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Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Gustav Mahler , Benjamin Zander , Philharmonia Orchestra Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Mahler: Symphony No. 9 + Mahler: Symphony No. 5 - Benjamin Zander / Philharmonia Orchestra + Mahler: Symphony No. 6 "Tragic"
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Benjamin Zander
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (February 23, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B00000I4E3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,545 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Andante Comodo - Philharmonia Orchestra
2. II. Im Tempo Eines Gemachlichen Landlers. Etwas Tappisch Und Sehr Derb
3. III. Rondo-Burleske. Allegro Assai. Sehr Trotzig
4. IV. Molto Adagio
Disc: 2
1. Sym No.9: First Mvmt - Zander commentary
2. Sym No.9: Second Mvmt - Zander commentary
3. Sym No.9: Third Mvmt - Zander commentary
4. Sym No.9: Fourth Mvmt - Zander commentary

Editorial Reviews

Mahler's Ninth is the epitome of his symphonic writing. It is in four movements: a 30-minute, discursive but highly polyphonic treatment of several extended melodies and striking rhythmic motives; a 15-minute dance-like movement with three distinct themes in different tempos; a riotous, 13-minute scherzo that pits energetic motives against each other fugally; and a 27-minute adagio with a gorgeous opening that returns several times, each more powerfully scored than the last, only to dissolve devastatingly at the end. Zander, long a cult figure on Boston's music scene, leads the fine English orchestra in a "live" performance that investigates the score's characteristics with particular attention to Mahler's expressive markings and dynamic indications. In the first three movements, these are problematic, and Zander's attentions prove fascinating. The finale demands less in the way of detail, but more in the way of visionary expressiveness. Here, Zander is less convincing. Excellent sound. --Paul Turok

Product Description


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Over time, my thoughts have only been strengthened. April 14, 2001
Format:Audio CD
This is such a remarkable performance that I find myself thinking, more than a year after first hearing and reviewing this performance, that a second opportunity to comment on it could be beneficial to Amazon members browsing this page.

Prior to the advent of the CD, I was (like many other Mahlerites, I am sure) a voracious Mahler collector, having complete, or nearly complete, or at least partial, traversals of his symphonies by the likes of Abravanel, Barbirolli, Bernstein, Haitink, Horenstein, Klemperer, Kubelik, Scherchen and Walter. This constituted a rather large collection of LP's; the space alone to simply store them became challenging. But it also afforded me an opportunity to assess different interpretational approaches, which, with this spectrum of conductors, was wide indeed. With the advent of the CD, there was a new challenge. Instead of having to find the space for many LP's, it became a matter of how to identify the one or two performances on CD that could endure on artistic (and, as well, technical) grounds. It was at this time (in early 1983) that Fanfare,a major journal for the review of serious music, became my principal guide for identifying where to start in this effort to "slim down" my Mahler library.

Fanfare recommendations led me to Bernstein's live 1985 Amsterdam Concertgebouw performance and Karajan's live 1982 Berlin Philharmonic performance. These CD's have served me well for many years. But matters are now dramatically changed, and, I think it safe to say, forever.

With Zander's performance, we know that we are in the presence of truly great music-making, and it is equally clear that his live audience recognizes this fact. One can start where one chooses in comparing Zander with Bernstein and Karajan.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A six-star performance, really February 13, 2002
By MartinP
Format:Audio CD
Mahler doesn't come any better than this. I have listened to this recording time and again in total awe. It is scrupulously meticulous in its attention to what the score says, and the results take your breath away. Take for instance the `schattenhaft' episode in the first movement, where little trills on muted strings are being bounced back and fourth at pppp level. These players, under Zander's guidance, actually realize those four p's, truly differentiating them from ppp. These barely audible wisps of sound make you experience with shock what Mahler meant by `shadowy', creating a spooky, oppressive hush that had me nailed to my seat. This reading is full of such insights. One other example are the final bars, where a clear sense of phrasing and articulation remains intact even though the music disintegrates before our ears. But the powerful and sarcastic moments are realized to full effect as well, and the performance never loses sight of the big picture. Its impact stays with you long after the music has stopped. The recording is warm, clear and spotless to match (none of the intrusive audience noises here that spoil the final moments of the performance by Bernstein and the Concertgebouw Orkest; I wouldn't be surprised if Zander's audience simply forgot to breathe).
This isn't only the finest Mahler Ninth ever to be put on record, I hardly hesitate to claim it is simply one of the greatest performances of all time of any piece of music. Meanwhile I can't wait to hear more Zander Mahlers!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful recording....A brilliant explanation October 14, 1999
Format:Audio CD
First of all, what a novel idea it is for Telarc to include the conductors own ideas and insights into Mahler's 9th symphony. It helped me understand and appreciate all the nuances of this performance. Plus, it's kinda cool to hear a British guy talk about music for about an hour.
This recording of Mahler's 9th ranks among my favorites. Why? First the sound. Telarc is celebrated for its beautiful sound, and this CD does not fail to achieve just that. Second, the performance is incredible. A definite must-hear for anyone wishing to explore Mahler in general or specifically his 9th symphony. You may need to never buy another version again.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mahler Ninth for all time. March 10, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Many years ago (in fact, in 1983, its year of initial publication), I was given as a gift a marvelous small book of essays by Lewis Thomas, surely one of the best chroniclers-if not the outright best-of the interrelationships of science, society and the human condition. The title of this masterpiece is "Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony"; it is available from, and I urge all readers of this review to not only acquire the album that is the subject of the review but Thomas' book as well. As you read on, the reasoning behind the double recommendation will become very clear.

Among all the great essays in this book, two speak directly to the effect this album has had on me, and, it may turn out, on Benjamin Zander as well.

There is an essay entitled The Attic of the Brain, which speaks directly to the need for people to carry around a large amount of information in their minds, lest they risk losing a critical piece of knowledge that they might require at a later date, much to their dismay. (The essay is, if you like, a cautionary tale about the risks of psychiatry, because of "total brain dumps" that might result from psychoanalysis.) What follows is a brief, but pivotal, quotation.

...But it is in our nature as human beings to clutter, and we hanker for places set aside, reserved for storage. We tend to accumulate and outgrow possessions at the same time, and it is an endlessly discomforting mental task to keep sorting out the ones to get rid of. We might, we think, remember them later and find a use for them, and if they are gone for good, off to the dump, this is a source of nervousness. I think it may be one of the reasons we drum our fingers so much these days...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "Wouldn't you simply die without Mahler?" (from "Terms of...
Zander's performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra are excellent and the discussion CD that accompanies the performance is an added bonus.
Published 7 months ago by Jon B. Oakleaf
4.0 out of 5 stars could have been great, but...
First of all I have to get a gripe off my chest about this album. The three CDs were issued in a slip case designed to contain only two of them. Read more
Published on April 1, 2011 by Ray Barnes
4.0 out of 5 stars A personalized interpretation of Mahler's death song
Ben Zander is the rarity among conductors. Hidden from international view until he was in his 50s, Zander has made a name for himself in big repertoire, in part by adding his own... Read more
Published on July 30, 2010 by Larry VanDeSande
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Value
Although most audiophiles think of Telarc as a full-price label, their Mahler recordings are being sold at budget prices -- at least if you measure by dollars per disk. Read more
Published on July 24, 2009 by Karl W. Nehring
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Musical Experience
This is one of the best Mahler Ninths in my collection of eight or so. Zander is an outstanding Mahler conductor. Read more
Published on July 15, 2009 by Jonathan Goldberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate symphony
Mahler's Ninth is arguably a Greatest Symphony Ever; Ultimate Symphony of Love, Life, and Death, and Everything.

I developed a kind of addiction to it. Read more
Published on September 9, 2008 by Alexandre Grigoriev
4.0 out of 5 stars It's extra
Very nice CD. This was obviously made with a passion for music. The sound quality is great and the performance flawless. Read more
Published on January 28, 2008 by M. H. W. Jordens
5.0 out of 5 stars the commentary disc is incredible
So -- let's talk about the "extra" disc containing Zander's commentary on Mahler's 9th. This disc, with its intricate care and crafting (imagine how long it took the authors to... Read more
Published on January 25, 2007 by a_guy_in_boston
5.0 out of 5 stars Gigantic achievement ...
Just one remark about the quality of the recording as such, just to get that issue out of the way first: it could be 'better'. Read more
Published on February 3, 2006 by Pater Ecstaticus
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much exegesis - where's the passion?
In concert in Boston Zander seems to bring more fire and life to his Mahler than in these Telarc recordings from London. One review will practically do for all of them so far. Read more
Published on October 17, 2005 by Santa Fe Listener
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