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  • Mahler: Symphony No. 4
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Mahler: Symphony No. 4 Import

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Audio CD, Import, January 3, 2000
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Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No.4 In G - 1. Bedächtig. Nicht Eilen - Recht GemächlichThe Cleveland Orchestra15:18Album Only
listen  2. Symphony No.4 In G - 2. In Gemächlicher Bewegung. Ohne HastThe Cleveland Orchestra 9:31Album Only
listen  3. Symphony No.4 In G - 3. Ruhevoll (Poco Adagio)The Cleveland Orchestra19:59Album Only
listen  4. Symphony No.4 In G - 4. Sehr Behaglich: ''Wir Genießen Die Himmlischen Freuden''Juliane Banse 8:43Album Only

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Gustav Mahler - Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra


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Pierre Boulez was born in 1925 in Montbrison, France. He first studied mathematics, then music at the Paris Conservatory, where his teachers included Olivier Messiaen and René Leibowitz. In 1954, ... Read more in Amazon's Pierre Boulez Store

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (January 3, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Dg Imports
  • ASIN: B00004R9F4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,044 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Normally, Mahler's Fourth Symphony is the one that you turn on for great background listening. It's beautiful, lyrical, and Mahler at his most mellow. But underneath its innocent exterior, there's a lot going on, and who better than technician Pierre Boulez to point out the mechanics? Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra deliver an impressive performance of this heavenly work that, on the surface, stays clear of romanticism (or, to some ears, rampant emotion). Instead, Boulez focuses on clarity throughout each and every passage. From his quick-tempoed opening movement to the heart-warming "We Enjoy Heaven's Delights" song of the fourth (performed here by soprano Juliane Banse)--Boulez slowly transitions from clinical to dramatic. It's a captivating, modernist interpretation that's thoroughly enthralling. This shouldn't be your reference Fourth (save that for Bernstein and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra), but it is an innovative, great-sounding recording and a welcome addition to Boulez's Mahler cycle. --Jason Verlinde

Customer Reviews

What I like very much with Mr. Pierre Boulez is his unscrupulesness with Mahler's music, his symphonies especially.
Pater Ecstaticus
Here he opts for a clinical approach that dissects the rich textures in Mahler's music for much of the score, gently molding phrases.
John Kwok
The Mahler Symphony No. 4 CD is of high quality, good sound production and performed very well by the Cleveland Orchestra.
Bob Pricer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thomas B Dawkins on March 16, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I am a true fan of Boulez's new Mahler recordings, especially his incomparable first symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. This is no exception. The last movement lacks some of the clarity of the rest, and the soprano sings clearly, but without the "innocence" asked for by Mahler. (Bernstein's recording goes as far as to use a boy soprano). The first movement orchestral work is superb, including all of the treacherous horn solos, tempo changes and textures. The second movement, with it's "devil's fiddle" solo (first violin tuned up a whole step) is exquisitely eerie. On the opposite side, the third movement is serene as possible and a perfect set-up to the poem of the fourth: Das Himmlisches Leben (the Heavenly Life), which is the last of Mahler's settings from Das Knaben Wunderhorn. All in all, this recording is not quite what Boulez's Mahler 1 is, but it still displays a beautiful, new version of a great symphony.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Many interpret the sudden blaring and overwhelmingly passionate E major burst in the third movement of this symphony as a representation of entering heaven. This musical explosion is rather salient and very hard to miss in that it follows some fifteen minutes of the most amazing slow-paced music in the Mahler catalog. The inimitable Pierre Boulez and his friends at the Cleveland Orchestra pull this off astonishingly well. The true complexity of this adagio unrolls before our unsuspecting aural canals like so much acoustic sweetmeat. Here lies the symphony's climax. As clear as day. As clear as the gates of Heaven opening up. For this reason, the fourth sometimes gets dubbed Mahler's "Heavenly" symphony. Well, at the risk of sounding absolutely trite, it is heavenly, but for more reasons than thematic ones. Mahler, and Boulez as interpreter, do not disappoint for the entirely of the disc.

Boulez takes the first movement somewhat faster than the norm (but not as fast as Benjamin Britten apparently took it). This tempo brings out some fun in the music. One can even dance to the melodic rhythms. This movement contains incredibly catchy but sophisticated themes. The now famous "sleigh-bell" opening represents just one of these. And pay attention to that one, because it comes up again later (as it turns out, in Heaven).

Next comes the movement, a scherzo, unofficially entitled by Mahler as "Death Strikes Up" ("Freund Hein spielt auf"). The unforgettable standout melody on an alternately tuned violin supposedly represents "Death's Fiddle" strumming in the ears of a mortal. Listeners at the 1901 premiere had probably never heard anything like this (so of course many audiences at the time hated this piece which differed greatly from Mahler's "grander" second and third symphonies).
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Another great release in Pierre Boulez's Mahler cycle! Overall, the recording is one tops DG. The performance is sure-handed and detailed, Boulez's trademarks. I found the first movement a little fast (though Mahler's marking is "Nicht eilen," "not slow"), and the playing in this movement is a touch ragged. The 2nd and 3rd movements, however, are precisely handled. The 4th is fine, though I found the soprano a bit screechy in her upper end. Nonetheless, a memorable recording. Great composer, great conductor, great orchestra, great recording!! It made me very happy!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By scarecrow VINE VOICE on April 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Cleveland Orchestra has had an enduring association with Boulez.Frequent recordings of Debussy and Stravinky has proven this.It was George Szell who had brought and endorsed Boulez in the Sixties. Today that ensemble and Boulez are two powerhouses. Yet the Mahler strives for the pure beauty,reflection and quality of the sound, very transparent and clean. It's amazing how we have endured and pondered Mahler with wrong notes and expressive excess prior. Well we initially learned Mahler from Bernstein and Solti, who both go for the juggler,bringing down the roof.In contrast Boulez has great discipline, with a fantastic ear for details,the balance of chords, the timbre, the blend or non-blend of strings and winds. I don't see the expressive as restrained here. Many forget that Mahler's creative affinity was for Mozartian classical clarity. Boulez certainly exploits and captures that aspect of Mahler, Also the Mahler First with Chicago Symphony has similar expressive concerns and dimensions
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Austin VINE VOICE on February 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Mahler's shortest and most accessible symphony had to wait more than 40 years for its first commercial recording. Nowadays there are dozens from which to choose. A friend in Texas kindly alerted me to this one, part of an ongoing Mahler traversal conducted by Pierre Boulez.

The symphony's relative brevity is highlighted in this crisp, bracing performance which reaches its gently rocking conclusion three to five minutes ahead of other versions in my collection. Access is ensured by Boulez' care with orchestral textures and balance and by the glorious Cleveland acoustic. I'm not sure, however, that Boulez provides access to everything. Concurrently with composing this symphony, Mahler wrote, "Suddenly a stormy wind blows across the meadow and shakes the leaves and flowers which whimper and moan on their stems as if begging for salvation". I have always felt this awareness of a terror that can shake the apparent beauty when listening to Mahler, but I don't hear it here. True, Boulez takes care to observe the heavy portamento that Mahler asks of the violins at, for example, 4' 48" in the first movement, but elsewhere anything that might cloy or carry an emotional burden seems to have been expunged.

So this lovely recording does not make we feel I have had my withers wrung. It is a Mahler performance that refreshes. I especially like the contribution of Juliane Banse in the last movement. She meets Mahler's demand for "a singing voice with a gay, childlike sound, but entirely free from parody".
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