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I like the big tam-tam smashes in "Babi Yar", but I'm not crazy about the entire work either. It's weird that I'm like this, because Shostakovich was my first musical hero when I was young. I knew ALL the Shosty symphonies before I ever heard one note of Mahler.
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Very well put, Erik.
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Yep, me too Barry. I want M7 to go something like this: 23:00, 16:30, 9:30, 12:30, 16:45. So far pretty much no one has done that. Closest I can think of are Dudamel, Boulez, de Waart, and Vänskä, though none of them are quite fast enough in the finale for my taste. Of those four, I think Dudamel has the best finale. In fact, I've really been getting into that recording lately. People seem to have forgotten about it.

And I think I generally agree with your theory on Mahler's tempo indications. He himself conducted pieces differently night to night; everything was always 'in the moment' with him, and it's certainly reflected in the music. I think his scores' attentiveness to phrasing, articulation, balances, and relative dynamics stems from wanting to make the conductor's lives easier as to how the music ought to sound, but how it felt was probably supposed to be different every night at the concert hall.
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It's funny, I'm the same way. Some say S14 is his Das Lied, but I just can't get into it. I appreciate it for what it is though. I'm the same way with the famous Babi Yar; I know it's good but it just doesn't appeal to me.
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Thanks for the update. I thought their release of S6/S7 was terrific. I already have several really good recordings of S15. I don't care much for S14, even though I know I should.
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Finally we get to hear more from Nelsons/Boston in Shostakovich. 1, 14, 15, and the chamber symphony all in one release coming out late June.

https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/8908331--shostakovich-symphonies-nos-1-14-15-chamber-symphony

This makes me think the final release—whenever that will be—could end up being 2, 3, 12, and 13 as a double CD.

2, 3, AND 12 altogether? That’s bold.
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You know my theory. Mahler was very exacting when it came to phrasing, articulations, balances, relative dynamics, etc., etc. Yet, it appears that he was deliberately vague with tempo indications, knowing full well that his music could sustain a myriad of approaches. In fact, it could be said that his 'tempo indications' are really more mood indicators. When it comes to M7, I still like the slower early on/faster later on approach - emphasizing the whole 'darkness to light' progression of the piece.
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Mehta's Mahler is hit or miss for me, so I'm not surprised. I haven't heard his work with this orchestra though.

To this day I'm confused about what tempi are actually 'correct' in Mahler 7. I'm specifically referring to the three inner movements.

For the first Nachtmusik, Boulez takes it around 13 minutes and Gielen approaches 17, yet they both work. Boulez seems to conduct at the proper marked andante tempo with quarter notes getting the beat, yet people complain that it's too fast. Bernstein and Gielen on the other hand seem to be conducting at andante if the eighth notes got the beat. So how do we know what's right?

Same with the scherzo. Mahler obviously directs "not too fast," but relative to what? Quarter notes getting the beat (in 3/4)? Not too fast conducted in 1?

And then the second Nachtmusik presents even more issues. It's supposed to be andante, but Boulez does 10 minutes and Bernstein almost does 15. And both work because with Boulez the quarter notes get the beat, and with Bernstein/Nott/Tilson Thomas, etc. the eighth notes get the "walking tempo" beat.

What is this music even supposed to sound like???
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Aside from the recent Vanska one on BIS, one I really like for the just the finale is the Neemi Jarvi on Chandos, performed in Det Haag (The Hague). The rest of it is way too fast, but the finale is spot on.

I'd have to hear this first. I wasn't at all impressed with Zubin Mehta's Mahler recordings done with this same orchestra from Munich. But having Petrenko could make a huge difference.
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This CD is an import (to Japan), so it should be available in USA too.

John
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