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(Bruno Walter Conducts:) Mahler: Symphony No. 9 Import, Original recording reissued, Live

4.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, Original recording reissued, July 10, 2001
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 10, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import, Original recording reissued, Live
  • Label: Dutton Labs UK
  • ASIN: B00005B0HM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,345 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I hesitate to recommend this as the top choice for anyone looking for their first Mahler 9. If you have not heard the Ninth before, this recording by Mahler's personal friend might not be the one for you. Barbirolli's and Haitink's Ninth offer much better sound and some excellent playing. Karajan's Ninth with the BPO is a good place to start. Rattle's Ninth impresses me.
Those who already have a Mahler 9 and wish to supplement their valuable Mahler collection with historical recordings and alternative interpretations, have no hesitation whatsoever in purchasing this CD! One can get no more historical. This was Bruno Walter's last prewar performance with the VPO before he fled the Drittes Reich. Listen to the music and feel the tension of those last remaining days before the war.
One can argue about the quality of playing, no one can say the sound quality is high (though in view of the date - 1938, the engineers in charge of remastering have done themselves proud). But listen carefully and you'll realize beneath the noise the performance is white-hot in intensity. No other Mahler 9s I have heard, including those mentioned above, approaches that level of emotion.
Listening is believing. Admirers of Maestro Mahler's music deserve to have this CD in their collection.
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Format: Audio CD
Although there are a number of very fine performances of this symphony in good stereo sound, this historic interpretation, given in the shadow of the Nazi takeover of Austria that everyone present knew was just about to occur, has a headlong urgency and intensity that, in my opinion, no subsequent recording has fully matched. Walter phrases with a natural elasticity of rubato, especially in the opening andante commodo movement, that highlights the marked fluctuations of tension within the music and projects its expressive rhetoric into sharper relief. Moreover, the prewar Vienna Philharmonic further enhances these qualities with its distinctive way of leaning into phrases that, in my opinion, imparts to them added profile and force. There are, admittedly, imprecisions of ensemble here and there, but not to the degree that would compromise the power of the performance. My only significant reservation is that the last movement is taken a little bit too quickly to be a true adagio (for what it is worth, I have heard that Walter later complained that the recording team made him play it faster than he wanted to).
Finally, I would recommend getting this particular remastering because its sound is significantly more vivid than that of the earlier EMI edition.
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Format: Audio CD
There is no question about this performance: it is one of the treasures of recorded music, and ought to be in the collection of anyone who is drawn to Mahler's music. Its historical significance and performance qualities have been commented on at length, on this site and in reference works. What is special about this release is the superb Dutton remastering. As he has done so many times with archival recordings, Michael Dutton has smoothed out the harshness of other releases while preserving all the detail the sources can deliver. This release is a notch or two better than the EMI, and at this price it is to be grabbed and enjoyed, even marveled at, considering that it was produced in concert in 1938.
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Format: Audio CD
"On the 16th January 1938, in the old hall of the Musikverein, Bruno Walter conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in a valedictory performance of Mahler's 9th symphony. The occasion was special in many ways. Walter was the work's dedicatee, and had given its premiere a quarter of a century before; the orchestra was Walter's own, as it had once been Mahler's; notables, including Austrian Chancellor, Kurt von Schuschnigg, were present in the hall, and F.W. Gaisberg, the pioneering record producer, was on hand with his technical assistants to commit the event to disc. Listening to this extraordinary performance today, one becomes an eavesdropper on a vanished style of orchestral playing: the players, with their studied lilt, their poised rubato and their unanimous portamenti, are speaking a shared local dialect. This is how Mahler himself made them sound, one imagines, and theirs is an artistic tradition, soon to be despoiled, that for a memorable hour or so on that winter evening was still perfectly coherent and intact."

This excerpt is from an introduction by Malcolm Bowie to an edition of Freud's 'Outline of Psycholanaysis' and it prompted my purchase of this remarkable performance which is well represented in Professor Bowie's remarks.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bruno Walter was a fabulous conductor, who also happened to be a protege of Mahler and one of the best interpretors of his work. This recording is one of the greats, though one should be forewarned that there are some wobbly moments from the Vienna Philharmonic in this live performance, some questionable intonation and moments of less than perfect sound that are unavoidable in such an old recording.

Nevertheless, this is a disc that anyone with even a passing interest in Mahler, Walter or historical recordings ought to own.
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Format: Audio CD
Although there are a number of very fine performances of this symphony in good stereo sound, this historic interpretation, given in the shadow of the Nazi takeover of Austria that everyone present knew was just about to occur, has a headlong urgency and intensity that, in my opinion, no subsequent recording has fully matched. Walter phrases with a natural elasticity of rubato, especially in the opening andante commodo movement, that highlights the marked fluctuations of tension within the music and projects its expressive rhetoric into sharper relief. Moreover, the prewar Vienna Philharmonic highlights these qualities with its distinctive way of leaning into phrases that imparts to them added profile and force. There are, admittedly, imprecisions of ensemble here and there, but not to the degree that would compromise the power of the performance. My only significant reservation is that the last movement is taken a little bit too quickly to be a true adagio (for what it is worth, I have heard that Walter later complained that the recording team made him play it faster than he wanted to).
Finally, I would recommend getting this particular remastering because its sound is significantly more vivid than that of the earlier EMI edition.
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