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  • Mahler: Symphony No.1
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Mahler: Symphony No.1 Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import, September 12, 2012
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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 1 in D Major - Titan: Langsam. Schleppend. - Immer gemächlich16:34Album Only
listen  2. Symphony No. 1 in D Major - Titan: Kräftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell 8:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Symphony No. 1 in D Major - Titan: Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen10:44Album Only
listen  4. Symphony No. 1 in D Major - Titan: Stürmisch bewegt20:13Album Only

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Mahler: Symphony No.1 + Mahler: Symphony No. 4 + Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C minor - Resurrection
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Budapest Festival Orchestra
  • Conductor: Ivan Fischer
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (September 12, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import
  • Label: Channel Classics
  • ASIN: B008975XDU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,041 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Written when the composer was only in his late twenties, Mahler's first symphony is a study in optimism. 'In full sail' (his original title for the second movement) could be a motto for the whole work. In this vast symphony, we hear his love of nature and beauty, Mahler's childhood memories, fragments of distant military music, birdsong and even Yiddish folk tunes as they blend together into a paean to life and hope. The work's tribute to Beethoven is seen in its architecture, as it takes cues from his idol's famous ninth symphony. The fact that Mahler's first was debuted in the Hungarian capital Budapest gives Ivan Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra a unique connection to its history. This new Super Audio CD recording from Channel Classics brings out all the nuances and colors of the work, from its softest whispers to its most thundering climaxes.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
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See all 11 customer reviews
You can hear every nuance and phrase with uppermost clarity.
For one thing, the balances are positively exemplary, while the acoustics in Budapest's Palace of Arts flatters every instrument in the orchestra.
Amazon Customer
The second movement has good rhythm, and sharp, careful contrasts of tempo.
S. J. Snyder

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Andrew R. Barnard on September 25, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Reviewers are praising this new Mahler 1st mostly for its wonderful sound, it seems. It's easy to see why. Channel Classics' sound is warm and vibrant, with natural detail that lets every gesture come alive. I wish every Mahler recording had this kind of sound. Yet reading the reviews I worried that the reviewers found Channel Classics to be more praiseworthy than Ivan Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra.

The lead reviewer speaks positively of Fischer's "no-nonsense, straightforward" conducting. I'm not sure this is a blessing, but the reviewer certainly nails the description. Fischer isn't out to make a big statement or burn the house down. He prefers cozy, warm-sounding Mahler that puts elegance ahead of emotional impact. There's none of the personal involvement that Abbado, Bernstein, and Tennstedt incorporated into this masterpiece. Some listeners seem to prefer the missing dramatic flow, but I'm not among them. But to be fair, Fischer finds more interest than Gergiev on his LSO Live release (strange given the high level of the rest of Gergiev's cycle) and someone had to create the well-balanced orchestral playing before the engineers arrived.

Actually, I believe Fischer's Mahlerian ideals are purposely anti-sentimental. He's not cold, but there's a move to transfer Mahler to a world that's less threatening and radical. He achieves his goal, but why is emotional aloofness better than all-out commitment? In the end, I don't find enough contrasts to foster enthusiasm for a second listen.

I worry that reviewers will find me a crank for being the first negative reviewer. I'm entering controversial ground: is there a place for efficient Mahler that avoids the usual flood of desperate passion? You can decide. If you answer in the affirmative, here you go. You couldn't ask for better sound and Fischer doesn't do anything "wrong" from a technical standpoint.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 13, 2012
Format: Audio CD
When the price tag comes this high, it would be nice if Fischer and Channel Classics would include the "Songs of a Wayfarer", or at least "Blumine" (Flowers) - the original second movement to the first version of the symphony, later to be deleted by Mahler. But the when the performance and sound quality are THIS good, it's difficult to complain.

Make no mistake, there are number of very good, less expensive recordings available for ALL of the Mahler symphonies. But for anyone wanting a 'luxury' item with the optimum in sound quality, this new one with Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra has to be seriously weighed. For one thing, the balances are positively exemplary, while the acoustics in Budapest's Palace of Arts flatters every instrument in the orchestra. Hence, beautiful tone isn't sacrificed for the sake of clarity. Of course, Channel Classics deserves the lion's share of the 'kudos' for translating all that on to disc.

Fischer conducts the symphony in a fairly straight forward, no-nonsense manner. Yet he does manage to smell a few flowers along the way during the first three movements. For my taste, the climax of the slow movement - the spot where the Eastern European village band music melts back into the funeral procession for the last time - could have benefited from a tinge more irony. But the first appearance from our village musicians has plenty of bass drum and cymbals captured in the recording - something that rarely happens (and should). The Scherzo, on the other hand, sails along gallantly while its contrasting Trio section conjures up plenty of youthful sentimentality. But its the solid finale that drives this fine performance.

In fact, Fischer drives the symphony home with an unusual yet fully convincing accellerando at the very end.
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Format: Audio CD
At this point in the history of Mahler interpretations, there's not much point to yet another recording unless the conductor has a fresh point of view. In his previous Mahler recordings, Ivan Fischer has been credited with just that - his freshness wakes up the ear, we are told. Not mine. Despite vivid sonics, his Budapest orchestra is lightweight and underpowered for the big symphonies, unless you prefer Mahler brought down in scale. I'll grant, though, that something catches the attention in each movement of this new Mahler First.

In the opening movement, the first 5 min. occur in a dream; the forest awakens softly and slowly, with the woodwinds coming close to imitating the twang of their Czech cousins in Prague. But the almost total absence of tension becomes monotonous, and although it is interesting to build this movement along the lines of several extended crescendos, the execution isn't mesmerizing enough in practice. The second movement is better, and with such a strong background in dances by Dvorak and Liszt, Fischer achieves rhythmic liveliness without stomping the ground in wooden clogs. The outer sections are fast and flashy with loud horns, the Trio slow and sleepy.

The fashion today is to play the third movement in broad strokes of caricature, exaggerating the klezmer-band episode to Borscht Belt dimensions. Fischer carries off the opening quite nicely - one can see imaginatively the procession of forest animals acting as a cortege for a fallen hunter, which was the movement's witty inspiration. I like the use of a very soft, buzzy double bass soloist. I don't think Mahler wanted this parody of a Marche funebre to sound urbane. The klezmer music is jolly and easy-going.
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