DavidW on June 21, 2024, 08:21:31 AMIt is too slow, ponderous and grim for me. To compare to newer recordings it lacks the cohesion of Nott and the passion of Fischer. All other Vanska Mahler recordings rest I've heard so far I either liked or loved, but this is a misfire for me.
I totally agree.

JBS

This afternoon it was my turn with Vanska's M3. I generally liked it: I can't call it grim or ponderous*, although it did seem a bit slower paced, and I agree that the first movement could have been wilder. But there a number of points in which individual instruments were highlighted more than in other performances, and the Mitternacht movement was definitely "Mysterioso".

I checked the Tilson Thomas and the Zender recordings. Their timings are very close to Vanska.

So not the best Third, but one I won't mind hearing again.

*if you want a performance that's ponderous to the point of being unlistenable, try Rattle.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

DavidW

Quote from: JBS on June 25, 2024, 03:34:06 PM*if you want a performance that's ponderous to the point of being unlistenable, try Rattle.

That wouldn't surprise me! :laugh: There is some Rattle recordings I like, but also some where he really misfires!

On the third, has anyone heard this Haitink recording?  I like the Bruckner that he has done (for the same label) in the same time frame.


calyptorhynchus

I see Hurwitz piling on to the PI Mahler 9, which is prima facie evidence in my book that it must be quite good.

I'm still waiting for the physical disk. Annoying I couldn't buy the download because they have done the silly trick of splitting the movements into innumerable tracks, as though they want people to have to hear a phutt every three minutes (the flac download is almost as expensive as the disk, so I thought I'd order the disk). Hyperion got into this bad habit, and so did Marco Polo/Naxos for a time; ridiculous, if you want to guide listeners through the structure then have booklet notes tying the sections to timings. I once wrote to Ted Perry to tell him this and got a typical Ted Perry reply. Lol
'Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth.' Robert Burton

JBS

@Deeplyclassical on Twitter/X reviewed it via this thread.
TLDR: far from perfect, but much better than Hurwitz makes it seem.
https://x.com/deeplyclassical/status/1806038796208681036

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

DavidW

Quote from: JBS on June 26, 2024, 07:05:15 PM@Deeplyclassical on Twitter/X reviewed it via this thread.
TLDR: far from perfect, but much better than Hurwitz makes it seem.
https://x.com/deeplyclassical/status/1806038796208681036

I don't have a Twitter account, and won't make one so I can't read the thread, what does he say?  I dislike how both of them are skipping writing a formal review for just shotgunning out impressions on social media.

Brian

Quote from: DavidW on June 27, 2024, 07:54:57 AMI don't have a Twitter account, and won't make one so I can't read the thread, what does he say?  I dislike how both of them are skipping writing a formal review for just shotgunning out impressions on social media.
TLDR: The Twitter user (whom I don't know) really really really hates string portamenti, but likes the physicality of the playing, especially the brass section, and the frequent tempo changes.

Roasted Swan

Quote from: Brian on June 27, 2024, 08:27:51 AMTLDR: The Twitter user (whom I don't know) really really really hates string portamenti, but likes the physicality of the playing, especially the brass section, and the frequent tempo changes.

I love portamenti!  Give me a good schmooze into a note anytime......