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Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 1 - 10 Box set

34 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, January 10, 2006
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Koln Radio Orchestra
  • Conductor: Gary Bertini
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (January 10, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 11
  • 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: Capitol
  • ASIN: B000BQ7BX2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,668 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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162 of 167 people found the following review helpful By Gary W. Thorburn on March 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This 11-disk set collects recordings by the late Gary Bertini and the
Cologne Radio Symphony orchestra into a full Mahler symphony set. It
includes the 9 complete symphonies, "Das Lied von der Erde", and the
adagio from the unfinished tenth. The recordings are from the late 1980s
and early-mid 1990s; some are live, some studio. Some of this material
has been available on earlier EMI releases, through the Musical Heritage
Society, and perhaps elsewhere. The result is a set of fine performances
at an excellent price.

A comment on the sound: its very good throughout. However there's
slightly more dynamic compression than is typically used in current
recordings. Some audiophile purists may find that unfortunate, but not
objectionable. Frankly, it makes these performances more listenable when
portable or on the road.

Bertini, born in what is now Moldova, developed his career primarily in
Israel. He is not well known in the US. So I turned first to the booklet
packed in the box, and its colorful essay by Kyo Mitsutoshi, a Tokyo
based music critic. Mitsutoshi quickly dismisses the pantheon of
venerable Mahler conductors from Walter to the present day, telling us
that in the Bertini recordings we will hear nothing at all resembling
those legendary interpretations. Rather we should expect a Mahler of
"florid beauty", "the pinnacle of Mahler interpretation". So it was with
considerable trepidation that I ventured into these recordings, and have
now listened through all 11 disks. I am delighted to report that these
performances are nowhere near as bad as the liner essay had led me to
expect! Perhaps Mitsutoshi's hyperbole is exacerbated by a poor
translation.
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bubny on March 5, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I have to both agree with, and take exception to, some of the comments in the CD package's essay about Gary Bertini by Kyo Mitsutoshi, a Japanese music critic and clearly a fan of the late conductor. Mitsutoshi writes of Bertini's objectivity, his esthetic of beauty and classical restraint, and his rendering of these scores as paintings rather than psychodramas. These are all valid points, yet taken together they might easily be misinterpreted to suggest a conductor who lacked a forceful podium presence, who was less than fully involved, and who shied away from the music's darker implications and its moments of deliberate harshness. Actually, what you get in this 11-CD set is music-making that pulses with vibrancy, color, and authenticity--just without the obvious huffing and puffing of a couple of the better-known Mahlerians. The scores' moments of grotesquerie and neurosis are there, but they're not (over)emphasized as with Leonard Bernstein. Instead, we have the suggestion of tensions simmering below surfaces that shimmer with beauty. Avoiding overstatement actually allows those tensions to stand out in sharper, unsettling contrast.

As this review's title suggests, the appearance of this set is revelatory. First, there is the conductor's ability to allow even an experienced Mahler fan to hear these scores afresh. Second, there is the revelation that a more subtle, less over-the-top approach can better delineate both the macro (the overarching design of each symphony) as well as micro (details such as splashes of color and important subsidiary lines that are usually glossed over), along with conveying the music's psychological depths. (And don't think that Bertini pulls any punches in moments such as the "with the greatest vehemence" climax of the Ninth Symphony's opening movement.
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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful By D. J. Edwards on March 6, 2006
Format: Audio CD
David Hurwitz of "Classics Today" says it all and in spades. I had never heard of Gary Bertini until I read his review of this 11 CD gem of a set. Mahler has never been more beautifully and brilliantly conducted. The music line of Mahler's often very difficult musical phrasing in Bertini's hands flows seamlessly without distortion, fractures in the musical flow, or exaggeration of ego bombast. The big moments ring with thrilling richness and soul moving exaltation. I trusted Hurwitz in his review of the EMI recording of the Kempe Strauss complete orchestral works and that was a trust well rewarded and the same here. I think one of Bertini's many achievements in what I have heard so far [discs just arrived today] are his innate resistance to be bombastic, banal and overblown. The final movement of the 3rd is as good as it gets; in the same category as Bernstein's 3rd on DDG but Bertini's advantage is an even greater subtlety. The movement just ended and you have to experience it, no matter whose cycle you may prefer. The 2nd with Quivar and Laki [the latter totally unknown to me] are extraordinarily stunning in sound and interpretation. Quivar's entrance "O Roschen rot" is gripping and her "O Glaube, mein Herz.." hits an inner chord that even Ludwig doesn't surpass. And Ludwig grips your soul on the Mehta recording. The closing chorus and orchestra with Bertini end in a glory as if from another universe. The adagietto of the 5th is equal of any other recording I've heard if not superior. The peace and gentleness are perfection. I think Bertini is very under-appreciated. The attention to detail is unbelievably beautiful, hearing instruments I have not heard on other recording. Hurwitz also praises the brass and they are outstanding. Conductor and the Cologne Radio symphony are beyond reproach.Read more ›
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Mahler 2: your three ultimate favorites?
Bernstein/New York (Sony)
Mehta/Vienna (Decca)
Litton/Dallas (Delos)

Honorable mention: Chailly/Concertgebouw (Decca) and Haitink/Chicago (CSO Resound); I actually attended the latter, which makes me feel the need to mention it.
Jul 19, 2010 by Jerimy Bass |  See all 4 posts
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