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Mahler: Symphony No. 9 Hybrid SACD - DSD


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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, April 12, 2005
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Mahler: Symphony No. 9 + Mahler: Symphony No. 7 + Mahler: Symphony No. 6 in A minor "Tragic"
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

At about 89 minutes, Michael Tilson Thomas' Mahler Ninth is one of the slowest on disc (along with Bernstein's DG recording with the Vienna Philharmonic and Chailly's Philips account with the Concergebouw). Most performances are in the neighborhood of 80 minutes, usually yielding a tighter perspective. But this last and perhaps greatest of Mahler's symphonies can take a wide variety of interpretations--and MTT's is certainly worthy of consideration, even as a supplement to Chailly's greater dynamism, Bernstein's New York Philharmonic emotionalism (on Sony), or the detailed, cogent versions by Gielen, Ancerl, and Kubelik. Drawn from a series of 2004 live performances, MTT's cool, dry-eyed approach has many finely wrought aspects, not least of which are the exquisite chamber music-like close of the horn-soaked opening movement, the warm strings in the Adagio, and the structural clarity of the outer movements. The playing throughout is on the highest level, but some may find tension sometimes slackening, percussion tame, and middle movements short on the grotesqueries and irony typical of Mahler's mordant humor. This Ninth adheres to the high standards (performance and sonics) of MTT's San Francisco Mahler cycle. -- Dan Davis

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 9 in D Major: I. Andante comodoMichael Tilson Thomas30:31$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Symphony No. 9 in D Major: II. Im Tempo eines gemächlichen LändlersMichael Tilson Thomas17:04$0.89  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 9 in D Major: III. Rondo burleskeMichael Tilson Thomas13:58$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Symphony No. 9 in D Major: IV. AdagioMichael Tilson Thomas27:49$0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Orchestra: San Francisco Symphony
  • Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (April 12, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: SFS Media
  • ASIN: B0007YMUFC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,577 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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The San Francisco Symphony, one of America's most forward-looking arts organizations, presents over 220 concerts each year, creates leading edge media initiatives such as Keeping Score on PBS television and its own Grammy-winning record label SFS Media, and serves its community with one of the most extensive education and community programs of any orchestra in the country. Led by its ... Read more in Amazon's San Francisco Symphony Store

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
5 star
44%
4 star
22%
3 star
33%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 9 customer reviews
I can't judge if MTT feels the depth of this score, but I certainly don't when he plays it.
Santa Fe Listener
On the whole, it is still a wonderful 9th, but ultimately one that will not go down as one of the great recordings of this symphony.
Prescott Cunningham Moore
A good friend and a welcome acquaintance, good company with the other repeat welcome visitors mentioned at the start.
drdanfee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Prescott Cunningham Moore on April 12, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Michael Tilson Thomas is a phenomenal music director. He inherited the San Francisco Symphony in 1995 and has, since then, turned the band, which was already quite accomplished under Herbert Blomstedt's tutelage, into a world class ensemble in the truest since. Despite its few (but glaring) weakness - bad flutes and violins that tend towards thinness - the San Francisco Symphony boasts consistently fine playing and musically intelligent contributions from the soloists - droll clarinets, boisterous bassoons, a horn section second to none, beautiful lower strings, and rich, big toned lower brass. Listening to this ensemble - an ensemble in the truest sense of the word - is always a joy. But orchestral perfection will only get you so far, and in this gorgeously played 9th, Thomas prevents this performance from becoming something really special. On the whole, it is still a wonderful 9th, but ultimately one that will not go down as one of the great recordings of this symphony.

Objectively looking at Michael Tilson Thomas's ongoing Mahler cycle has been increasingly difficult for me mainly because, the more familiar I become with Thomas's conducting style, the more egregious the apparent faults become. Thomas's penchant for rubato and mannered stylization started off as an interesting, if unnecessary, detail in the 6th and 1st symphonies. It became a bit more problematic in the 3rd. And finally, it became irritatingly obnoxious in the 7th and 5th symphonies. Thomas's insistence on smothering his interpretations with a thick coat of decorative frosting and fussy, mannered detail leaves a fluffy, decadent, at times even saccharine aftertaste which belies the often overwhelmingly high-level of musical nourishment these recordings offer.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By THREEWIRE on October 9, 2009
Format: Audio CD
At the outset, I should note that I am reviewing the 24-bit, 96 kHz PCM master from downloaded from iTraxx. While PCM and not DSD, I would assume my version is similar in sound to the DSD SACD version. My system consists of iTunes, with an Apogee DAC, Outlaw amplification, and Paradigm Monitor 7s, with a Paradigm 10" sub.

Sound:

This is very much a multi-miked, super-sized recording. Spotlight miking appears to have been used throughout the orchestra, most notably with the woodwinds and the basses. As such, many details hidden in other recordings are easily heard here, although at least some of that may be attributable to Thomas' interpretation or the work, which does at times highlight lines not usually emphasized in other interpretations. There is excellent bass extension, although the mid-bass feels a bit muddy. This is especially apparent with the tympani, which occasionally are obscured entirely. Also poorly caught are the cellos -- an essentially component to Mahler's sound pallet. Midway through the Second Movement, a critical solo cello performance feels buried behind the woodwinds, creating a confusing orchestral image. One would have thought that this cello line would have been emphasized in the mix. All this said, the overall balance of the orchestra is satisfyingly forward and brightly lit, without being grainy or harsh (notwithstanding a few odd notes here or there that unduly pop out of the mix). The soundstage is invitingly wide, but given the rather forward balance of the orchestra as a whole, soundstage depth feels somewhat compressed at times; especially during louder passages.

Performance:

There is no denying that the San Francisco Orchestra has risen to world-class levels. The playing throughout is excellent.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 12, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Michael Tilson Thomas continues his excellent survey of the Mahler Symphonies with this beautiful reading of the valedictory Ninth. There are so many passages of magnificent orchestral playing and attention to previously ignored details that it is sad to say that ultimately this Mahler 9 is not the profoundly moving work on recording that it has been in Tilson Thomas' concerts.

The outer movements - Andante comodo and the closing Adagio are carefully sculpted and paced and are equal to most other recordings of this very tough and long work. Tilson Thomas knows what he wants from his orchestra and they play with uncommon sensitivity to some of the softest passages ever recorded without losing the line of thought or melody. The opening movement is richly reflective on a life Mahler knew was drawing to a close and Tilson Thomas makes the most of these reflective passages, finding not only the angst but the smiles of memory of past works. The closing Adagio is heart-wrenchingly slow and yet makes total sense in the way the final moments are drawn out into space with little heard of the last suggestions of notes in the ether of space. This final movement is wondrous and probing and exquisitely powerful.

The inner movements find Tilson Thomas returning to some of his more idiosyncratic traits of overemphasizing ralentandos and diminuendos and both movements are taken are tempi that rush and then fall away in a manner that draws more attention to the performance than the Mahler intentions. These are indeed personal reactions and for many they may not be problematic.
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Mahler: Symphony No. 9
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