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Mahler: Symphony No. 3 / Symphony No. 6

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 17, 1995
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  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Disc 3
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Product Details

  • Performer: Jessye Norman
  • Orchestra: Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Ozawa
  • Composer: Mahler
  • Audio CD (January 17, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B000004154
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #585,424 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Phillip C. Webb on May 31, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As others have stated, the 3rd is not so bad. I thought the playing excellent and that Ozawa had control of what was happening in the orchestra. Norman, well, could you ask for better? I think not. I really don't understand the trepidation here regarding this cycle. The BSO, could you ask for a better orchestra to perform these works? I really am sad to learn that there were apparently "hostilities" between Ozawa and the BSO. I recall here in St. Louis the local radio station announcing the fact that Ozawa had signed up with the BSO and it was thought to be a good union. I would believe that since every one is a professional, everyone did his/her job in the recordings of these symphonies. Mahler is not someone you gloss over. His music is intense and has to be played well. I don't see anything less than this going on here. SInce I have several cycles of these symphonies, I can say for a fact that no one conductor can possible get it right 11 times per set. With that stated, I enjoyed both symphonies and actually came to the 6th timidly based on the previous "critiques". Don't know why Philips handled the release of the cycle the way it did and frankly, I don't really care. I do care that I was able to lcoate all the symphonies and can add them to my collection of cycles.

Is the problem here that he(Ozawa) is non-european and could not be able to understand Mahler? I see no reason why his interpretations of these works any less valid than Chailly or Mehta. He was trained by Karajan. That should mean something.

Go and listen to this cycle. I am sure you can find excellent readings done by Ozawa and the BSO.
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Format: Audio CD
In their original review back in 1995, the Gramophone complained about the pairing of Mahler's Sym. #3 and #6, but one can see Philips's reasoning. Ozawa's Mahler cycle was getting bad reviews, and with the acclaimed Jessye Norman to entice buyers, they might be willing to pay for the Sixth added as a single disc. The two readings date form live performances in 1992-93. The fact that Philips took eight years to roll out Ozawa's cycle indicates flagging enthusiasm. The cause isn't hard to find. Despite the virtues of great playing by the BSO and excellent sonics taped in Symphony Hall, Ozawa's Mahler tended to be mild-mannered, inconsistent, less than fully committed, and sometimes aimless.

Previous reviewers find these flaws displayed at their worst in the Sixth Sym., and I tend to agree. The first movement marches ahead in literal fashion with not much turbulence, much less tragic import. The Scherzo -- taken second -- contains some of Mahler's most withering writing, but Ozawa renders it toothless. He glosses over the moving Andante with a quick tempo and little feeling for the underlying emotions. The finale reverts to a sober literalism that renders the music too comfortable -- although it must be said that Haitink's recent account with the Chicago Sym. was even more plodding and got raves almost across the board.

The same reviewers here at Amazon who condemn the sixth want to snatch the Third out of the fire. I cannot disagree when it comes to Norman's singing; her sumptuous dark tone is ideal for the fourth movement, based on Nietzsche's mournful verse on the fate of mankind. She has only herself (in Abbado's first Mahler Third with the Vienna Phil. on DG) and Christa Ludwig to compete with for eloquence and rapturous singing.
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By A Customer on October 28, 1998
Format: Audio CD
This combines the greatest Mahler 3rd I've ever heard with a very bad 6th. Why they weren't released separately I'll never figure out. But it's worth buying for the 3rd. The first and last movements are simply unsurpassed and of course the BSO plays brilliantly. The only quirk is the very fast tempo of the posthorn movement, which is a bit hard to get used to but ultimately quite convincing.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ozawa's Mahler interpretations are always thoughtful, with generally broad tempi, personal, and natural. I listened again to both of these live concert recordings and found them both to be events I wish I had been there to witness. Both have been engineered at a slightly distant perspective. Jesse Norman's beautiful sauve legato mezzo-soprano voice is once again on display for our listening pleasure in the 3rd. I'd crawl a mile to hear her again too. So I'm left wondering what these other folks were listening to. I would not rate any of the recordings as best in show, but definitely deserve better marks than what the earlier curmudgeons have given. I really like Karajan's DG 6th, Levi's on Telarc, and Berstein's on SONY. The best 3rd, hands down, is Bernstein's electrifying studio 1960 rendition on Sony. It is one of my desert island selections. Two great historical recordings are Adler's 1952 Vienna and Mitropoulos's last concert on Arkadia. Wow! Can life get any better than listening to these great artists?
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Format: Audio CD
The third, which I consider among the greatest works of all time, is done well. Sculpted and refined in almost every way. Jesse Norman is a powerful bell that rings resplendently through the powerful styling of the orchestra. A must have for lovers of Mahler's 3rd. However, the 6th lacks any depth at all! It is reading, and nothing more. There are a few great moments, but on the whole it lacks the character that I expect from Mahler's most personal symphony. Plus in the Andante Moderato, one of the greatest movements in the history of western music, there is a MAJOR mistake by the horn (5:04) that should have been rerecorded or corrected before production. I can't believe that Ozawa heard this and said "that's fine". It's not fine... It ruins the whole flow of the movement. After it happened I couldn't think of anything but that! Ozawa is known for memorizing his gestures and reproducing them exactly for each performance... This does not always work, as seen here! Buy it for the 3rd... Hate it for the 6th. For a great 6th seek out Michael Gielen, Leonard Bernstien or Antoni Wit (Naxos). This recording is great for it's 3rd symphony... It's too bad they didn't make them two separate CDs.
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