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The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: aukhawk on July 02, 2020, 03:43:50 AM

Title: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 02, 2020, 03:43:50 AM
(https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YchUE3mZgnM/VHS6rIe-trI/AAAAAAAAFL4/7rbmOuxrgCk/s1600/and-now-for-something-completely-different-1.jpg)
"And now for something completely different"

I offer here for our amusement, a mini-blind listening comparison, of Mahler's Symphony No.7, the 2nd movement - Nachtmusik I (Allegro moderato).

The 7th is a large and diverse symphony, and Mahler himself was a multi-faceted symphonist - so it's no point pretending that this 5-minute fragment of music is anything other than what it is - a short extract to be considered on its own merits.  It isn't going to indicate much about the symphony as a whole. (For the record, I don't actually even like Mahler's 7th - but I do very much enjoy the three inner movements and especially this one.  Other people find this music trite and banal.)

Nachtmusik I is a 'quiet' pastoral movement about 15 minutes in length, which to my ears broadly falls into three sections, of which the middle one is presented here.  This is episodic, largely static music, I might say it seems a bit like a dream sequence suspended between the more wayfarer-like bookends of music that start and end this movement.  In some ways it may seem like untypical Mahler, but to me this music seems to lie right at the heart of what he does in the middle symphonies - a bit like the still eye of the storm.

We start about 5 mins in with a horn call recalling the main march theme that has set the tone in the music thus far.  Then we get alpine cowbells (to varying degrees) oh we love our cowbells - we get a Mahlerian march - we get a comedy bows-strumming effect - we get Mahler's signature 'come to the cookhouse door' rhythm (first heard as long ago as in Das Klagende Lied, but more obviously in his 1st symphony, 3rd movt) - here sliding sleazily into a most improbable tango - we get alpine birdsong, we are drifting off ... - we get a sharp reveille with a comic twist ... and we stop there, after about 5 mins.  I have no idea what it all means!  ;D

Pace is obviously one point of comparison but orchestral balance, the many solo contributions, the micro-management by the conductor - are all things to listen for.  All the recordings are good sound quality although one or two do stand out for their capturing of the detail.

4 samples in each group making for a listening time of about 20 minutes.  3 groups of 4.
Please note that the last sample in each group is extended a bit to give a more musical ending, bear this in mind if you're comparing timings, No.4 in each group has about 40 seconds extra.

Three zip files - not very user-friendly but I've found hosting anonymised mp3 files to be increasingly difficult, as most cloud-based storage sites simply analyse the unmarked file and restore the tagging, often even the cover image!  Each zip is about 35-45Mb, and contains four mp3 files numbered 1 to 4.

A1-4:
B1-4:
C1-4:
(links and files removed)
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 02, 2020, 05:34:17 AM
Uh oh! Another one! Can...not....resist.....

:)
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Mahlerian on July 02, 2020, 05:54:37 AM
I'm in! I'll make sure to do all the listening soon...
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 02, 2020, 08:41:36 AM
Thanks both!  I'll sit back and relax for a bit now  ;)

Just respond however you like - rank them, or just say "I like this" or "I don't like this much" or whatever, and we'll see what rises to the top.  BTW no conductor is represented twice, I'll give you that for nothing.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato on July 02, 2020, 08:59:12 AM
Uh oh! Another one! Can...not....resist.....

:)

Yes!  "Resistance is futile!"

Many thanks for organizing this, AukHawk !
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 07, 2020, 08:17:34 AM
Haven't forgotten. Just got hit with a couple extra projects delaying my listening (not to mention a third project at home)....
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 07, 2020, 11:50:29 PM
Thanks for the keep-alive.  Just think of it as 'a little light music'.  ;D
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Jo498 on July 08, 2020, 06:26:19 AM
Do we have any schedule for feedback, voting or whatever? I had almost forgotten but now I listened at least to A1-4...
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato on July 08, 2020, 08:55:04 AM
Haven't forgotten. Just got hit with a couple extra projects delaying my listening (not to mention a third project at home)....

Same here!  I will try to hear some today, if possible!
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 08, 2020, 01:20:11 PM
Do we have any schedule for feedback, voting or whatever? I had almost forgotten but now I listened at least to A1-4...

Great!  Please post some thoughts.  Pour encourager les autres.

There's nothing formalised - I've never seen deadlines as a good thing since they are invariably abused anyway.  Rank your group in order if you like, or just write one or two lines of comment about each one.  Either way I'll interpret the result in terms of a general 1-5 score, with 5 being a clear 'best in group and I like it' assessment.  The files are still available for download (see message 1) so if anyone reads comments on a Group, that might encourage them to go find the file and have a listen.

As a general guide, each group includes 3 'established' Mahler conductors and one relative 'outsider'.  Each includes one reading which is at or near the slow end of the spectrum, and another which likewise is near the quick end.  (If you're comparing durations, remember that sample No.4 has approx 40 seconds extra music.)  Recording/issue dates range from mid-1960s to 2020, though (very unusually for one of my comparisons) most of them do date from the last century.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato on July 10, 2020, 03:39:31 AM
For some reason I cannot download the files: Aukhawk!  I sent you a message with ideas to go around the problem.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 10, 2020, 01:29:19 PM
Leo - I'm sorry you're having difficulties - I've emailed you the Group A files.

Francis
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Mahlerian on July 10, 2020, 01:52:56 PM
I've already got comments ready for groups A and B. I'll go through C soon and then post everything.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato on July 11, 2020, 01:48:09 AM
Many thanks for sending the files!  I will listen to Group A today.

Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato on July 11, 2020, 02:58:32 AM
Okay: here we go.  End of Cue 83 - Cue 84 in my Eulenburg score

A1 - A1 – Nice clarity most of the time: however, a little rough playing at the opening: the cowbells and tam-tam barely audible.  The atmosphere is of an 18th-century dance in a palace: “Knight-music” rather than Nachtmusik. The strings lack a "bite" at times, especially the  ff "slide" on pages 152-153, the end of Cue 91 (bars are not numbered).  It is a somewhat genteel interpretation.

A2 - Again nice recording.  A slower pace is taken than A1’s.  Unlike A1, the atmosphere is mysterious throughout and “nightly,” instead of “knightly.”  The basses are ominous, the ff  "slide" in the strings is much more unsettling than in A 1.  The slower tempo is to my liking.

A3 – Recording quality again is excellent.  Similar to A2, the mysterious aspects are brought out, although in a different way.  The strings really bring out the eeriness in the score: e.g. those growling basses, and the “slide” after that Brucknerian crescendo and climax on p. 152-53 is done really well.

A4 - Nice quality again.  It falls somewhere between or around A2 and A3: it has an eerie flavor now and then, perhaps not as often as in A2 and A3.  Not every detail is audible, e.g. the clarinet triplets on p.p. 154-156 are not audible, or barely audible. 

Difficult to rank them: I really like the pace of A2, and find good things in all of them.  Certainly the "genteel" aspect of A1 may entice some people and seem just as valid as the other interpretations.

Let me try...

A2/A3    8)

A4

A1

Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 11, 2020, 04:02:54 AM
They're all good recordings.  There's only one of the 12 that I would describe as less than 'very good'.

Thanks Cato - that was quick!  Let me know if you want me to send you another group in the same way.

Yes, those basses are important aren't they?  I never really realised how much until listening closely to several of these samples.

I'm off now to watch/listen to bits of this, that Mahlerian mentioned in the WAYL2N thread.  I love watching Boulez conduct!

https://www.youtube.com/v/lQPgMQew7YU
This live Boulez/CSO performance of Mahler's Seventh is really good, better than his DG studio version with Cleveland for sure, though the Andante Amoroso is still a little too quick for my liking.

[edit: hmm, his style mellowed somewhat since his days in charge of the BBC SO - a lot of finger-pointing and wrist-twiddling then.

The sample used in the blind listen runs from 32:05 to 36:30 in this video.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 11, 2020, 05:26:34 AM
A1 Woodwinds a little too polite. The Mahlerian sleaze is missing.
A2 My favorite of this group. Good cowbells. I like the slower pace which brings out the "tango" rhythm (3:31) to spooky, and sleazy effect.
A3 Almost inaudible cowbells but otherwise great detail. Too fast though.
A4 Best cowbells! And again, I like the relatively slow tempo. But the "tango" is slightly underplayed compared to A2. Still, my second favorite.

Ranked from top to bottom:

A2
A4
A3
A1


Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Mahlerian on July 11, 2020, 05:34:54 AM
Okay, here goes...

A1 - Sound seems very spotlit and close. The various changes in color and texture are navigated quite well. Opening horn solo seemed a little too exaggerated. 3.5

A2 - This recording really captures the musical momentum and drive of the work, all of its shifts in color and tone. Very detailed. 5

A3 - Well played, but the clipped phrasing used throughout makes it sound rushed to me. 3

A4 - Sounds gorgeous, if a little too smooth. 4

B1 - Feels rushed. 2

B2 - The connections between all of the episodes are felt very well, and the performance is very good. I do wonder about the sudden drop in tempo at the tutti, though. 4

B3 - Cowbells quite loud in this one. Some parts of it seem to work really well, but not as a whole. 3.5

B4 - Wow, this is a great recording. Attentive throughout to both detail and overall musical shape. 5

C1 - Excellently shaped and magnificently played. 4.5

C2 - This feels like it's moving in slow motion. Dragging and dull, and somehow manages to keep slowing down on top of that. 1

C3 - Very beautiful and attractively shaped. 4

C4 - Very strong recording here too, balanced a little differently from the others. 5


Overall, I agree you've chosen a good group of recordings, with one particularly infamous one thrown in (if C2 is the version I think it is...). Thanks for running this!
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 11, 2020, 08:43:06 AM
Thanks everyone!  That's great progress.  A1 'genteel' and 'polite' - hmm, I wasn't expecting that!  ;)   C2 - no hiding place!  >:D
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 11, 2020, 09:09:16 AM
Thanks everyone!  That's great progress.  A1 'genteel' and 'polite' - hmm, I wasn't expecting that!  ;)   C2 - no hiding place!  >:D
I haven't finished the C group, but here is a preview of my opinion on A1:
A1: Wonderful dynamic and dramatic contrasts. Very well played, perhaps lacking a bit of darkness at times, but the mix of martial and pastoral is well done. Transitions feel very natural, a real achievement in this movement.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato on July 11, 2020, 09:23:21 AM
They're all good recordings.  There's only one of the 12 that I would describe as less than 'very good'.

Thanks Cato - that was quick!  Let me know if you want me to send you another group in the same way.

Yes, those basses are important aren't they?  I never really realised how much until listening closely to several of these samples.


I'm off now to watch/listen to bits of this, that Mahlerian mentioned in the WAYL2N thread.  I love watching Boulez conduct!


Yes, please send B and C in the same way!

And yes again, the basses lend much to the Nachtmusik atmosphere.

Around 2010, maybe early 2011, I happened to catch part of a broadcast concert from the Chicago Symphony with Pierre Boulez conducting Mahler's Symphony #7.  It was just as good as the DGG performance with him and the Cleveland Orchestra.  Boulez brought out how Mahler was creating the future paths for composers e.g. Webern.  And I choose Webern specifically because, in the Scherzo especially, I had an impression that I was possibly listening to an unknown work by Webern.  Look at score e.g. the opening pages, or the part where Boulez really found the future path of Webern, Cue 148, right after the Tuba glissando and the fff Bb on the timpani.

Such music also points the way to the Ninth Symphony
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato on July 11, 2020, 10:01:17 AM


Around 2010, maybe early 2011, I happened to catch part of a broadcast concert from the Chicago Symphony with Pierre Boulez conducting Mahler's Symphony #7.  It was just as good as the DGG performance with him and the Cleveland Orchestra.
 

I have checked the Chicago Symphony website, but so far this performance has not been released.

Some of you may already know that Bruno Walter refused to conduct the Seventh, calling it "weak."   Possibly he did not like the brash, dark, mosaic quality of the work.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 11, 2020, 12:33:41 PM
C2 - no hiding place!  >:D

I should recuse myself...it's a long time favorite. Not sure I can be objective  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 11, 2020, 04:34:56 PM
This should be fun. I usually spend more time listening to other sections, but this has a lot going on, so could be some unexpected results….

A1: Wonderful dynamic and dramatic contrasts. Very well played, perhaps lacking a bit of darkness at times, but the mix of martial and pastoral is well done. Transitions feel very natural, a real achievement in this movement.
A2: Warmer sounding brass. More ominous sounding and less sunny than A1, where the pastoral stands out more strongly. This is a subtler approach, which I prefer. Darkness and lightness is much better caught here. Brass not quite the level of A1 (technically).
A3: Some moments seem to lack the same ebb and flow of A1 and A2. Certain instruments overwhelm at times, perhaps a recording issue due to being live? Just not as interesting as A1 or A2 as it seems to miss the great contrast of dark and light in A2 and the pastoral feel in A1. Still, it’s not bad, just not as good.
A4: Slower start, and some pitch issues. Brighter sounding, so more similar to A1. A bit too stop and start for my tastes in its approach to the drama. I prefer the sounds of the woodwinds here.

My preference here is A2 followed by A1. They are all more similar than they are different though. I think A2 hits the balance of all the elements best of all.

B1: Like the approach, but there are some pitchy moments as well as a bit too much of pushing the tempo in the opening. Still, lovely playing and quite dramatic. Didn’t like the sound produced here as much, but the march and the darkness of it contrast nicely.
B2: Nice opening, but the cowbells are quite distant and at times disappear. Overall, the pastoral elements are not highlighted/contrasted enough, but some good playing nonetheless.
B3: Cowbells audible here. Just don’t like some of the sound produced, though a quite unified approach and good details heard throughout.
B4: Inexact pitch at the opening. Not as dark as it could be in terms of contrast – a bit too consistently sunny I think. Still, well done.

Of the B group, it’s really difficult to pick a standout, so I won’t. Just think they all have positives and negatives and quite balanced in that sense. If pressed, I guess I’d go with B1, but not really feeling strong about this one.

C1: Crisp, but cowbells aren’t all that audible. Well shaped and executed. Pastoral quality is a bit muted, and so is the darkness of it. But really well played for the most part.
C2: The only one so far that has a different tempo. The cowbells seem almost too fast in contrast. Control of the playing is pretty impressive. Overall I liked it. I can see why it splits opinion, but I feel it holds together – the orchestra have clearly bought in.
C3: Cowbells have a strangely mystical quality to them (softer and less clangy). Well played, though sometimes I feel certain details are emphasized in a way that obscures others. I like the overall forward thrust of this one.
C4: Good. The woodwind sometimes seem so far forward that they cover up everything else.

In this group, it’s C1 and C3 that vie for the top spot for me. I think C2 just needs to be put to the side and judged separately, because it’s just so different. That said, I couldn’t turn away from it. The C group is overall quite strong.

Overall? That’s a tough one as it’s a pretty strong group of performances overall. A2, C1 and C3 would be the choices with A2 likely being tops. Still, I think C2 needs to be heard at least once.

Thanks to aukhawk for putting this together and selecting an unusual section to ‘slice and dice’. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 12, 2020, 04:19:47 AM
( C2 ) I should recuse myself...it's a long time favorite. Not sure I can be objective  ;D
Sarge

Me too !!  :-X
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 12, 2020, 05:25:30 AM
C1 Too fast in the beginning, like it's skipping along with a too soft texture.

C2 My favorite. I like the insanely slow pace (this is surely no allegro), the great detail and prominent cowbells: you are right there in the meadow with the cows rather than hearing them from a distance, unseen on a foggy evening...which is nice too of course, and perhaps closer to what Mahler intended. Nevertheless, I love this radical, pointillistic interpretation.

C3 A good schmaltzy "tango" ...could use more cowbell but overall I liked this one.

C4 Another skipping march at the beginning but I prefer this one to C1. Beautiful recording. My second favorite.

So:

C2
C4
C3
C1
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 12, 2020, 05:50:13 AM
B1 The opposite of C2. Too fast...but surprisingly I like it...at least within this group.

B2 Soft textured, dynamically soft too. lacking in some detail. I had to strain my ears to hear cowbells. They must be pastured in the next county.

B3 Good middle of the road interpretation. Nothing really stood out for me.

B4 The best in this group. Perfectly paced throughout.

Ranked thusly:

B4
B1
B3
B2
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 12, 2020, 06:04:36 AM
Thanks, mc ukrneal and sarge, some really interesting comments there.

Does anybody else want to join in having read these?  Rollup, roll up!  The files are still available for download (in message #1) and each 'group' of 4 takes about 20 mins in total.

Overall? That’s a tough one as it’s a pretty strong group of performances overall. A2, C1 and C3 would be the choices with A2 likely being tops. Still, I think C2 needs to be heard at least once.

On that basis, I'll award A2 a bonus point.
If anyone else who has listened to all three groups wants to nominate a 'best of all 3 groups' I'll do the same - 2 bonus points for a strong nomination and 1 point for a more tentative choice (like above).

I'm off to do some totting-up now ... back soon ...
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 12, 2020, 06:28:00 AM

On that basis, I'll award A2 a bonus point.
If anyone else who has listened to all three groups wants to nominate a 'best of all 3 groups' I'll do the same - 2 bonus points for a strong nomination and 1 point for a more tentative choice (like above).

Best of all 3 groups: C2 (of course  8) ).

Sarge
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Mahlerian on July 12, 2020, 06:32:10 AM
If anyone else who has listened to all three groups wants to nominate a 'best of all 3 groups' I'll do the same - 2 bonus points for a strong nomination and 1 point for a more tentative choice (like above).

Could I award one point each to C4 and B4? If not, two points to B4.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 12, 2020, 06:46:49 AM
Both strong contenders by my reckoning +1 each.  And 2 points to K C2 - why not, gives him a lift, but never going to be enough  >:D

Well we have a clear leader and - although I await more input - it looks likely 2 or 3 clear contenders for runner-up.  And a fascinating and really diverse group they are too.

Would we be interested in a 2nd/final round of 3 or 4, based on the Scherzo ?  Or shall we just leave it here, wait for a few more listeners, then reveal?
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 12, 2020, 07:01:25 AM
C2 - why not, gives him a lift, but never going to be enough  >:D

I knew I was throwing my vote away but I could not do otherwise. By the way, B4 is my runner-up, so Mahlerian and I finally agree about something  ;D

Would we be interested in a 2nd/final round of 3 or 4, based on the Scherzo ?  Or shall we just leave it here, wait for a few more listeners, then reveal?

I'm in if you want to have a final round although I'm equally curious and nervous about the reveal. I always fear trashing a few of my favorites in these blind tests.

Sarge
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Mahlerian on July 12, 2020, 07:09:21 AM
I knew I was throwing my vote away but I could not do otherwise. By the way, B4 is my runner-up, so Mahlerian and I finally agree about something  ;D

It was bound to happen eventually!  :laugh:
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato on July 12, 2020, 07:55:04 AM
Okay, B Group!

B1 - A brisk, crisp pace!  The harpist slightly misses the beat in a few bars.  However, the clarinet counterpoint is quite nice in Cue 87 ff.  I believe the atmosphere of the "night-time" is lost, however, because of the faster baton.

B2 - Back to a slower, eerier atmosphere: the string triplets in Cues 85 and 86 are brought out nicely, as they should be, a rumbling unconscious struggling to unleash itself.  Unfortunately, when taken up by the clarinets, this unconscious almost disappears.  Otherwise, not bad.

B3 - Okay, some rubato in the opening bars, and then a somewhat faster pace.  Cowbells are not distant enough, and the tam-tam is almost inaudible.  One of the oboes is off-key just slightly in the crucial part of Cue 89.  And what is that clicking on p. 152 of the score, right before the climax at the end of Cue 91?  The strings (not the basses) are supposed to be pizzicato, not col legno.  Since no one else mentioned it, I will assume it is Internet noise from the download.  In general, not bad, but too fast for my taste.

B4 - Back to a slower, more mysterious atmosphere: cowbell sound is just right.  And the triplets mentioned in B2 are also done nicely.  And this time the "clicking" on p. 152 of the score, right before the climax at the end of Cue 91, seems to be a tambourine!  Is there a another version with a tambourine at that part?  Or is this Leopold conducting and tinkering?    ;) 8)   Otherwise, much more dramatic performance!

I still like A2!!!   8)


B4

B3

B2

B1


Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 12, 2020, 09:00:47 AM
And what is that clicking on p. 152 of the score, right before the climax at the end of Cue 91? 
...
  And this time the "clicking" on p. 152 of the score, right before the climax at the end of Cue 91, seems to be a tambourine!  Is there a another version with a tambourine at that part?

Thanks Cato !

(Note to self, must get hold of a score ... ) isn't that a percussion effect that is drowned out in many recordings?  I've seen on videos a percussionist hitting the casing of a drum with what looks like an oversized egg-whisk - is it that bit?
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Mahlerian on July 12, 2020, 09:03:52 AM
Thanks Cato !

(Note to self, must get hold of a score ... ) isn't that a percussion effect that is drowned out in many recordings?  I've seen on videos a perussionist hitting the casing of a drum with what looks like an oversized egg-whisk - is it that bit?

My Eulenberg score (edited by Redlich) doesn't have any percussion marked at that crescendo, but I know that Mahler frequently made small changes to orchestration in rehearsals that some editions will incorporate and others won't. Performances these days will probably use the more recent critical edition score. Most recordings I've heard have a Rute, which is what you're describing.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato on July 12, 2020, 09:15:05 AM
My Eulenberg score (edited by Redlich) doesn't have any percussion marked at that crescendo, but I know that Mahler frequently made small changes to orchestration in rehearsals that some editions will incorporate and others won't. Performances these days will probably use the more recent critical edition score. Most recordings I've heard have a Rute, which is what you're describing.

I thought of that possibility, but what I heard seemed to be clicking.  I have the same score and yes, nothing is indicated.  My DGG Boulez/Cleveland CD has no percussion at that point.

Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato on July 13, 2020, 03:06:48 AM
And now for the C Group!

C1 - A little speedy, but not too brisk.  Dynamics are maybe a little flattened out.  Otherwise, nicely done, with expressive playing, especially from the 2 solo cellists in Cue 92.  The Nachtmusik atmosphere is not particularly strong: the emphasis is more on the dance-like qualities.

And now, the (in)famous   8)   C2    8)! - Okay, is this the Celibidache version?   Gemächlich takes on a whole new meaning!  :D   And a Rute is certainly added at the climax on p. 152 of the Eulenburg score.  Okay, and now we go from Largo to Molto Largo!   But...does it work?  I do like slowing things down a bit, aber es gibt Grenzen!   ;)  The playing is excellent, although the microphone is a little too close at times: you can hear the fingers hit the keys on the solo flute in soft passages.  The big Brucknerian build-up at Cue 91 is done well, and there is an accelerando on the 1st bar of p. 152.

C3 - The opening of the section is nicely done, and the speed is gemächlich for sure.  The basses are brought out, as are e.g. the triplets in the clarinets: those could be the emphasized details mentioned earlier by Mc Ukrneal.  An unusual, "nightly" atmosphere can be detected most of the time.

C4 - Here the march-like opening sounds rather devil-may-care at first, but then things become more ominous.  The climax is well-done and the section afterward also, great interpretation by the flute-player of the Fluechtig instruction.  The Tuba is played perfectly!


Mc Ukrneal mentioned that the C group is strong, which makes ranking difficult.

C4/C3   ???   :D

C2  (Is that okay, Sarge?   ;)   )

C1

I still like A2!

And...

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?
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 13, 2020, 04:30:00 AM
C4/C3   ???   :D

C2  (Is that okay, Sarge?   ;)   )

C1

I still like A2!

Yeah, okay. It's not dead last so I'm content  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 13, 2020, 04:41:53 AM
It certainly isn't.  In fact by my (biased??) reckoning it's done rather well, but without threatening the top 3 of course.

Thanks again Cato - I had to Google-translate Grenzen but I think I got the gist  ;D

Hey, Jo498 - have you got a spanner to toss into the works?  :)  You said you'd listened to group A - and it certainly isn't compulsory to listen to all three groups - so have you got any notes to add, it'd be really good to hear what you've got?

As things stand, on a general scale of scoring 5 for 'best in group' that means a theoretical max score of 20, and on that scale I'd reckon anyone scoring 15 or more would be pretty good.
So far, only one candidate scores less than 12.  Six candidates are in the 12-14 range.  That leaves 5 who have done well, scoring 15, 16, 18, 19.5 and ... 20.5
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk 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.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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 (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Cor5wSsMfIXrb98gsUtPLxCFZ2jrNCmQ/view?usp=sharing)[/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
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato 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 (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Cor5wSsMfIXrb98gsUtPLxCFZ2jrNCmQ/view?usp=sharing)


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."
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk 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?  :-\ )
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato 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!
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: mc ukrneal 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!
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk 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!
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: mc ukrneal 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!
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk 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
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk 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
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41ypenFA6SL._AC_.jpg)


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
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81Gl0FAST3L._AC_SL1400_.jpg)


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
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51g4EU7SQOL._AC_.jpg)


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
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71Kk29IuDBL._AC_SL1202_.jpg)


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
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61dbY18vN9L._AC_SY445_.jpg)


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
(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODA3NTk3OC4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0MzkzNzkxMjR9)

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
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/712Df6LOaKL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk 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
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71VucLECECL._AC_SL1417_.jpg)

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
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/81JLcMjfSDL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Mahlerian 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.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato 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


   
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 15, 2020, 04:18:03 AM
C2 is Otto Klemperer / Philharmonia Orch / EMI 1968
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71VucLECECL._AC_SL1417_.jpg)

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
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk 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 )
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk 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.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk 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
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/91oI87OeUXL._SS500_.jpg)

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
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/81gpCX1uxmL._SS500_.jpg)

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
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/61h2J8z1lRL._SS500_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: MusicTurner 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.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Jo498 on July 15, 2020, 11:06:39 PM
Interesting. I didn't get around to group C and my notes are very sparse, but I did like a2 (Bernstein, among the most "poetic" of the 8 I listened to, I have his in a box but don't think I have ever listened to it) and b4 (Gielen, one of the most detailed, and while I didn't recognize it this is the recording of the piece I have had for the longest time). I also liked a3 (Abbado) for its sense of urgency.
b1 (Boulez) I found too fast.

BTW the studio recording by Scherchen (Westminster) is pretty good and very "sane" for Scherchen's standards. Sound is decent studio mono.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: MusicTurner on July 15, 2020, 11:27:49 PM
(...)

BTW the studio recording by Scherchen (Westminster) is pretty good and very "sane" for Scherchen's standards. Sound is decent studio mono.

Yes, the Toronto 1965 is more 'special' and wilder musically, than his 1950 and 1953 recordings.
1950 21:02 14:34 9:00 13:37 16:05
1953 20:43 15:41 9:10 14:27 17:59
1965 18:33 12:53 8:17 13:00 16:38

Gielen
1993 21:53 16:43 9:43 12:55 18:10

Bernstein NYPO
1965 20:51 16:41 9:37 14:38 17:55
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 16, 2020, 04:10:43 AM
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
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/61h2J8z1lRL._SS500_.jpg)

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.

You chose correctly, at least in my opinion. Lenny's Columbia/Sony M7 co-reigns at the top (along with Klemp) of my collection (24 Sevenths). Very happy to see it winning. Gielen surprised because overall his cycle is one I don't much appreciate. Obviously his Seventh is one I have to give more attention to and may be the pick of the litter.

Thanks aukhawk for giving us a great and fun comparison.

Sarge
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Cato on July 16, 2020, 05:55:34 AM
You chose correctly, at least in my opinion. Lenny's Columbia/Sony M7 co-reigns at the top (along with Klemp) of my collection (24 Sevenths). Very happy to see it winning. Gielen surprised because overall his cycle is one I don't much appreciate. Obviously his Seventh is one I have to give more attention to and may be the pick of the litter.

Thanks aukhawk for giving us a great and fun comparison.

Sarge

Yes, many thanks!  I do not have the resources to do such things, so your efforts are greatly appreciated.

Leonard Bernstein was something of a natural for Mahler: I always liked his conducting of the Eighth Symphony on Columbia.  And yes, his conducting mid-career of Mahler seems to outrank, in general, his later work.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 16, 2020, 06:13:34 AM
My pleasure - I enjoyed it.  8)
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: Mahlerian on July 16, 2020, 06:32:17 AM
Mahlerian?  (You could have a casting vote here!   ???  )  (In fact - c'mon - tell us who they are  ;D )

Whoops, sorry for not showing up to vote at the end. I didn't expect Gielen to do so well, fine conductor though he is! Thanks again for running this.
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 16, 2020, 04:57:44 PM
Well, imagine that - two big Mahler conductors fighting it out for the top spot neck and neck. I'm also interested to hear more of the Vanska - it sounded very good. But I love the process - it's very instructive and I find it helps hone my ear on a piece.

Thanks again for putting it together aukhawk!
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: aukhawk on July 17, 2020, 03:32:10 AM
I think this worked because of the nature of the music - very episodic and varied of texture - very typical of mid-period Mahler.  Not all music would lend itself in this way - Rite of Spring probably would, and Symphonie Fantastique (been done) - but not Isle of the Dead, or a Haydn String Quartet Op.20 - to mention just two I have considered and auditioned, but regretfully decided against.  Bartok Strings, Percussion and Celesta I think could work - but I tried that back in 2015 and it was stillborn, maybe I just chose the wrong extract.  Shostakovich Symphony 1 or maybe 15 would probably work quite well (and, to my shame, I've certainly got more than enough recordings of both those  :-[ )
Title: Re: mini-blind comparison - Mahler Symphony 7 Nachtmusik I
Post by: MishaK on July 31, 2020, 01:11:27 PM
Man, I am sorry I missed this blind comparison. I'm gonna have to check out that Vänskä recording.

Just two notes on the CSO/Boulez clip linked earlier in this thread.

I love watching Boulez conduct!

[edit: hmm, his style mellowed somewhat since his days in charge of the BBC SO - a lot of finger-pointing and wrist-twiddling then.

I would say that has to do with his relationship with the CSO. Firstly, that orchestra is on a different level than the BBCSO of decades ago. Secondly, the CSO had a very close relationship with and deep respect for Boulez for nearly the last three decades of his life. He simply didn't need to give that many directions to them, as they knew exactly what he wanted.

I have checked the Chicago Symphony website, but so far this performance has not been released.

This was never meant to be a commercial recording. It was filmed for a PBS "Great Performances" broadcast. It also was never meant to be a Pierre Boulez concert! Muti was supposed to conduct that week and the PBS broadcast was meant to feature him. But Muti cancelled several months of concerts for medical reasons and went home to Italy. IIRC, Boulez happened to be in town and available, so he took over (and changed the program - I don't remember what Muti had originally programmed for that week). And being a superstar himself, PBS was happy to keep the broadcast appointment. I was at this concert. What was even better, but unfortunately not preserved on video, was a performance Boulez conducted a few weeks later of Janacek's Glagolitic mass, with Paul Jacobs on organ. That was ridiculously good.