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Mahler: Symphony No. 1 In D Major, "Titan"
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Top Customer Reviews
When you listen to the Judd recording, it sounds warm and natural, and there is a nice sense of sonic perspective. But when you actually sit down and compare it to the Levi, the Judd begins to sound dark, distant, and diffuse. In the opening movement, for example, the lower strings in the Levi provide a solid foundation for the structure of the music, while in the Judd, the lower strings seem a bit muffled and homogenized in sound. As the movement goes on, you become aware that not only does the engineering of the Telarc proved a richer sound than the HM, but that the Atlanta forces, particularly the strings, simply have the Florida forces outgunned.
In the "Blumine" movement, Judd's interpretation seems more dreamlike, while Levi seems to bring more ardor to his interpretation. I should point out here that the HM disk places this movement last, the idea being that because Mahler removed it from the work, they have provided it as a supplement that you can program in if you would like, the "default" program being to hear the four-movement final product. The Telarc disk takes the opposite tack, placing "Blumine" second among the movements, thus making the "default" option to hear the work as a five-movement composition. There are advantages to both approaches.Read more ›
As for the nostalgic 'Blumine' movement, it was correct of Mahler to jettison it from the published score, but its haunting trumpet tune can be effective if played for mystery and longing. Levi's reading, however, is flat-footed and lacking in atmosphere. So unless you are a die-hard Atlanta fan -- I doubt anyone is a die-hard Blumine fan -- this Mahler First can be safely passed up.
The performance is also very strong, and as a bonus Mahler's original second movement (which he later deleted) is included. I don't think that the restored movement really belongs in the symphony, and it's not one of Mahler's best slow movements anyway, but it's there for the curious. (and if you don't like it, you can program your CD player to skip over it.)
In comparison to the DG version conducted by Bernstein (the only serious digital competition), I perfer Bernstein's version to this one. However Levi does a better job on the inner movements than Bernstein, particularily the 3RD movement ("Frere Jacques") where Levi captures that bittersweet mood much better than Bernstein. However, I prefer the outer movements of the Bernstein recording - the first movement evokes nature more clearly (IMO) in the Bernstein version, though this is splitting hairs, and the final movement is just a heck of a lot more exciting and satisfying with Bernstein at the helm (as another reviewer also mentioned.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While the "Titan" symphony might be one of Mahler's more accessible aural pleasures, it is not the easiest to conduct. Read morePublished on March 17, 2002 by D. Seymour
This Mahler 1st by Yoel Levi and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is the fifth Mahler symphony by these forces, in what gave indications of being a complete traversal of the Mahler... Read morePublished on November 15, 2000 by Bob Zeidler
This is one of the best Mahler recordings done by the A.S.O. It is vibrant and performed brilliantly. I like the inclusion of the second movement. Read morePublished on September 24, 2000