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Mahler: Symphony No. 9


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Audio CD, April 1, 2008
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Editorial Reviews


1. Symphony No. 9 in D major: 1. Andante comodo
2. Symphony No. 9 in D major: 3. Rondo-Burleske: Allegro assai. Sehr trotzig

Product Details

  • Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Kurt Sanderling
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (April 1, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: BBC Legends
  • ASIN: B00133KEX6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #502,417 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By L. Johan on April 5, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This performance of Mahler's ninth was recorded in studio in July 1982, in fine analogue sound. What we hear is Kurt Sanderling conducting the BBC Philharmonic, and, in my view, it must be seen as one of the very best performances that we have of this demanding work.

Sanderling is a first rate Mahler conductor, at least in so far we focus on late works. We have stunning performances under his baton of the tenth symphony (Berlin Classics, Cooke's edition: Mahler: Symphony No. 10 [Remastered] [Japan]), and of Das Lied von der Erde (on Berlin Classics, with Schreier and Finnilä: Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde). There is also two other recordings of his interpretation of the ninth, on Erato with Philharmonia Orchestra in 1991 (Mahler: Symphony No. 9) and on Berlin Classics with Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester in 1979 (Mahler: Symphony No. 9).

Among his three recordings of the ninth, the present one is the one to have. Unlike the two other recordings, although they are quite good too, the BBC recording has caught a performance of a lifetime. In terms of the structural grasp of the movements, it is clearly superior, with the Berlin 1979 recording to be the second best.

The conception of first movement is determined, with a flowing march-like tempo that suggest a clear line through the movement's conflicting parts.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 23, 2011
Format: Audio CD
From where I listen, the lead reviewer writes with stars in his eyes. Far from being the performance of a lifetime, Sanderling's 1982 studio broadcast for the BBC seems rather ordinary to me. There is no "march-like tempo" in the first movement (mostly because it isn't a march), and the provincial BBC Phil. hardly executes the score with the virituosity and panache of a great orchestra. Here and there the violins struggle; the solo horn i watery and wobbly at the outset. Kurt Sanderling continued to conduct into advanced old age, however, and since this is a relatively early account of the Mahler Ninth (the conductor turned seventy that year), I agree with the star-struck reviewer that this is his best rendition.

Sanderling was a variable conductor who mostly remained in the marshes of the mundane but was capable of rising to the occasion. His decision to stay in the "wrong" Germany after WW II consigned him to some poor orchestras, including his own Berlin Sym., so I imagine a good-to-average British ensemble was a refreshing step up. The real difficulty I find describing this Ninth is that nothing out of the ordinary happens. One notes a few things, like the leisurely, lingering pace of the first movement. He tends to make a hash out of Mahler's complex polyphony in the first movement and Landler. The Rondo-Burleske, although nice and biting on occasion, doesn't surpass half a dozen rivals, and in terms of execution lags considerably behind them. The Adagio finale is well paced, at a fairly fast timing of 23 min., and restrained in its expressiveness, if that's what you like - I prefer the opposite myself.

In all, I'm mystified why anyone would have an epiphany listening to a goodish Mahler Ninth from thirty years ago. BBC's stereo sound is also goodish.
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