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Mahler - The Symphonies / Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti [Box set]

Kiri Te Kanawa , Georg Solti , Gustav Mahler , George Solti , Chicago Symphony Orchestra , Isobel Buchanan , Mira Zakai , Arleen Auger , Heather Harper , Yvonne Minton , Lucia Popp , John Shirley-Quirk , Martti Talveala , Helga Dernesch Audio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Price: $87.18 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa, Georg Solti, Gustav Mahler, George Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, et al.
  • Audio CD (February 11, 1992)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 10
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041Z6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,773 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

György Solti has come in for his share of hard knocks as a Mahler interpreter, and no one will pretend that he has the same sort of intuitive empathy for this music that Leonard Bernstein has. But he does have the Chicago Symphony Orchestra--no mean advantage--and many of these performances have come up sounding rather well. London also has been smart to include his first (and better) performance of the Fifth, and he generally does quite well by Symphonies Nos. 2, 6, 7, 8, and 9 as well. There may be better performances of the other symphonies available, and every music lover will have personal preferences, but at a budget price this set offers pretty impressive value for the money. It deserves its success. --David Hurwitz

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Recordings December 13, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Unlike many of the people who have weighed in on this set, I absolutely love these recordings. Unlike most who review on this site, I have actually performed many of these works (my being a classical violist). I know these symphonies like the back of my hand. Solti's interpretation is masterful in every aspect, he in fact, is the only conductor who has ever made the Rondo-Finale of the symphony no. 5 make sense as a cohesive movement. The CSO plays absolutely brilliantly, as always, so there is nothing to criticize there. I just think that most who listen to these recordings have been caught up in the over-dramaticized versions recorded by Bernstein, not to say that his recordings don't also have merit. To any one looking for a complete Mahler set, I recommend this one above any other.
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70 of 85 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy the Best, Skip the Rest July 16, 2002
Format:Audio CD
This set is not really worth buying, but if only someone would release a set combining Solti's *first* recording of every Mahler symphony, that would be a very competitive set. I've never held with the idea that Solti was too "brutal" for Mahler -- first of all, he's not much more brutal than Bernstein or anyone else, and second, Mahler *is* brutal. But you'll get a better picture of Solti as a Mahlerian if you buy his best Mahler performances individually and skip the dull digital remakes that infest this Chicago set. The best Mahler performances Solti recorded in Chicago are: the eighth, which is available separately on an excellent single-disc rematering; the sixth, a great performance, available (from England and elsewhere) on a single disc; and the fifth, which is available on a twofer (from England and Canada and France) coupled with Solti's first Mahler recording, a fine and beautifully recorded 4th with the Concertgebouw that beats the pants off the terrible Chicago remake with Te Kanawa. Also available from England and Canada is a twofer with Solti's fine London Symphony Orchestra performances of the first and second symphonies; not only are these better than the Chicago remakes, they have better sound too (Decca engineers never could get a really good sound out of Chicago halls, which is one of the reasons why the 8th was recorded in Vienna). Finally, Solti's excellent 9th with the London Symphony has never even been on CD; one hopes that will be rectified someday.
In short, don't go for the big box. If you want Solti in Mahler, get his best recordings individually, and skip the pointless remakes.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, very good. December 3, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Let me start off by saying the playing on this set is nothing short of phenomenal. The ensemble and quality of performance is far higher in general than any other set out there, including Bernstien's, Inbal's, and Haitnik's. There are some downsides, however. Solti's interpetations can be a little shallow at times. The only symphony he really misses the mark on is the third, where despite amazing work from the orchestra, the conductor seems to be on the warpath, stopping for nothing. The result is very colorless and unfeeling. The other symphonies, however, are very well done. Don't let these versions be your only hearings of these works, but you won't be let down by them either.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solti Reconsidered February 1, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The recent tenth anniversary of Solti's death has prompted me to renew my acquaintance with this conductor's work. Over a period of several months I have been listening to recordings from various phases of Solti's career of diverse repertoire from Bach to Bartok. As a result of this effort, I have come to a new estimation of an artist of whose work I had previously a fairly low regard. This estimation was, I believe, based more on the received opinions of record reviewers than my own perceptions. I had always believed Solti to be a "high-voltage" sensationalist who tended to brutalize the standard repertoire. That assessment, however, misses both the abiding accomplishments of Solti's career as well as the many ways in which his interpretive proclivities matured over the years.

The set under review here presents Solti's work with the CSO over a span of about fifteen years. Earlier versions of certain symphonies with other orchestras, and in some cases later versions with the same orchestra, have been passed over for the sake of presenting a maximally coherent interpretive profile. In some cases, the compilers' decisions concerning which versions to include were regrettable, though overall one can derive from this set an accurate estimation of Solti's approach to this composer, with its characteristic virtues and vices. What is most striking about these performances, perhaps, is the sheer virtuosity Solti evokes from the band with which he was associated for such a large portion of his career. They respond instinctively and with remarkable unanimity to his every gesture. This is playing that, in purely technical terms, approaches perfection.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra would have to be the best Mahler orchestra imaginable. However, Sir Georg Solti, the famous multi-grammy award winning conductor of the CSO, ruins some aspects of Mahler's most important symphonies.
For an instance, pay attention to a couple of the first few movements of Symphony No. 1. Weak right? Then we arrive at the beginning of the fourth movement. BOOM BOOM BOOM! One can obviously tell, in listening to Solti's interpretations, that he really doesn't seem to pay enough attention to the sensitive more emotional themes. When it comes to anger or some dark form of behavior, Solti takes advantage and plays his part with his powerful orchestra.
Some other aspects are way too obvious to include. Listen for yourself as an experimental experience. The best here is Symphony No. 8. I am glad Solti took major advantage over this piece. He could've done better with Symphony No. 3, but it's one of the best out there, I love it. Symphony No. 7 is perfect. The rest you find out for yourself. Give this box set a try at the bargain price so worthy of purchase.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love Mahler Symphonies & Solti performance. Clarity sound.
Published 2 months ago by Quang Trinh
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best out there!
Solti is energetic and crisp, and never gets bogged down in sentimentality. His tempi are faster than others, but the momentum is so compelling that Mahler breathes and dances with... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Phillip R. Marcus
5.0 out of 5 stars Go for it and don't listen to the "kosher mahlerites"
"The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Telsadel
5.0 out of 5 stars Solti tempo's is what Mahler wanted
I have had this box set for years. Mahler mentioned that he wanted his symphonies conducted fast. He was frightened that after his death, conductors would go for slow tempo's. Read more
Published on July 30, 2011 by Ultrarunner
5.0 out of 5 stars Mahler the magnificent
Mahler reviews are funny because you have a great many partisan points of view that are driven by reasons that go well beyond the listening of the music. Read more
Published on July 18, 2011 by Westonjm
5.0 out of 5 stars A set that should ne'er be overlooked!
I have this set and relish every moment of it (in fact, it is about all I listen to, and, according to iTunes, I have 73.4 days of music!--11.2 hours of that include this set). Read more
Published on January 12, 2010 by CJH
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Mahler
I've never heard the entire Mahler symphonies in one package and this
one is extra special. The renditions by Solti and the Chicago Symphony are
superb. Read more
Published on December 6, 2009 by P. W. Rolston
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
The Georg Solti Mahler Symphonies are just awesome. Since they were no longer available in Chicago I was glad that I thought to order them from Amazon.
Published on October 6, 2009 by Sandra L. Weidenfeller
5.0 out of 5 stars Will knock your socks off -- play it for your children
The various reviews of this collection are excellent - pro and con. I stand with those who say Solti not only really lets it rip in the bombastic parts, but also beautifully... Read more
Published on August 15, 2009 by Scott N. Stone
5.0 out of 5 stars A Staggering Achievement
The Chicago Symphony set the standard for modern orchestras, rising to the top of the orchestral world in the 1960s and staying there into the late 1980s. Read more
Published on March 26, 2009 by Music Is Everything
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