- Performer: Judith Raskin, Frederica Von Stade
- Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra
- Conductor: George Szell, Andrew Davis
- Composer: Gustav Mahler
- Audio CD (August 19, 1991)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Sony
- ASIN: B0000027AJ
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,285 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Mahler: Symphony No. 4 / Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Essential Classics)
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Audio, Cassette, August 20, 1991
This disc combines two remastered classic Mahler recordings--Szell's Cleveland account of the fourth symphony from 1965, and Davis's reading of the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen from 1978--and the pairing is inspired. The Cleveland Orchestra has always had a reputation for phenomenal accuracy and brilliance, and Szell harnesses these qualities to give an almost supernaturally clear account of Mahler's score. Details of lower-string phrasing, thrown-away woodwind chirrups, and muted trumpets supporting a melody are given just the right amount of emphasis to make the surface texture sparkle with life. But, more important, Szell also captures the overall mood of ironic playfulness, while heeding Mahler's own direction with regard to the childlike last movement--"without parody." There is a minor jolt between the symphony and the Lieder--not just in the recording levels, but in suddenly entering Davis's much more impressionistic approach to Mahler. But once adjustment has been made, the rewards are great. He focuses everything on Stade's glorious voice and less on the details of orchestration, which makes for a sympathetic, flexible accompaniment and a moving performance of great pathos. --Warwick Thompson
Top Customer Reviews
It is very hard for me to describe different elements of Szell's interpretation here, because it seems like there is none. What the listener ends up hearing IS Mahler's 4th Symphony. The legendary Cleveland Orchestra seems to blend together perfectly in a mix of precision and beauty. Judith Raskin again is the perfect voice for the finale conveying a very simple, yet overwhelming beauty bringing to a close the greatest recording of this piece, and maybe the closest to absolute perfection I've ever heard on disc. This is a no brainer.
1. Szell slows down too much at "Fliessend, aber ohne Hast" in I (the beginning of the brief A major passage, where the four flutes enter in unison, Rehearsal 10 in Dover).
2. The solo violinist is slightly out of tune several bars before Rehearsal 4 in III.
That's it. And these two "flaws" can be easily ignored. Simply put, this recording is a knock-out. You can't ask for better playing, the soloist is great, and the sound is clear yet full of warmth. Moreover, Szell's conducting is tough to beat. Indeed, I have yet to hear better interpretation live or on disc. I is a delight - Szell and the Clevelanders were tops when it came to Mozart and Haydn, and they put their expertise in the two Viennese classicists to good use here. II and IV brim with life and personality. III is astonishingly rich, serene, and relaxed (except for the passages which demand tension, to which the performers bring just the right amount). Anybody who thinks Szell was a cold conductor and that his Cleveland Orchestra was incapable of matching the great European orchestras in warmth should hear this.
Next to this performance, other great recordings are wanting. My second favorite, Previn, has some awkward moments and Elly Ameling is not at her best. Haitink is a little stiff compared to Szell, Horenstein rather stilted, Klemperer misconeives III and has a miscast soprano, Kletzki is a little dry, and Reiner's III cannot compete with Szell's.
The Songs of a Wayfarer are decently done, but I do prefer a baritone (especially Hermann Prey).
At this price, why would you even think of not buying this recording? GET IT! Even if you already own ten other Mahler Fourths.
As to the vocal solist Raskin does a commendable job and has some of the boyish quality really needed! She was tremdously good and one wonders where she is these days! This is a superb disc for the people out there who want a non fussy interpretation which really sticks close to the score.
Keep your Klemperer discs as well...Szell and Kemperer were much more alike than one would wish to think!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this CD two decades ago on recommendation from Penguin Guide to Compact Discs. Although I'm not a Mahler fan, the recording and performance live up to the glowing praise. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Meow Tomcat
The G Major symphony is Mahler's most accessible orchestral work, and what a beautiful symphony it is. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Southern Man
I bought this on Amazon. A very good recording for those among you who not have a stereo good enough to reproduce the bass on the TELARC version. Read morePublished 23 months ago by F. P. Dunbar
This is about as good as it gets. In addition to a sweet, affectionate interpretation, we get probably the most-precise treatment of the text ever heard. Read morePublished on April 4, 2013 by John J. Puccio
In his biography of George Szell, Michael Charry (Szell's former assistant) tells the story about how Szell kept a cherished copy of the score of the Mahler Fourth with him, and... Read morePublished on July 29, 2011 by Firebrand
For performing musicians the thing about Gustav Mahler's music is that it really keeps you busy: together with skads of people on stage you puff and saw away for all you're worth... Read morePublished on July 2, 2011 by Joseph Ryan
After hearing a live performance of Mahler's Fourth Symphony by the National Symphony Orchestra with Christopher Eschenbach conducting and Dawn Upshaw as the soprano soloist, I... Read morePublished on April 13, 2011 by Robin Friedman
This is a wonderful symphony, comparable to the greatest symphonies of Sibelius or Tchaikovsky. It can even live in the company of Beethoven 6 and Mozart 40. Read morePublished on February 5, 2011 by William Shardlow
I grew up in the Cleveland area and was weaned, as it were, by George Szell. Hearing his concerts in Severance Hall were among the seminal experiences of my life. Read morePublished on November 6, 2010 by Allan S. Kohrman