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Audite Catalog 2010 / Symphony No 1

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 25, 2010
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No. 1 in D major ('Titan'): 1. LangsamL Schleppend. Wie ein Naturlaut - Im Anfang sehr gemächlich
  2. Symphony No. 1 in D major ('Titan'): 2. Kräftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell
  3. Symphony No. 1 in D major ('Titan'): 3. Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen
  4. Symphony No. 1 in D major ('Titan'): 4. Stürmisch bewegt


Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 25, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B0031IQ2VO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #462,779 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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First, Mahler's Symphony No 1 is probably my favorite piece of classical music ever, and Kubelik is one of my favorite conductors. Second, I am not a musician nor a music expert, I just know what I like. And I like this a LOT. The interpretation here is different from any of the other 10 or so versions I have, even the Kubelik complete Mahler Symphonies. Tempos are different, slower at times, but also quicker in some places. There is no first movement repeat, and no "Blumine", but the 51-minute length never seems to drag, just to flow easily and smoothly forward. Instrumental emphasis is different at times, so that I heard things in places I had never heard them before. The Bavarian Radio orchestra performs nearly flawlessly. The dynamic range is amazing, from the nearly inaudible very first notes to the exuberant crescendos in the finale. There is also a tremendous frequency range; I heard tympani and low bass notes for the first time here and there, and all those highest piercing highs are still up there. This is a live recording from 1979, but the sound quality does not show any age. (I only remember one quiet cough, so you forget there is an audience sitting with you in front of the players; and there is no applause at the end, which is probably a bad thing.) The orchestral staging appears to be extremely wide, far more spacious than normal studio setting; sounds appear well beyond the outer edges of your speaker cabinets. So, if you're a Mahler fan, get this. Good prices on Amazon, but I think you'll feel you got your money's worth no matter what you pay. Also, this performance is available in its own package without the Audite catalog. (The little catalog is a bonus, but it unfortunately replaces any liner notes. I found a couple of things I want to pursue, but I haven't checked to see if they are on Amazon or not.)
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Rafael Kubelik often took a less psychotic approach to Mahler than many Mahlerites, myself included, would choose had we the ability to conduct these tremendous works. I have seen the word "sunny" used to describe his approach frequently, and, sometimes, it fits. However, it is clear that Mahler's music spoke to Kubelik, and that he understood what it was saying better than most of his fellow first-rate conductors. This is particularly evident in this series of live recordings made at "dress reheasal" concerts associated with recording sessions for his studio Mahler cycle, released on the Deutsche Gramophon label. Though Kubelik's Mahler was generally a little further from the edge than than most, it is never bland, conservative or restrained - at least, nothing that I have heard fits that description. There is an extra bit of intensity, and some elusive factor that I cannot quite figure out, in this live Mahler cycle, and this recording of the first is no exception. Being able to pick it up at budget price is particularly sweet. It is a good introduction to this series, which reaches additional high points, particularly in the third, the fifth and the ninth. 4.5 out of 5 stars. Buy it.
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