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Mahler: Symphony No. 7 [Hybrid SACD - DSD]

Gustav Mahler , David Zinman , Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich
  • Conductor: David Zinman
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (January 5, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Sony/RCA
  • ASIN: B0029FGG16
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,943 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 7; I. Langsam ? Allegro risoluto, ma non troppo
2. Symphony No. 7; II. Nachtmusik I. Allegro moderato
3. Symphony No. 7; III. Scherzo. Schattenhaft
4. Symphony No. 7; IV. Nachtmusik II. Andante amoroso
5. Symphony No. 7; V. Rondo, Finale. Allegro ordinario

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sooooo musical. Very cogent reading too July 31, 2009
Format:Audio CD
Anyone already familiar with Zinman's mostly very fine Mahler cycle will know what to expect here, and will find few surprises along the way. In general, Zinman is a tad short on Mahlerian rhetoric and bombast, but very tall on sheer musicality. As always from this source, balances are superb throughout. If all this sounds a bit too safe and sane, let me assure that there are some very nice highlights along the way. The soft, "moonlit" episode in the middle of the first movement, for instance, is simply to die for. The playing of the Zurich based musicians is so controlled throughout, and the series of ascending harp glissandi are exquisitely done. In the second movement, the offstage cowbells are fully audible at the passage where the solo horns play their echoing nocturnal signals to each other (believe me, this is not always the case).

In the middle movement scherzo, Zinman observes Mahler's "not too fast" marking, but without also making it sound boring. He achieves this through strict adherence to Mahler's dynamic and phrase markings, as well as bringing all those descending glissandi in the woodwinds and strings out into the foreground. The second Nachtmusik (fourth movement) is beautifully done.

As is more often the case these days, Zinman adopts a slightly faster tempo in the fourth movement than conductors of previous generations permitted themselves, thus making for a more logical transition into the blinding C-major sunlight of the finale (Mahler's own description, trust me). And as you might guess, the guitar and mandolin are perfectly audible throughout the fourth movement. If there's a place where Zinman perhaps plays-the-game a bit too safely, it would be in the finale.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very beautiful and colourful Seventh December 20, 2009
By MartinP
Format:MP3 Music
This was my first encounter with the Zinman Mahler cycle, and it turned out to be a thoroughly wonderful one. This Mahler VII stands out simply for sheer beauty and poetry. Zinman has an unbelievably keen ear for just the right balance and manages to bring out the extraordinary harmonies of this piece to full effect. Listen, for example, to the gorgeous progression in the trombones a few bars after figure 57. If at times the result is too much like chamber music, especially in the Finale, there are always rewards not on offer in other versions. In fact, this reading at least saves the finale from being the monotonously loud and brassy juggernaut that many others leave us with; Zinman's restrained use of full-out fortissimo ensures that the few climaxes he does give us serve as well-placed markers in the musical architecture. Even in the coda he makes sure to place accents in the brass in such a way that the violins remain audible. And his approach does yield one of the most hauntingly demonic readings of the eerie Scherzo ever to be recorded (terrific glissando wailing in the woodwinds!).

The fairy tale atmosphere of the first `Night music' and the first movement's pastoral interlude are realized to perfection. Not that other parts of the opening movement aren't on a par, Zinman's reading is highly coherent, energetic, and has a great sense of build-up, a tension wonderfully released in the percussion driven march before figure 62.

Zinman's feeling for the tempo giusto is as unerring as his sense of balance. Finally a conductor who doesn't rush the Finale's second theme. And doesn't try to turn the Andante into a grandiose adagio - at Zinman's sprightly tempo for once this deluxe Kafémusik doesn't outstay its welcome.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
By now we are pretty far into Zinman's complete Mahler symphony series. He's released all the symphonies in order so far, leading the same excellent Tonhalle band in Zurich where he is Music Director. The series has really outstanding super audio surround sound. No surround cinema gimmicks; just warmth, vivid tone colors, and enough air around the whole band playing full tilt or solo that the shine and the virtuoso technique of the Zurich band departments comes through, gangbusters.

The seventh symphony still remains the orphaned challenger among the rest. It is notoriously difficult to bring off. Many performances err on the side of being too literal (thus deficient in that core of fantasy that one infers must run all through the work, with two movements titled, Night Music); or err by being so free-wheeling that unleashing the fantastical obscures the composer's claim that he was, indeed, writing yet another cosmos-embracing symphony.

The dipping oars motif that opens the first movement is etched very clearly, very literally here. That seems to predict that this new Zinman reading will likely err on the side of literalism? If erring? Indeed, as a Mahler conductor Zinman seems comfortably tilted towards cool-objective attitudes or manners? (Think Erich Leinsdorf, George Szell, Bernard Haitink, Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, Benjamin Zander ... with the polar opposites interpreters all being freer, hotter, as in Leonard Bernstein, Klaus Tennstedt [focus, those live LPO recording sessions], Willem Mengelberg, even Hermann Scherchen at times.)

If a listener settles back, expecting Mahler played with cool literal-mindedness, however, this reading will offer up plenty of surprises. The Tonhalle band manage astounding virtuoso riffs, often.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
My second classical purchase. Just started listening to classical music and Mahler is the best. I have come to love his music.
Published 20 months ago by Linda Edwards
3.0 out of 5 stars Underplayed, but beautifully recorded
I only recently acquired this item (used) so I am coming to the discussion very late. The best thing to be said about the disc is that it is beautifully recorded for SACD. Read more
Published on June 30, 2010 by Virginia Opera Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars fresh & colorful, but well-balanced
Owing to the depth of composition, one can analyze (and quibble) Mahler symphonies to death: tempo, balance, color, instrument sound, on and on. Read more
Published on February 21, 2010 by Gary Odom
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking in Character
It depends on what is more important to you: great food in a dive or a brilliantly designed space with mediocre food. Zinman's Seventh is certainly the latter. Read more
Published on February 15, 2010 by Prescott Cunningham Moore
4.0 out of 5 stars For beauty of sound, an outstanding recording, although the...
Thirty years ago there were listeners who preferred "sensible" Mahler from Fritz Reiner and George Szell instead of "over the top" Mahler from Bernstein. Read more
Published on January 5, 2010 by Santa Fe Listener
5.0 out of 5 stars Continued excellence
Maestro Zinman and company continue their outstanding traversal of the Mahler symphonies. All of them are in the SACD format and sound terrific. They are relatively affordable. Read more
Published on September 28, 2009 by ken100
5.0 out of 5 stars another excellent seventh
I enjoyed this recording. Spacious sound stage with pinpoint imaging makes this a recommended recording for the engineering alone. Read more
Published on September 20, 2009 by Rodney W. Helt
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