Mahler: Symphony No. 2- Resurrection ~ Rattle, Auger, Baker
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Top Customer Reviews
Some folks will insist on the flamboyant, over-romanticized Bernstein/NYP or the technically stunning Solti, but neither has the insight into Mahler's music and soul that Rattle does, and neither performance tops this on technical merits either. This is a recording of Mahler, not of some conductor's ego. Bernstein's Mahler, for example, is a whining young Werther, drooping over every jot and tittle, while Solti's Mahler is full of bombast and pomp. The real Gustav Mahler was neither; he was a complex, tortured philosopher and an exacting, demanding artist and conductor.
Rattle refuses to fall victim to the common, offensive trap of re-creating Mahler in his own image, and, in this refreshingly honest and technically brilliant reading, shows us the real Mahler. Five stars does not do this work justice; neither does the Rosette awarded it in the Penguin Guide to Compact Discs.
Other versions of the Mahler "Resurrection" I admire are those by Bernstein (with the NY Philharmonic), Chailly (with the Concertgebouw), and the late Sinopoli, whose complete Mahler cycle with the Philharmonia remains a favorite.
But Rattle places his own stamp on the piece, for example in the gigantic unison descending scale that closes the first movement. No one has taken this passage at such a broad, deliberate tempo, and the effect has an earth-shaking finality.
The soloists are excellent, the chorus in the final section sounds radiant, and the City of Birmingham orchestra is at its best throughout the symphony. This project was recorded not long after Rattle began his partnership with these outstanding musicians, and the match was clearly a good one.
Until Rattle records the piece again, hopefully with the Berlin Philharmonic, this CD remains highly competitive.
In the Second Symphony, after the "hero" is laid to rest (First Movement), there is a reminiscence of the joys of the fleshy and corporeal world (Second and Third Movements), followed by the Last Judgment and the Resurrection (Fourth and Fifth Movements). The symphony is bookended by two enourmous movements: the First (on this disc almost 24 minutes long) and the Fifth (here divided up into seven small and distinct sections that run more than a half hour; some recordings also break down the other movements into smaller sections which can make for a huge track list: e.g., Berstein's well known recording has 25 tracks!). These movements contain the meat of this symphony and represent death and rebirth respectively. Likewise, each of these important movements contain their own dramatic conclusions. Both have rather salient openings as well. The First snakes ominously forward and the Fifth begins with an earth-shattering bang (much like the final movement of his First Symphony) that builds up to the finale. In the manner of other Mahler symphonies, the Second was constructed from pieces previously composed and fit together with new material to make an organic whole.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm a bit uncomfortable, looking at a variety of reviews of a number of Mahler Seconds (Abbado, Mehta, Klemperer, for example), at how some reviewers can be super-dismissive of a... Read morePublished on January 27, 2013 by Stanley Crowe
What a soggy disappointment. I've given this one several spins, but I dislike almost everything about it except for Janet Baker (of course). Read morePublished on December 28, 2010 by Emerson
A swift survey of the many reviews of this version of Mahler's mighty "Resurrection" symphony reveals a bewildering range of responses, utterly unhelpful to anyone looking for... Read morePublished on May 20, 2009 by Ralph Moore
I don't know what Maplewood, NJ is talking about. I will make the claim here that this is the best Mahler 2 recording I have ever heard (and I've heard all the ones mentioned in... Read morePublished on July 25, 2006 by Varese
Geez! I thought Christian Thielemann was the most obnoxious "podium legend" before the public these days, but Rattle has him beat. Read morePublished on April 12, 2006 by Michael A. Abelson
Up till now I heard (and own) the unforgetable Solti performance of this symphony as well as the Klemperer (Philharmonia) and the Abbado (Wiener coupled with the 4th Symphony)... Read morePublished on December 31, 2005 by Jeffrey Danowitz
Britain has needed a great conductor for a long time, and in simon Rattle they got one. This caused the critics to wildly extol everything he recorded in Birmingham, and you will... Read morePublished on September 17, 2005 by Santa Fe Listener
This is an outstanding disc, even by the consistently high standards set by the rest of Simon Rattle's (now complete) Mahler series. Read morePublished on August 17, 2005 by Klingsor Tristan
This performance is, as many critics long have noted, a great Mahlerite testimony from Simon Rattle. It is so good and convincing that he probably never will be able to repeat it. Read morePublished on October 18, 2003 by L. Johan