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Mahler: Symphony No.1
Mahler: Symphony No.1
Price: $9.49

4.0 out of 5 stars OK, but you can do better . . ., March 6, 2015
This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No.1 (MP3 Music)
OK, middle-of-the-road Mahler. Better bets: Ozawa (with Boston on DG) or either of the Kubeliks (on DG or Audite).


Mahler: Symphony No. 1; Rückert-Lieder
Mahler: Symphony No. 1; Rückert-Lieder
Price: $8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An overlooked benchmark, March 6, 2015
Of the 1,000+ CDs in my classical music collection, this may be the most under-rated. I am not a musical scholar (just an attentive/longtime listener) but, for me, Ozawa captures all the rusticity and youthful energy of this arguably most approachable Mahler symphony. In my collection, I have the Mahler 1st, one of my favorites, conducted by Horenstein, Walter, Bernstein (DG), Solti (with the LSO on Decca), Kubelik (DG and Audite), Muti, Boulez and Joo. In my estimation, only Kubelik rivals Ozawa.


Symphonies 1 & 3
Symphonies 1 & 3
16 used & new from $10.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Sibelius . . ., February 14, 2014
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This review is from: Symphonies 1 & 3 (Audio CD)
The "essential" tag goes to Symphony #3. Easily the best, most idiomatic performance of this oft-overlooked symphony. And in surprisingly good sound, too. Not to be missed by even the half-hearted Sibelian. Symphony #1 is fine, too, though probably not top-tier (lagging, for example, the likes of Maazel on Decca, Barbirolli and von Karajan on EMI, among others).


Otto Klemperer- Brahms: Symphonies / Overtures / Deutsches Requiem
Otto Klemperer- Brahms: Symphonies / Overtures / Deutsches Requiem
Price: $16.69
50 used & new from $9.69

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dependable, classical Brahms . . ., February 14, 2014
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Those are probably the best words to describe Klemperer's Brahms: Dependable and, most assuredly, classical -- even poetic in places. Some listeners complain of his being lugubrious -- but I hear none of that here. In fact, I'd rate his Symphony #1 and the Alto Rhapsody as two of the best ever recorded. Conversely, I think his much-heralded German Requiem is overrated (I prefer Sawallisch on Orfeo). My favorites in the symphonies:
#1 -- Klemperer (this one), von Karajan (DG from the '60s), Bohm (with Berlin on DG)
#2 -- Walter (Sony), Jochum (EMI), Kertesz (Decca), von Karajan (DG from the '60s)
#3 -- Walter (Sony), Jochum (EMI), von Karajan (DG from the 60s), Abbado (DG)
#4 -- Kleiber (DG). I rarely listen to anyone else in the Fourth.
Favorites notwithstanding, this boxed set of Klemperer performances has to be one of the all-time best Brahms bargains. Definitely worth a place on your shelves.


Symphony No. 4 "Romantic"
Symphony No. 4 "Romantic"
35 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Call me an outlier . . ., February 14, 2014
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I love Jochum in, for example, Brahms and Haydn (and Mozart and Schubert, too), but, despite all the raves, his Bruckner just doesn't do it for me. Maybe I just don't like the "interventionist" part that so appeals to other listeners. Actually, I don't even dislike interventionism, just not the kind Jochum serves up in Bruckner. No accounting for tastes. It's all subjective. To each his/her own. And for me, interventionists or not, that means Bohm, Celibidache, Wand, von Karajan and Sawallisch -- all of whom I like in their different approaches to Bruckner. Beyond that, I find a sort of harsh sound to this particular recording; I presume that's been cleaned up in subsequent re-masterings.


Symphony 6 / Lark Ascending
Symphony 6 / Lark Ascending
38 used & new from $2.93

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VW never sounded better . . ., February 14, 2014
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Right from the start, you know this is going to be special -- especially, if like myself, you like your Vaughan Williams tough, even a bit raucous, but lyrical. Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra offer all that and more. The extras -- The Lark Ascending and Fantastia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis -- are also extraordinary in a 'veddy' English sort of way, which is exactly the way they should be. And speaking of sound . . . extraordinary, as well. A keeper, for sure. The symphony probably ekes out the equally fine one by Haitink (EMI) as my favorite recording of the 6th.


Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5 in D; Bax: Tintagel
Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5 in D; Bax: Tintagel
14 used & new from $7.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Still one of the best, if not THE best . . ., February 14, 2014
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Still sounds splendid after all these years. Glorious John, indeed, had a way with Vaughan Williams -- energetic, yet lyrical. Just a gloriously endearing performance, captured well here by the EMI engineers. I have three other versions (Handley, Previn and Boult), but this is the one I reach for most often.


Best of the Great Composers 23: Mahler Symphony No. 4
Best of the Great Composers 23: Mahler Symphony No. 4
Offered by CDWarehouseOnline
Price: $11.60
19 used & new from $0.08

5.0 out of 5 stars A truly golden oldie . . ., February 8, 2014
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Though this recording by Kletzki of what is considered by many to be Mahler's most accessible symphony was released more years ago than I care to remember, it remains at the top of the heap -- along with another golden oldie, George Szell with the incomparable Cleveland Orchestra. Both are classics of the gramophone, which have never been bettered.


Piano Quintets Op 5 & Op 81
Piano Quintets Op 5 & Op 81
13 used & new from $5.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Just wow!, February 8, 2014
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While reading a review of another, more recent Dvorak recording of the piano quintets, the author mentioned in passing that, if at all possible, readers should seek out this Richter recording because it was, to his mind, the best ever. I found it on amazon marketplace for a reasonable price, ordered it, and . . . well, that reviewer knew of what he spoke. What a magnificent performance -- and magnificently recorded, too, considering the source. Lively (as I prefer my Dvorak) and with a very Czech feel, despite all the performers being Russian. Also in my collection: recordings by Peter Serkin in the Alexander Schneider Chamber Series (Vanguard) and Rudof Firkusny with the Ridge String Quartet (RCA) -- both very fine performances, but they take a backseat to Richter and the Borodin.


Symphony 3
Symphony 3
17 used & new from $5.44

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mahler on prozac . . ., February 8, 2014
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This review is from: Symphony 3 (Audio CD)
These reviews, of course, are very individual takes on the same music -- and my take on this is that it's just too subdued and lean for Mahler. I prefer Mahler to be more lush and, dare I say, a bit neurotic. I was surprised by this because I usually very much like Svetlanov as a conductor (His Rachmaninov symphony cycle for Canyon Classics, for example, is full of excitement and, to my mind, the benchmark). I also found the recording of this Mahler 3rd to be more recessed than I prefer; too often I was fiddling with the balance and volume -- but that could just be my system, too. As I said, all these are very individual takes. I've probably, at one time or another, had more than a dozen Mahler 3rds in my collection and have whittled them down to three. For what it's worth, my preferences, in roughly descending order: Bernstein (Sony), Chailly (Decca) and Tennstedt (EMI). The celebrated Horenstein (Unicorn) is, to me, overrated.


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