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Beethoven: Piano Concerto, No. 1 & Mahler: Symphony No. 1
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As such, this is my third encounter with Luisi. The first two were the Bruckner 9th and Richard Strauss' "Alpine" symphony; both on Sony, and both of those are excellent. But then again, the Staatskapelle has had a long history with both Bruckner and Strauss. But I think this orchestra was also born to play the Mahler 1st. In fact, they've already made two very good commercial recordings of M1: one with Otmar Suitner in 1962 (sans expo repeat), and one with Hiroshi Wakasugi in 1986 (I own that one). However, both are now hard to find. I want to cover some specifics, so indulge me in some subjective blather first.
You see, Mahler 1 is basically two symphonies in one. First, there's the obvious stuff: the whooping horns and tricky timpani rhythms at the end of the first movement; the sherzo at full sail; the blustering brass and percussion at both ends of the finale. But then there's plenty of music that's a total opposite to all that: the woodwind fanfare figures near the start of the first movement (which get recapitulated in the finale); the "cozy to the point of sounding lazy" - yet totally playful - middle section of the scherzo; the beautiful "Lindenbaum" melody for soft strings and harps in the third movement; the gentle moments of refrain and reflection in the finale.Read more ›
Beyond that consideration, which can easily be remedied by raising the playback volume level, the recording is of the quality that one would expect from a 2008 concert. The imaging is crisp and detailed without the camera work being either invasive or hyperactive. The sound is available in DTS 5.1, DD 5.1 or stereo. The DTS version is excellent and full ranging.
Having dealt with the recording quality I can now deal with the performances. The Beethoven Piano Concerto 1 is given an incisive, and at times, humorous performance by the pianist Margarita Hohenrieder. Speeds are well up to tempo and the finale is particularly fleet and bright. The conductor, Luisi, is very attentive throughout and the correctly reduced orchestra interact well with the soloist. This is a performance in good classical style played on modern instruments. Highly recommended.
The Mahler 1 is equally well played, and this time by the full orchestra who are well up the demands of the composer and the conductor. This is a meticulously prepared performance which rises satisfyingly to the climaxes but yields much attractive detail and tenderness as required.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you love Mahler's first this is a must have. Excellent recording, no dynamic compression and a conductor who has an innate understanding of the music. Read morePublished on August 17, 2013 by George S Cornelius
One of the problems with producing a highly refined classical musical performance is the performance may lose spontanaiety. That is the problem with both performances here. Read morePublished on September 30, 2009 by HB
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