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  • Mahler: Symphony, No. 8 (Essential Classics)
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Mahler: Symphony, No. 8 (Essential Classics)

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Audio CD, November 17, 1992
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$4.73 $0.01

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Opernhaus- und Museumsorchester Frankfurt
  • Conductor: Michael Gielen
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (November 17, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • ASIN: B0000027YD
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,622 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr John Haueisen VINE VOICE on July 24, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Life is so unfair! Eight months after the premiere (in Munich) of his huge success, Symphony Eight, Gustav Mahler was dead. His happiness at finally receiving the audience approval he had so long been denied, was so short-lived.

Mahler considered his Eighth, the"greatest thing he had done so far."
Novelist Thomas Mann, who was in the Munich audience at the premiere in September, 1910, immediately proclaimed Mahler as the man who embodied the most sacred artistic will of the age.

This performance, in August, 1981, opened Frankfurt's newly-restored Alte Oper. Those familiar with Mahler's Eighth know of its frequent cognomen, "The Symphony of a Thousand." Truly, not only for the huge orchestra, EIGHT soloists!, choirs and an organ, it is a huge work. Even Mahler admitted that in it he heard no longer human voices, but the dancing of planets and suns--the music of the spheres.

If you are not familiar with Symphony 8, it consists of two parts:
Part One: an invocation, in Latin, asking the Creator Spirit to bless us all with understanding of life.
Part Two: The Final Scene of Goethe's Faust. It is one giant celebration of redemption and salvation for humanity. If this sounds like a lot to put in one musical work--well, this is Mahler--he can do it.

Conductor Michael Gielen takes M8 at tempi far more brisk than most recordings; this one clocking in at a total time of only 72'10. It fits on a single disc!

Soloists and choirs do a very good job--not quite outstanding--but with very little room for complaints. Special accolades go to Hildegard Heichele who shines as Soprano 3 una poenitentium (Gretchen). See if you can keep your heart from skipping as she sings "Er kommt zurück!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Larry VanDeSande VINE VOICE on February 11, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Michael Gielen, who owns a reputation in 20th century music and Mahler, has recorded the Mahler Symphony 8 a couple times. This, from 1981, was the first one. A latter entry on Hannsler Classics Symphony 8 / Jacob's Ladder runs to two disks and includes a significant add-on, something rare for recordings of Mahler's "Symphony of the Thousand."

Gielen's Mahler is usually characterized as analytical, sometimes intense, and having paid strict adherence to the written score. All those attributes are apparent in this recording, taped in a one-off performance in Frankfurt when they reopened the Old Opera in August 1981.

This recording has generally gotten good press in the years it's been available, with some reservation for the pushed solos and the overall rapid pace of the music. Classical Web Mahler specialist Tony Duggan singled it out in his Mahler overview as a preferred version for people on a budget. Considering it's a concert performance on one disk (TT: 72:10), it qualifies as a bargain best buy even when compared to the more famous single disk performance from Georg Solti Mahler: Symphony No. 8.

Duggan called this a "head over heart" performance; I'm not sure I share that opinion. Gielen and forces, while pumped for the opening night of the opera, did not attempt much that could be called visionary, loving or spiritual in the first half. This is straightforward, fast, maybe even impatient. The second half is more philosophically in keeping with Goethe's text from Faust and has many lovely moments, especially in the closing pages.
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12 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Bob on November 27, 2003
Format: Audio CD
If you haven't heard Mahler's Eighth, you have no excuse for passing this one up at this price. The orchestra and choir play well, but many of the vocal soloists are weak. Also, the conducting is a bit hurried at times for my taste.
If you really like Mahler's Eighth, I'd recommend that you go with the performances conducted by Sinopoli or Chailly. They both had better casts and better recording technologies at their disposal.
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