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Mahler: Symphony No. 4 / Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Essential Classics)

4.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 19, 1991
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Editorial Reviews

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

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No. 4 In G Major: 1. Bedächtig. Nicht eilen.
  2. Symphony No. 4 In G Major: 2. In gemächlicher Bewungen. Ohne Hast.
  3. Symphony No. 4 In G Major: 3. Ruhevoll.
  4. Symphony No. 4 In G Major: 4. Sehr behaglich.
  5. Songs Of A Wayfarer (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen): Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht
  6. Songs Of A Wayfarer (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen): Ging heut morgen übers Feld
  7. Songs Of A Wayfarer (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen): Ich hab ein glühend Messer
  8. Songs Of A Wayfarer (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen): Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz

Product Details

  • 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)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
How many times have you listened to a recording and left saying "that was perfect". For me, this might be the only record where I was given the feeling that no one will ever be able to match this recording of this piece of music. My introduction to Mahler's 4th was a newer Telarc CD with Yoel Levi and the Atlanta Symphony. The soloist in this Telarc release interestingly is Frederica von Strade who is also the Mezzo-Soprano soloist on the Songs of a Wayfarer recording used as a filler on this CD. The Telarc recording has excellent sound, using the latest technology and benefits from a very good production. The sound is better then any you will find on say.. Deutche Grammophone. It was very surprising to me that this 1965 recording actually has better sound. There is a myth that somehow if a recording says DDD on it, it will sound better then a recording that says ADD on it. The reality is that some digital recordings sound better then analogue and some analogue recordings sound better then newer digital recordings. It all seems to be in the production, and here the production is perfect.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
Here are the flaws:
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.
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By A Customer on February 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Even if you are only slighly intersted in Mahler or you areready to enter his universe from more earthly liftoffs such asSymphony No. 4 here or No. 1 ("Titan") or you call yourself the Total Mahlerian and can name every one of Alma's lovers, then you really owe yourself the pleasure of listening to one of the finest No. 4's ever recorded, and probably the BEST EVER AND OF ALL-TIME had it been recorded digitally. Szell and the Clevelanders run with this from the opening bar, and if you want to go along for the ride, they'll be very happy to take you there. No Bruno Walter schmaltz, no Otto Klemperer detachment, no Leonard Bernstein acrobatics (and I love all three of those guys BTW), just pure Mahler. Get the Clevelanders' recording of Symphony No. 6 "Tragic", too. It has some cuts, nothing too major. The tapes, also nice with a minimum of tape hiss. These will be mentioned in articles about recorded Mahler symphonies long after everyone living at the moment you are reading this is gone. Why should you be deprived of this any longer? END
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Format: Audio CD
Once again we have Szell and Cleveland at the height of their powers digging into what for them would be a rare performance of the Mahler repetoire. The opening movement as a fine sense of "gemutlekeit" and a balance of textures which is definitely PERFECT. Rarely has any orchestra been so ably caught sonically and we are in for a real treat. As a counter measure the Kubelik is very similar in the way the music is allowed to flow as well. I really reccommend this disc simply becuase of the impeccable phrasing and well nigh perfect intonation in the different choirs.
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!
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