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My top five favorites out of my vast collection - which includes many 'pirates' - would be Boulez/Vienna Phil.; Alan Gilbert/N.Y. Phil.; Jansons/B.R.S.O. (not his Concertgebouw one); Adam Fischer/Dusseldorf; Honeck/Pittsburgh.

If someone put a gun to my head and said I could only keep two, it would be Honeck/Pittsburgh for an sacd/cd hybrid, and Adam Fischer for a 'red book' cd. If they allowed me to keep just one 'pirate', it would be A. Gilbert/N.Y. Phil.
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Hi folks. I've listened through the new Adam Fischer M8 twice and pretty much agree with the review that Europadisc posted on their own website. In fact, I think the cast of soloists is even better than the reviewer indicates here. My ONLY complaint is that there are no extra tracks in either Part I or Part II. In a way, that's good (I suppose) because it forces you to commit the time to listen all the way through each part. Anyway,   .    .    . 

"Mahler’s Eighth Symphony may have given the composer the greatest triumph of his career when he conducted its première on 12 September 1910, but it has given conductors ever since something of a headache. Partly that’s due to the huge performing forces required: eight solo singers, children’s choir, two vast choruses, plus a huge orchestra with organ soon led to it being dubbed the ‘Symphony of a Thousand’, and unlike any of Mahler’s other numbered symphonies, the voices are used more or less constantly throughout the two-part work. The subject matter is ambitious too: Part 1 sets the great Latin hymn to the Holy Spirit, ‘Veni, Creator Spiritus’, while Part 2 sets the formidably challenging closing scene from Part 2 of Goethe’s Faust. For many otherwise committed Mahlerians, the Eighth has proved a stumbling block, even a downright embarrassment, and the Mahler conductors who have avoided it altogether (on aesthetic as well as practical grounds) are numerous, while others (such as Abbado and Rattle) have added it only very late in their day to their cycles. Most recently Iván Fischer announced that it would not be part of his otherwise complete and hugely successful Mahler symphony cycle on Channel Classics.

Interestingly, then, the elder Fischer brother, Adam, who has been setting down his own cycle with the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra on the C-Avi label, proves to be one of the work’s most committed and persuasive advocates. In a fascinating booklet, he writes that, ‘I can understand why some conductors tend to avoid Mahler’s Eighth,’ but then seems to betray more than a hint of sibling rivalry, or at the very least teasing, when he states, ‘But that is cowardice.’ For Adam Fischer, the Eighth is full of risks, but they are risks fully worth taking: with Mahler, he seems to suggest, it is very much a case of all or nothing. Well, with his splendid Düsseldorf forces plus choirs from Bonn and Cologne and an impressive team of soloists, he more than proves his point.

In fact, this is one of the most eminently musical accounts of the work on disc. The clue is there right at the outset with the opening organ chord: laying a solid foundation, rather than shattering the earth (and the listener’s speakers) from the word go. Over it, the choir and soloists don’t engage in the usual shouting-match-on-steroids, but instead deliver the Latin text with extraordinary clarity and balanced textures, and the orchestra are similarly sensitive: it’s as if Fischer has absorbed all the manifold technical difficulties, and instead of putting them on display with constant interpretative point-making, transcends them in a performance that is allowed to unfold completely naturally – no mean feat in such demanding music. The soloists are not the usual list of starry names but a well-matched team with enough individual character to assume the different mystical (or mythical) identities of the Goethe text in Part 2. Neal Cooper, for instance, may not be the most ringing of tenors in this work, but he makes a thoroughly convincing Doctor Marianus, while bass Peter Rose may lack the true depth and weight of, say, Martti Talvela (for Solti on Decca), but he too is a hugely persuasive Pater Profundus, and baritone Hanno Müller Brachmann is an excellent Pater Ecstaticus. Of the women soloists, all impressive, the stand-out performance is from soprano Fatma Said as a radiantly tender Mater Gloriosa.

For once, the contrast between the throat-grabbing Part 1 and the much more expressively layered Part 2 seems not inconsistency or mismatch on Mahler’s part but a natural progression to a higher level of meaning and insight, the tone-painting of the second part’s opening scene done with tasteful sensitivity rather than attention-seeking special effects. Indeed, this is a performance as far removed from the turbo-charged approach that has become the norm in recent years as you can imagine. Details like the plucked mandolin and other instrumental solos are caught naturally rather than being spotlit, and Fischer’s tempi, dynamics and balance are all similarly well-judged so that it’s only after the performance has finished that the listeners realizes how right they all are. For a recording that really does transport the listener into the higher spheres of spirituality, while transcending the seemingly insurmountable problems posed by the work, this is as good an account as we’ve ever had on disc, brilliantly caught from a series of live performances that must have been memorable indeed. Other conductors should look to their laurels, and maybe at last the Eighth will get more of the non-sensationalist recognition that it richly deserves."
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I know of no specific information regarding differences between the old and new versions of Volume One except, of course, that the new version will surely benefit by an additional 30 to 40 years of research on the part of Professor de La Grange. It's worth noting that the new version covers fewer years than the old one (1860–1897 vs. 1860–1902) so as to dovetail properly with Volume Two.

I see by its dust jacket that I paid $17.50 for my copy of Volume One nearly 48 years ago! How time flies when you're having fun.

$17.50 with inflation comes to about what I paid for my copies on the used market about 7-8 years ago. I don't think I will upgrade. All of my copies are signed but, not to me.
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Huh. That's sort of an interesting list. Rattle and Abbado? Haitink '06 and not his classic '66 or his excellent recent one with the BRSO?

I think it'd be fun to pick a Mahler 3 top five. It's always changing for me anyway. Here's my "best of" these days... more of a contemporary selection:

Á. Fischer, Chailly, Bernstein '87, Haitink '17, Salonen

Honorary mentions: Stenz, I. Fischer
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Gustav Mahler and Related Discussions / BBC Radio 3 Building a Library: Mahler 3
« Last post by David Boxwell on November 10, 2019, 07:31:14 AM »
Broadcast 8 Nov 2019.  William Mival selects "best of" a very short list: I. Fischer; Boulez; Bernstein 61 & 87; Rattle; Haitink 06; and . . . Abbado 80.

Available to listen at www.bbc.co.uk
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I know of no specific information regarding differences between the old and new versions of Volume One except, of course, that the new version will surely benefit by an additional 30 to 40 years of research on the part of Professor de La Grange. It's worth noting that the new version covers fewer years than the old one (1860–1897 vs. 1860–1902) so as to dovetail properly with Volume Two.

I see by its dust jacket that I paid $17.50 for my copy of Volume One nearly 48 years ago! How time flies when you're having fun.
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Do any of the members here know what the additions to this volume 1 are versus the original, English version? I picked up all of mine off of the used market, and they were still quite expensive.

One thing I will say about this biography is that it really got me interested in opera. Now I watch/listen to that more than I listen to Mahler the past 3-4 years. The other thing that really struck me, maybe more than anything else, was Mahlers insane work ethic. This man was tireless. If I remember correctly, there was a season in Leipzig when Richter fell ill, that he conducted almost ever production for a year. It was something like 200 performances. It's almost mind-boggling to think about.
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It looks like the English-language version of Henry-Louis de La Grange's volume one, Gustav Mahler: The Arduous Road to Vienna (1860–1897), is going to be published in early 2020 by Brepols Publishers, Belgium, under their Speculum Musicae series. See:

https://www.luigiboccherini.org/2018/11/24/cinema-changes-incorporations-of-jazz-in-the-film-soundtrack-2/

No word yet on price, though volumes 2, 3, and 4 as published by Oxford were quite expensive on initial release.
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Presto sells the Haitink/BRSO M9 in FLAC format for $12, but I'm not seeing the Jansons M3.
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Naturally, opinions can vary. But I would have preferred having the Haitink M9 in the box set. For starters, the sound is clearly better. More to the point, the BRSO have now made it difficult to get the Haitink M9 separately (and near impossible to get the Jansons/BRSO M3 separately).
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