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Mahler: Symphony No.4 in G major (chamber arrangement: Erwin Stein); Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (chamber arrangement: Benno Sachs)

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 14, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

In 1918, Arnold Schoenberg founded a private concert organization called Society for Private Musical Performances (Verein fur Musikalische Privatauffuhrungen), with the intention of promoting interest in contemporary music through exclusive performances of all modern music from that of Mahler and Strauss to the newest, under the best possible conditions. Only subscribers were admitted, and critics were excluded.

This kind of secluded private concert organization fit well into the artistic scene of early 1900s Vienna, where artists and conoisseurs would frequently meet in private gatherings to discuss music, art, literature, Sigmund Freud's new ideas on psychology, or even to hold spiritual seances. Among the composers whose music was played were Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Mahler, Stravinsky, Scriabin, Debussy, Marx, Wellesz, Bartok, Ravel and Suk.

One of the goals of the Society was to connect contemporary abstract music with that of tonal music in the late Romantic style. For this purpose, a series of orchestral works were arranged for large chamber ensemble, drawing attention to the fundamental aspects of structure and expression, and creating a framework to experience the music in an intimate setting. These remarkable arrangements never entered the public concert repertoire, but recently there has been a renewed interest, from both a historical and performance perspective.

The context of the Verein fur Musikalische Privatauffuhrungen represents an important part of the historical background in which the works recorded on this CD were arranged and performed.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 4 in G (arr: E. Stein) I. Bedächtig. Nicht eilen
  2. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 4 in G (arr: E. Stein) II. In gemächlicher Bewegung. Ohne Hast
  3. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 4 in G (arr: E. Stein) III. Ruhevoll (Poco adagio)
  4. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 4 in G (arr: E. Stein) IV. Sehr behaglich
  5. Claude Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (arr: Benno Sachs)


Product Details

  • Conductor: Ken Selden
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (August 14, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: MSR Classics
  • ASIN: B005HB0CX2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,831 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Philip Mandel on December 3, 2011
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Wonderful performance of one of my favorite symphonies by my favorite composer. I was hesitant because the Chamber version of Mahler 4 is not, well, Mahler. It is someone's transcription of the actual symphonic work. Nonetheless, all the necessary details are there. The arrangement is wonderful and the performance is emotional and touching. Highly recommended. *** Later the same day...I just finished listening to the CD, in particular the Debussy. Tears in my eyes. Chills up and down my spine. Exquisitely beautiful. I have hear "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" dozens of times (piano, orchestra, chamber orchestra). I promise you, this was the most pure and meticulous, expressive and heartfelt performance I have ever heard. I could not get out of the car until the Prelude was finished, even though I was already at my destination. The CD is worth it for this piece alone (and this comment is coming from a Mahler addict!).
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By Paul on December 6, 2011
A first rate performance, very well recorded. Highly recommended. I have several CDs of these arrangements, but this is the only live recording I know of, and it has that spark of intensity you don't get in the studio. Both pieces are well paced and balanced. In the Mahler, the violin solo in the scherzo is pretty rough, as it should be. In particular, I would recommend this CD based on the singer Deanna Breiwick in the final movement, and the cello line throughout the slow movement.
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Often with Mahler, the music is too loud or too soft to listen to at home, but this arrangement takes the edge off, makes it more intimate. The performance is paced and balanced beautifully and recorded with clarity and warmth. The arrangement is of course very well crafted, according to the philosophies of Schoenberg's Society for Private Musical Performance. Even though it is not in original form, overall I would say this is one of the best Mahler Fourth recordings I've heard.
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This CD is more of a curiosity. It worth listening the last movement of the symphony for the sake of the soprano. She is great!
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