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Mahler: Symphony No. 6 in A minor "Tragic" [Hybrid SACD - DSD]

Gustav Mahler , Michael Tilson Thomas , San Francisco Symphony Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Price: $27.83 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Mahler: Symphony No. 6 in A minor "Tragic" + Symphony No 5 + Mahler: Symphony No. 7
Price for all three: $69.03

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: San Francisco Symphony
  • Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (November 9, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: SFS Media
  • ASIN: B000063XWU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,864 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Symphony No. 6 in A minor ('Tragic'): 1st Movement: Allegro energico, ma non troppo. Heftig, aber markig
2. Symphony No. 6 in A minor ('Tragic'): 2nd Movement: Scherzo: Wuchtig
3. Symphony No. 6 in A minor ('Tragic'): 3rd Movement: Andante moderato
Disc: 2
1. Symphony No. 6 in A minor ('Tragic'): 4th Movement: Finale: Allegro moderato-Allegro energico

Editorial Reviews


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Gutsy conductors like Bernstein and Tennstedt can turn the Mahler sixth into a harrowing journey. Tilson Thomas doesn't attempt to; therefore, he can't fail at what he didn't attempt in the first place. He can come off as a lightweight who skates over the surface of a score without plunging into its emotional depths. But to turn that accusation on its head, he is a refined musician with a sense of detail and delicacy rather than power and drama. The ideal Mahler conductor needs to possess both halves. A shortage of visceral impact has made me shy away from MTT's Mahler cycle, but this Sixth is a high point, along with the Fifth, Eight, and Das Lied von der Erde.

The first movement asks for an immediate shift of expectations, since MTT doesn't contrast the lyrical Alma theme with the trenchant march that begins the symphony. It's more that the Alma theme sets the mood, keeping us away from impending chaos or titanic struggle. The very skillful San Francisco Symphony, as recorded here, is fairly lightweight, too, the sound coming down from the top rather than building up from the bottom. The advantage is transparency, which is clearly what MTT wants, as opposed to weight and visceral impact. Every event is shaped adeptly, and on its own terms this performance is engrossing. Just don't expect catharsis of the sort that feels wrenching under Tennstedt in his live London Phil. recording.

The Scherzo states its mood so forcefully that the only issue is how brutal and biting to make it. I was happy to find that MTT digs in; he comes close to being gutsy, which isn't often true of him. Tennstedt releases pandemonium, which is unforgettable but exhausting. Turning the terror down a few notches, this reading is still memorable and very well recorded.
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20 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not there yet May 31, 2007
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 good playing only accounts for so much, and in Mahler, the competition is fierce. Thomas delivers here a good Mahler 6th that lacks any real distinction, marred by an incoherent finale. Surprising, really, in light of the fact that this recording won the 2003 Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance but I think the fact that these performances were recorded days after the September 11th attacks has more to do with the win than anything else. Still, Thomas' cycle has received seemingly endless praise for performances that on the whole are decent at best.

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 rubatto and mannered stylization started off as an interesting, if unnecessary, detail in this 6th and the subsequent 1st symphony. It became a bit more problematic in the 3rd. And finally, it became irritatingly obnoxious in the 7th and 5th symphonies.
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8 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great sound November 1, 2005
By Cheble
Format:Audio CD
The performance is very good, the audio even better. The one thing that may confuse you at first is the orchestra set up. I finally looked up a picture of the orchestra- the basses are on the left as you face the orchestra. There are a few other changes from a traditional American set up also. It was a little disconcerting at first but once I knew that it wasn't a technical mistake in the recording I was able to visualize the musicians as the music overtook me.
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