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Symphony No 9

Gustav Mahler , Wiener Philharmoniker , Bruno Walter Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 4 Songs, 2007 $9.49  
Audio CD, 2005 --  

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Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 9 in D (2004 - Remaster): I. Andante comodoWiener Philharmoniker/Bruno Walter24:46Album Only
listen  2. Symphony No. 9 in D (2004 - Remaster): II. Im Tempo eines gemächlichen LändlersWiener Philharmoniker/Bruno Walter15:30Album Only
listen  3. Symphony No. 9 in D (2004 - Remaster): III. Rondo-BurleskeWiener Philharmoniker/Bruno Walter11:15Album Only
listen  4. Symphony No. 9 in D (2004 - Remaster): IV. AdagioWiener Philharmoniker/Bruno Walter18:10Album Only

Product Details

  • Performer: Gustav Mahler, Wiener Philharmoniker, Bruno Walter
  • Audio CD (January 25, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00076ONU0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,659 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Death-obsessed and superstitious, Mahler tried to outwit Fate by composing an unnumbered "song symphony" after the Eighth, but when he wrote the Ninth in 1907, he had been crushed by several devastating blows and knew he was fatally ill. It remained his last completed symphony, and was not premiered during his lifetime. The symphony is a heart-breaking mixture of holding on and letting go, of joy and beauty remembered and distorted by the anguish of loss, of doomed hope, protest, defiance, and resignation. Its extreme changes of mood and emotion are indicated by Mahler's instructions, such as: "with inmost feeling," "very tender and expressive," "like a heavy funeral march," "with fury," "with utmost force," "without expression." The third movement, called "Burleske," is marked "very stubborn"; the second, a three-part dance called "A comfortable Ländler," is subtitled "somewhat clumsy and very uncouth." Changes of tempo and dynamics are often sudden and violent; climaxes build up, collapse, rise again, scale the heights. The orchestral colors are exploited to their maximum. The last movement is a leave-taking reminiscent of the "Farewell" from the "Song of the Earth," and, like it, dies away into nothingness.

Recorded live in Vienna in January 1938, the playing is deeply committed if not entirely perfect, and if all the lines of Mahler's complex, multi-thematic counterpoint are not always clear, one must remember that if he had heard or conducted the work, he might, as always, have made emendations. The performance is historically significant: two months later, Hitler invaded Austria and Walter, Mahler's foremost champion, as well as concertmaster Arnold Rosé, who plays the violin solos, and many other orchestra members, had to flee for their lives. --Edith Eisler

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars breathtaking October 6, 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is an astounding performance of Mahler's 9th. The emotional depth of this rendition is beyond that of any of the other versions I have heard. Bruno Walter clearly had an unparalleled understanding of Mahler's music.

It is of course also eerie to listen to such a wonderful musical performance that has such historic significance. And I was pleasantly surprised at the fidelity of a recording made when audio technology was in a very primitive state of evolution.

I was amazingly lucky to snap up a copy of this that showed up for only about $10.

I have not heard Walter's other recording made at a much later date so I can't render an opinion on the contrasts between the two.

This one, however, becomes perhaps the most prized item in my CD collection.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
One can dispute that it is always great recordings of the century that EMI has reissued in its "Great Recordings of the Century" or "Great Artists of the Century" collections, but Bruno Walter's conducting of Mahler's 9th Symphony, recorded live in Vienna on January 13, 1938, certainly is. First, because it is the premiere recording of the symphony, Mahler's penultimate (that's counting the unfinished 10th), first sketched during the summer of 1908 as the composer was working on Das Lied von der Erde, then completed in draft form in the summer of 1909. Second, because Walter has unique legitimacy in this work. He was then Mahler's favorite disciple and there were long exchanges of correspondence between them in that period, although Henry-Louis de la Grange, in his mammoth Mahler biography, doesn't record that Walter discussed the score with the composer as he did with Das Lied. Finally, Walter premiered the piece on June 26, 1912, shortly after Mahler's death, and already with the Vienna Philharmonic. I hesitate to call Walter the closest recipient of Mahler's intentions as can be and his most truthful interpreter, not only because this recording dates from more than a quarter century after the premiere and almost thirty years after the work's completion and any possible conversation Walter might have had with Mahler about it, but also because Mahler himself considered that the composer's intentions were never definitive and were only those expressed on the day of performance. So there can be no certainty that Walter's interpretation in 1938 can give an idea of the way Mahler would have conducted it, had he not died. Read more ›
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Profound as well as Historical performance May 26, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Bruno Walter's later (late 1950's, or early 1960's, I think) recording of Mahler's Ninth Symphony is well known. It is a profound understanding of late Mahler. I have lived with it, first in vinyl LP, and have often returned to it, since I was aa teenager. Its musical "edges" are rounded, so to speak. Its musical view is from Olympus.

The January 1938 recording with the Vienna Philharmonic is not only of "historic" value, because of the ominous circumstances in which it was performed and recorded. The performance itself is also a revelation -- or at least is to me. The recorded sound is remarkable for its time. It also does not matter (to my ears), because the performance pierces the listener despite its age. It is a far more angular, urgent, even fierce reading of Mahler than Walter's later studio recording. It is emotionally raw. I purchased the CD with the 1938 performance in May 2010, and it is one to which I know I will often return -- together with interpretations by Klemperer and Horenstein. If I had to choose between the two Wwalter recordings I would refuse to choose! Both are essential to an understanding of the inner world of Mahler and the world he evoked.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable sound; chilling experience May 1, 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
In the autumn of 1910, knowing he would not live to conduct the premier, Gustav Mahler entrusted the score of his Ninth Symphony to Bruno Walter. Some 28 years later, Walter also conducted the first recording of the work, and it remains one of the most remarkable documents of the 20th Century. With an incandescent Vienna Philharmonic under Walter’s direction, the recording was made at a concert in the Musikvereinssaal on January 16, 1938, some 56 days prior to the Anschluss. Walter, then 61, and his colleagues, some of whom had played under Mahler, give an overwhelming reading, inspired not only by the memory of the composer but by the grim situation in Austria and in Europe at that moment.

The producer was EMI’s Fred Gaisberg, who set up the recording knowing well the symphony was so rarely performed at that time. Since five rehearsals had been scheduled, there was ample time for EMI’s engineers to set up what was a live recording. Two machines were used, running in harness: while one was recording, the other was being reloaded with wax. Eight weeks later, Austria was annexed by Hitler. A number of the Vienna Philharmonic’s principals fled the country, as did Walter.

Gaisberg caught up with Walter in Paris to obtain his approval of the set’s twenty 78 rpm sides. He recalled: “So delighted was he with the results that his usually sober face brightened up considerably."

Listening to the account is like stepping back in time, and it can be a chilling experience. The sound is amazingly clean and ambient for a recording from this time. Five stars.
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