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Best Mahler Symphony cycle?


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Showing 26-50 of 53 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 1:13:07 PM PST
D. M. Ohara says:
In the UK at least BluRay players are virtually given away [check the Richer Sounds website]; so for anyone to whom picture quality matters, the addition of a BluRay player should not break the bank!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 2:07:35 PM PST
HB says:
"Thanks for posting the news! That Concertgebouw set looks excellent."

R. Kopp,

I am really surprised that RCO Live decided to use so many different conductors. I think their sales would be better with just one conductor. Of course that conductor would have to agree to conduct the completed version of the Mahler 10th and that has been a problem. Bernstein, Kubelik, Haitnik and Abbado all refused to conduct it. I am not sure but I think Michael Tilson Thomas also refused. There may be others.

I know the work is far from perfect, especially the 2nd and 4th movements. However, IMO, there is enough beauty in the work to justify playing it, especially when you are recording the complete cycle. BTW, Eliaju Inbal conducts the 10th in the DVD set. I have his audio recording of it and it is excellent.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 5:29:33 AM PST
scarecrow says:
Michael Gielen is very good, no matter who or what he conducts, Klaus Tennstedt and Colin Davis,(Fantastic Eighth Symphony, my least favorite Mahler, verges on Kitsch, (Sorry!))But all are gr8tt Mahler guys. . .

Chailly actually had Wm.Mengelberg's marked up Mahler scores. . .

Posted on Dec 10, 2012 8:22:03 AM PST
Dichterliebe says:
Just a word to the wise: I bought the Chailly set for (if I remember correctly) about $22 brand new. Shop around.

Posted on Dec 10, 2012 5:41:24 PM PST
Long live Mahler's music .

Posted on Dec 13, 2012 10:57:25 AM PST
Flavius says:
My Mahler conductors are all over the place. At the moment I'm listening to the 1st, with Kubelik: a conductor that always somewhat annoys me at first. But as it is a rainly, overcast day at the beach (!), he's just right.

Posted on Dec 13, 2012 11:12:33 AM PST
l really love kubelik's 1-4.
but starting with 5 upwards, I just think he is too 'soft'

Posted on Dec 13, 2012 4:15:50 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2012 12:59:02 PM PST
Flavius says:
Old pal Jacky: I think you're right, re Kubelik. (Why does anyone move north instead of south. It's warmer here.)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 6:57:48 AM PST
scarecrow says:
Again please don't miss Lenny Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic, those were his last. . . . incredible drama,force, clarity, colour and most of all depth of spirit throughout. . .

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 10:02:20 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 14, 2012 10:02:38 AM PST]

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 12:57:40 PM PST
JRJoseph says:
It seems to me that Mahler symphonies rarely get bad reviews. I own just about all the boxes including the New York Phil. radio broadcasts and the two Bernstein sets. I own about 200 CDs and 20 DVDs including some Blue Rays and I just happen to feel there are no bad performances among them and so I say, everyone, of course, has an opinion but that's all it is, an opinion, not fact, which includes me, of course. So, have fun.

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 2:53:20 PM PST
Dmitri says:
Bertini, then Neumann

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 5:27:32 PM PST
Jesse -

I think that's the difference between truly great music and music that is merely very good. Great music ALWAYS sounds good, no matter who's playing it.

Bill

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 6:13:04 PM PST
HB says:
"I think that's the difference between truly great music and music that is merely very good. Great music ALWAYS sounds good, no matter who's playing it."

Bill,

Good point with one exception, IMO. No matter how great the music is, a superficial performance can ruin it. I remember about 20 years ago hearing a performance of the Planets by Holst. It was played by the Toronto Symphony under Andrew Davis. It had perfect playing but not an ounce of drama or feeling. It was a perfect reproduction of the score without any nuance or imagination. Studio recordings tend to produce these type of CDs.

Posted on Dec 15, 2012 1:05:16 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2012 1:33:28 AM PST
Skaynan says:
"Great music ALWAYS sounds good"

That's not exactly true. Just look how many really bad Beethoven symphony cycles are out there, or WTC abuses, or Dvorak mutilations. examples are abound.
However, there is another aspect to this. I don't know if you consider, for example, Tchaikovsky's 1st PC as "great music" or not (I do). But the work is composed in such a way that it is extremely difficult to get the piano and orchestra to play well together. They are almost "competing". Now, these are technical, musical aspects of the work itself, and the performers have to make a huge effort in order to overcome these problems in the score. So "this great work" doesn't get good performances most of the time. Quite the contrary: good recordings of it are few and far between.
And here we can touch upon another aspect: Mahler was one of the greatest composers for the orchestra who ever lived. He seemed to have a natural affinity to the orchestra as an "instrument" (Sibelius's orchestral writing strikes me as possessing the same quality, and so does Mozart's). Perhaps that's why both composer's symphonic music is getting really good performances regularly. Each part is tailor-made to the instrument or group of instruments that are supposed to play it, the orchestral "balance" is right from the get go, which is not at all easy to do or obvious, and shouldn't be taken for granted. It's not an easy feat at all.
That, perhaps, could be another reason why Mahler is so lucky on record.

Posted on Dec 15, 2012 6:47:53 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2012 6:49:20 AM PST
HB says:
"I don't know if you consider, for example, Tchaikovsky's 1st PC as "great music" or not (I do). But the work is composed in such a way that it is extremely difficult to get the piano and orchestra to play well together. They are almost "competing". Now, these are technical, musical aspects of the work itself, and the performers have to make a huge effort in order to overcome these problems in the score. So "this great work" doesn't get good performances most of the time."

Skaynan,

I agree that the Tchaikovsky 1st Piano Concerto is a tough piece for both soloist and orchestra. However, I have heard many fine recordings of the work. My favorite is by Earl Wild. He plays it fast like Horowitz but with more nuance, IMO. Although Barry Douglas takes the opposite approach with much slower tempos, his version is also exceptional. And if you want tremendous passion, there is the Gyorgy Cziffra recording.

Piano Concerto 1

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto, No. 1 & Concert Fantasy

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto 1 Op. 23 / Violin Cto in D Op. 35

Posted on Dec 15, 2012 7:02:09 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2012 7:02:27 AM PST
Skaynan says:
HB: we are getting a bit off-topic here, but consider this legendary recording Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 / Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23

Compare the two Concerti. See what I mean?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 7:34:12 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2012 7:48:16 AM PST
scarecrow says:
great music, great playing to me always means a situation where I cannot turn it off;I'm, you are magnetized, the drama is overwhelming, you've got on the thread of the ''dromos'' the time of speed, like on a plane or your car, movement;
Listen to Beethoven Fifth Concerto, with Lenny, Zimerman and Vienna Phil that's one, . . you can't turn off . . .

Richter playing Bach, Chopin or Beethoven, or Argerich playing Chopin preludes. . or Mazurkas. . .

Barry Douglas does a "Pictures", Mussorgsky, you cannot turn off.. . .

Boulez conducting Varese, or Webern, is always a situation you never turn offf!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 10:07:39 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2012 11:02:20 AM PST
Chris L says:
Hi KenOC ,

Cooke did invite at least one who seems to be his friend along to assist with either the 2nd or 3rd version
-{ I have forgotten the details }- and that is Simon Rattle ,
whom you likely know recorded either Cooke 1 or 2 years ago with the Bournemouth SO
and Cooke 2 or 3 a while later with the BPO , both released by EMI.

I heard the former twice , and liked only the final movement.
I bought the latter , and like most of it - in both the music and the performance - it is well worth hearing.
There is difference in the 5th m'ment , and I much prefered the later for the performance of m'ments 1 <--> 4.

Also worth hearing is Rudolph Barshai conducting his completion of the 10th ,
and that is in a 2CD set with his excellent performance of the 5th symph , on Brilliant Classics.

Ashkenazy has recorded the Barshai completion with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra , apparently just released.
And in reference to the Title of this thread ,
there is now the complete Ashkenazy/SSO cycle , however I have not heard any of it other than part of the 6th which is on YouTube !
Theirs of the 9th has received a very good review , particually for the 4th movement.
-

"R. Kopp says:
Maybe the first performing version was under-Cooked. Now maybe we have too many Cookes. We are probably over-Cooked at this point, or maybe just confused."

Hi R. Kopp ,
well , if you are not confused enough after all the above I recommend you hear at least 2 of the above and get well-Cooked !
I am confused till I find where I put the Rattle/BPO CD and check the booklet to see which revision it is.

Posted on Dec 15, 2012 10:34:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2012 10:43:10 AM PST
Cooke did invite at least one who seems to be his friend along to assist with either the 2nd or 3rd version >>>
colin matthews in fact.
you know the man who penned 'pluto' for holst's 'the planets' only for pluto to be demoted shortly after the astronomers heard it.
You can read his bio here.
http://www.fabermusic.com/Composers-Biography.aspx?ComposerId=454

Other than cooke, he also assisted Benjamin britten and Imogene Holst.

I really like his cello concerto.
Cello Concerto / Sonata / Landscape / Memorial

and to be fair as a stand alone piece 'pluto' is rather intriguing, it just seems so inappropriate and out of place as part of 'the planets'.

Posted on Dec 15, 2012 11:01:07 AM PST
Cavaradossi says:
I thought only Ormandy recorded Cooke 1, all others being Cooke 2. Now, several conductors, most notably Rattle, like to fiddle around with Cooke 2, making little revisions, but those would be Cooke 2/Rattle, not Cooke 3. I've never heard of a Cooke 3, but that doesn't mean he didn't do one. If you can, guys, please tell me which recordings feature this third Cooke; I'd like to get one. I'm a huge fan of the Symphony 10.

Posted on Dec 15, 2012 11:06:24 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2012 11:10:44 AM PST
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._10_(Mahler)

the wiki page says 'slight' changes. from two.
the rattle/berlin is Cooke 3(as is most of the modern recordings), but I honestly don't remember if rattle's first recording was Cooke 2 or 3. I gave that disc away when I got the berlin one.

It appears that cooke 3 was published after his death as 'corrections' by the matthews brothers and Goldschmidt and is the one that is currently recorded.

Posted on Dec 15, 2012 11:12:24 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2012 9:16:47 PM PST
Chris L says:
Hi Cavardossi and your old pal Jacky ,

Jacky's post jolted my memory a bit , and with a bit of searching around I have found that:
Cooke 1 is Cooke with some input from Berthold Goldschmidt.
Cooke 2 includes some additional by Rattle.
Cooke 3 includes some additional by both brothers Colin and David Matthews ,
and at least some of the Matthews' revisions were done after Cooke had died.
This is the Cooke 3 recorded by Rattle/BPO ...
and thus we now have a candidate for KenOC's suggestion of:
"he could have been a regular Bruckner."

And if anyone wants to expand on the above , Simon Rattle has recently recorded the nth revision of Bruckner's 9th !

EDIT: Jacky has found similar to what I did whilst I was taking longer at it.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 11:20:18 AM PST
HB says:
"I thought only Ormandy recorded Cooke 1, all others being Cooke 2."

Cavardossi,

Eliaju Inbal recorded Cooke I long after Cooke II was issued. I much prefer Cooke I because the string climax in the finale sounds more effective without the extra instruments that Cooke II adds. The Inbal recording is superior to Ormandy, IMO. However, the Frankfurt orchestra cannot compare to Philadelphia, especially in the aforementioned string climax in the finale.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 11:33:45 AM PST
HB says:
"HB: we are getting a bit off-topic here, but consider this legendary recording"

Skaynan,

We are way off topinc but that happens all the time. It is part of the charm of our discussions. I have Argerich in both the Tchaikovsky and Rach 3 concerti. Neither one is a favorite of mine but I much prefer her rendition of Rach 3. I can barely listen to her Tchaikovsky. IMO, it is completely overdone.

She has never been a favorite of mine. I remember about 40 years ago I only had two recordings of Chopin's Polonaise No. 6, Peter Frankl and Argerich. Frankl played the music straight with lots of passion. Argerich messed with the phrasing and even more with the dynamics. I prefer my music played straight.
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  25
Total posts:  53
Initial post:  Dec 8, 2012
Latest post:  Mar 4, 2013

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