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Customer Review

83 of 100 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy the Best, Skip the Rest, July 16, 2002
This review is from: Mahler - The Symphonies / Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti (Audio CD)
This set is not really worth buying, but if only someone would release a set combining Solti's *first* recording of every Mahler symphony, that would be a very competitive set. I've never held with the idea that Solti was too "brutal" for Mahler -- first of all, he's not much more brutal than Bernstein or anyone else, and second, Mahler *is* brutal. But you'll get a better picture of Solti as a Mahlerian if you buy his best Mahler performances individually and skip the dull digital remakes that infest this Chicago set. The best Mahler performances Solti recorded in Chicago are: the eighth, which is available separately on an excellent single-disc rematering; the sixth, a great performance, available (from England and elsewhere) on a single disc; and the fifth, which is available on a twofer (from England and Canada and France) coupled with Solti's first Mahler recording, a fine and beautifully recorded 4th with the Concertgebouw that beats the pants off the terrible Chicago remake with Te Kanawa. Also available from England and Canada is a twofer with Solti's fine London Symphony Orchestra performances of the first and second symphonies; not only are these better than the Chicago remakes, they have better sound too (Decca engineers never could get a really good sound out of Chicago halls, which is one of the reasons why the 8th was recorded in Vienna). Finally, Solti's excellent 9th with the London Symphony has never even been on CD; one hopes that will be rectified someday.
In short, don't go for the big box. If you want Solti in Mahler, get his best recordings individually, and skip the pointless remakes.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 22, 2011 5:33:04 PM PDT
FORTZA14 says:
While not a musician, I agree. I heard Sir Georg Solti conducting the Chicago Symphony in London and playing Mahler's 1st. Magnificent.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 9:46:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 9:47:52 AM PDT
Just wondering how a man like Solti who won so many Grammys in his life time stinks so much on this cycle per the previous writer. I got the 2nd cycle by mistake years ago thinking that I was getting ADD of the first cycle. I prefer the soloists in the first cycle and welcomed Dame Kanawa in the 4th symphony of the 2nd cycle. I like the recordings of the first cycle and I did purchase the cycle on cd with the add. They sound just fine to me but I like clean recordings of old recordings of music. I like Solti as the conductor of Wagner's ring cycle. I like Solti as conductor of the Mahler symphonies from the late 60's and 70's. I will not be told otherwise.

Posted on Mar 25, 2013 7:06:14 PM PDT
D. Sicel says:
By the way, Symphonies No 2. No 5 and No 6 were not recorded in Chicago Orchestra Hall but rather in Medinah Temple in Chicago. Symphony No 7 was recorded in Krannert Center at University of Chicago. Only Symphonies No 1, No 3, No 4 and No 9 were recorded in Orchestra Hall. No 8 was recorded in, now very sadly burned down legendary recording venue, Sofiensaal in Vienna in September of 1971.

Posted on Jun 16, 2014 12:45:41 PM PDT
This review is full of hyperbole. The differences between earlier and later recordings is minor. The Chicago recordings were technologically state of the art, especially those recorded at the Medinah Temple (5th and 6th at least). Disregard this reviewer's hyperbole. Solti didn't win 32 Grammies for nothing.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2014 6:14:33 PM PDT
Krannert Center is at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, not the University of Chicago

Posted on Jan 11, 2015 4:50:27 AM PST
Solti's LSO recording of the 9th, which was the one I first owned as an LP, and lived with for years, was re-issued at some stage by Decca as a CD, coupled , I think wit the Wagner Siegried Idyll as a filler. It appeared around the same time as the CD versions of his LSO numbers 2 and 3, which were also my only recordings of those works in those days. I purchased the CD versions of them all for sentimental purposes. I thought them spectacularly recorded when I first owned the LP's. They were, of course, Decca/Culshaw 'SonicStage' recordings, seeking to show off the benefits of stereo in the wake of the celebrated Solti/Decca Vienna ring cycle. They were recorded in Kingsway Hall, but were so close-miked that the wonderful live ambience (which EMI exploited to such great advantage with Klemperer's Mahler 2) was all but obliterated. Every orchestral detail is there to be heard, but at the expense of atmosphere. I can't listen to them any more, but will be forever grateful that they existed!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 3, 2016 10:42:30 AM PST
Michael V. says:
Krannert Center is in Champaign/Urbana at the University of Illinois. It's about 140 miles south of Chicago.

Posted on May 28, 2016 10:46:29 PM PDT
DaveH_SF says:
The Grammy awards have often ignored some truly great recordings and rewarded some very mediocre ones. I'm not going to get into possible causes of this, and say this just to suggest that any reader of these reviews not be overly swayed by seeing the mention of Grammy awards. While I have tremendous respect and appreciation for Solti's discography, there are a good number of so-so recordings and performances among them.
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