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Mahler - The Symphonies / Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti Box set

4.2 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, February 11, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

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György Solti has come in for his share of hard knocks as a Mahler interpreter, and no one will pretend that he has the same sort of intuitive empathy for this music that Leonard Bernstein has. But he does have the Chicago Symphony Orchestra--no mean advantage--and many of these performances have come up sounding rather well. London also has been smart to include his first (and better) performance of the Fifth, and he generally does quite well by Symphonies Nos. 2, 6, 7, 8, and 9 as well. There may be better performances of the other symphonies available, and every music lover will have personal preferences, but at a budget price this set offers pretty impressive value for the money. It deserves its success. --David Hurwitz
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Disc 4
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4
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5
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6
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Disc 10
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8
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9
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10
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Product Details

  • Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa, Georg Solti, Gustav Mahler, George Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, et al.
  • Audio CD (February 11, 1992)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 10
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041Z6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,357 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Unlike many of the people who have weighed in on this set, I absolutely love these recordings. Unlike most who review on this site, I have actually performed many of these works (my being a classical violist). I know these symphonies like the back of my hand. Solti's interpretation is masterful in every aspect, he in fact, is the only conductor who has ever made the Rondo-Finale of the symphony no. 5 make sense as a cohesive movement. The CSO plays absolutely brilliantly, as always, so there is nothing to criticize there. I just think that most who listen to these recordings have been caught up in the over-dramaticized versions recorded by Bernstein, not to say that his recordings don't also have merit. To any one looking for a complete Mahler set, I recommend this one above any other.
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Format: Audio CD
This set is not really worth buying, but if only someone would release a set combining Solti's *first* recording of every Mahler symphony, that would be a very competitive set. I've never held with the idea that Solti was too "brutal" for Mahler -- first of all, he's not much more brutal than Bernstein or anyone else, and second, Mahler *is* brutal. But you'll get a better picture of Solti as a Mahlerian if you buy his best Mahler performances individually and skip the dull digital remakes that infest this Chicago set. The best Mahler performances Solti recorded in Chicago are: the eighth, which is available separately on an excellent single-disc rematering; the sixth, a great performance, available (from England and elsewhere) on a single disc; and the fifth, which is available on a twofer (from England and Canada and France) coupled with Solti's first Mahler recording, a fine and beautifully recorded 4th with the Concertgebouw that beats the pants off the terrible Chicago remake with Te Kanawa. Also available from England and Canada is a twofer with Solti's fine London Symphony Orchestra performances of the first and second symphonies; not only are these better than the Chicago remakes, they have better sound too (Decca engineers never could get a really good sound out of Chicago halls, which is one of the reasons why the 8th was recorded in Vienna). Finally, Solti's excellent 9th with the London Symphony has never even been on CD; one hopes that will be rectified someday.
In short, don't go for the big box. If you want Solti in Mahler, get his best recordings individually, and skip the pointless remakes.
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Format: Audio CD
Mahler reviews are funny because you have a great many partisan points of view that are driven by reasons that go well beyond the listening of the music. I listened to the 4th symphony yesterday by Solti and the Chicago Symphony and I could not find anything but the most wonderful interpretation. Kiri Te Kanawa was sublime. The engineers were exceptional. The sound was clear, rich, perfect in every way! My small sorround sound 5.1 speakers never sounded better. Solti's approach was well thought out. The nuances were there. I would not want another performance. Challenge yourself and be honest. Forget the nonsense about Paradise and heaven or hell. Sometimes the libretos are part of the problem. This is really beautiful playing from an orchestra that was on top at the time. What a joy!!!!!!!! I listened to the 5th on Saturday. The engineers were in top form throughout. I am so happy I bought this set years ago. Its great to compare these recordings to all of the new interpreters. Solti and the Chicago are tough to beat!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The recent tenth anniversary of Solti's death has prompted me to renew my acquaintance with this conductor's work. Over a period of several months I have been listening to recordings from various phases of Solti's career of diverse repertoire from Bach to Bartok. As a result of this effort, I have come to a new estimation of an artist of whose work I had previously a fairly low regard. This estimation was, I believe, based more on the received opinions of record reviewers than my own perceptions. I had always believed Solti to be a "high-voltage" sensationalist who tended to brutalize the standard repertoire. That assessment, however, misses both the abiding accomplishments of Solti's career as well as the many ways in which his interpretive proclivities matured over the years.

The set under review here presents Solti's work with the CSO over a span of about fifteen years. Earlier versions of certain symphonies with other orchestras, and in some cases later versions with the same orchestra, have been passed over for the sake of presenting a maximally coherent interpretive profile. In some cases, the compilers' decisions concerning which versions to include were regrettable, though overall one can derive from this set an accurate estimation of Solti's approach to this composer, with its characteristic virtues and vices. What is most striking about these performances, perhaps, is the sheer virtuosity Solti evokes from the band with which he was associated for such a large portion of his career. They respond instinctively and with remarkable unanimity to his every gesture. This is playing that, in purely technical terms, approaches perfection.
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