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Mahler: Symphony No. 4 in G Major

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 16, 1999
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: New York Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (March 16, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 55 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000I9GF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,182 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is a thrilling realization of Mahler's 4th, a work usually treated as a more refined, lyrical exception to Mahler's typical work. This is a good example of Bernstein's different approach in his first cycle for Sony (nee Columbia). It's intense, exciting, and plays up the music's inherent contrasts, unlike, say, the much admired Szell recording which opts for a lyrically refined performance, which tends to smooth out the contrasts. The remastered sound has the NY Philharmonic sounding like the virtuosic ensemble they truly were. In short, this is a wonderful example of Bernstein's historically significant first Mahler cycle, where he enthusiastically presented the composer to the listening public.
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Format: Audio CD
Despite the different explanations regarding what Mahler is telling us, it is obvious that Bernstein presents the Fourth Symphony in very musically appealing terms. Though typically identified with a broad range of emotional expression, especially in his Mahler interpretations, he actually seems a mite less sensitive to or concerned with the sometimes lurking, uneasy aspects of this symphony, (in contrast to Tennstedt or Horenstein, for example). In the opening movement, the description, "dream-like", seems to fit Bernstein's portrayal. Simultaneously, he conveys an attractive lyricism. In the second ("death fiddler") movement, he expresses ample irony, while in the third, he radiates an almost aching beauty. A standout in the fourth movement is soprano Reri Grist, whose memorable performance sounds more child-like than most other sopranos I've heard. A good number of others have sounded "too adult", some ridiculously so....I expressed high regard for Bernstein's Mahler Second, and not so high regard for his Mahler Fifth. Here, he delivers a reading I find both engrossing and very satisfying. For a long time, this has been, and I suspect will continue to be, one of my favorite Mahler Fourths.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I just want to note that this 1960 remastered version is great. I agree with all the positive comments below, but also want to emphasize that the sound is unusual & wonderful here. The microphones must have been mainly above Bernstein's head to get the unusually broad, clear sonic perspetive. The remastered sound is also of exceptional quality, and the resulting clarity fits the conductor's measured, highly resolved take on the music perfectly. Recommended, and a great bargain.
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Mahler's 4th Symphony is arguably his most beloved. While a Symphony for full orchestra, it is a source of much intimate charm. This performance, recorded in 1960, sounds superb on CD. Bernstein draws out of NY Philharmonic a richly rewarding performance. Reri Grist, soprano, adds the perfect vocal to the final movement. This is a performance that is conceived with ideal tempos, dynamics and colors. I think Bernstein's overall reading of Mahler's works is exceptional, but this, in Mahler's most tuneful and optimistic Symphony, the performance seems perfectly in tune with the composers intentions. I will be playing this CD many many times. Enjoy!
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Format: Audio CD
For years the Gramophone, among other sources of critical approval, has recommended a cautious, enervated Mahler Fourth by Maazel and the vienna Phil., also on Sony. This first Bernstein reading from New York, recorded in 1960, has been passed over, and yet it is amazingly fresh and exciting. Unfortunately, the Fourth has become, as one reviewer said, a lyrical intermezzo positioned between greater works, yet in Bernstein's hands it shines as an extension of the magical world of the Third Symphony, dreamlike and enchanted, full of wonder and spiritual intenisty. I hadn't listend to it for some years, and a recent reacquaintance reminded me that Bernstien earned his credentials as a Maherian, not by extroverted emotion but by having constant insights into Mahler's musical idiom. A great reading, arguably the greatest on disc.
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Format: Audio CD
Around 1960, Leonard Bernstein began an ambitious recording project for Columbia that eventually included all nine of Mahler's completed symphonies, plus the adagio from his uncompleted tenth symphony. (Bernstein apparently never saw fit to record Deryck Cooke's performing edition of the tenth, despite the endorsement of the composer's widow, Alma Mahler.)
The very first Mahler symphony I ever heard was this recording of the fourth, made in Brooklyn's St. George Hotel on February 1, 1960. It turns out to be the shortest and lightest of the Mahler symphonies and Bernstein's recording captures all of its unique charms. The vocal finale, describing the joys of heaven, proved a real joy. Bernstein succeeded in making this a very memorable musical experience.
The fourth was composed between two mammoth symphonies and is a virtual "intermezzo" or change of pace between the third, which was Mahler's longest symphony and included solos and choral parts, and the dramatic fifth, a purely orchestral work that became such a triumph not only for Bernstein but Sir Georg Solti.
The fourth was actually was one of the earliest Mahler symphonies to achieve some recognition or popularity, due largely to a fine recording by Bruno Walter and the New York Philharmonic (presumably made in the early 1940's, also for Columbia). Walter was actually still alive and still conducting and making recordings for Columbia when Bernstein made this recording. It's a wonder that Walter didn't also record the fourth in stereo with the New York Philharmonic; instead, he recorded the first, second, and ninth symphonies in powerful stereo versions, either with the Philharmonic or the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, a "pickup" orchestra of skilled musicians.
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