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Mahler: Symphony 5


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Audio CD, December 10, 1990
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Rafael Kubelik
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (December 10, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polygram Records
  • ASIN: B00000E4H3
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,052 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Of the Mahler cycles published in the 1960s (Bernstein) and 1970s (Solti, Haitink, Kubelik and Abravanel), the two latter had a reputation of being understated to the point sometimes of blandness, and Kubelik's 5th doesn't entirely contradict this cliché. It was recorded in January 1971, shortly after Solti's 5th (March 1970) and Haitink's (December 1970). Bernstein had recorded his 5th as early as 1963, and Abravanel's had to wait until 1974 (product links to the recordings mentioned in this review in the comments section).

In order to best appreciate Kubelik's first movement it is probably best to forget that it is a funeral march ("wie ein Konduk", Mahler wrote at the top of the movement, like a funeral procession), and imagine that it is the dogged march of exhausted infantry underdogs through muddy trenches. Kubelik's opening tempo has nothing that we associate today with "funeral" (although it may very well be true to what Mahler associated with it), it is not one of those burdened and despondent marches illustrated by Barbirolli or Bernstein in his 1987 remake live with the Vienna Philharmonic. Kubelik's march marches on swiftly, energetically almost, never letting you forget the military under the funeral, the tempo is not held back on the two "etwas gehaltener" sections (somewhat held back) at 1:05 and 2:41, and Kubelik wastes not time in reaching the fast section in 4:49 (for comparison, Barbirolli: 5:50, Bernstein 6:14). Not that the approach was proper to Kubelik.
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