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I could never declare a favorite symphony, but it’s certainly fun to call out a few examples, in this case temporarily setting aside works by Mahler:

Prokofiev 2: Tough going for me at first with an industrial-sounding first movement, but I’ve come to like it a lot. The second movement theme and variations is highly imaginative and beautifully contrasted.

Prokofiev 3: Figured prominently in my high school years as it seemed to speak directly to my adolescent alienation. Try the weird scherzo with heavily divided strings playing eerie glissandi.

Prokofiev 5: Despite its popularity, I think it’s hard to bring off, but for me faster tempos in the first movement tend to work better.

Prokofiev 6: Again, this one really spoke to me in my early years of discovering classical music, and I love it just as much today. I think it’s a neglected masterpiece of 20th Century music (along with the second piano concerto).

Shostakovich 8: When you’re young and drawn to fast and loud, this symphony’s long stretches of slow and quiet can be daunting. But what an eloquent and powerful work, once you grasp its architecture. And it would be hard to find a more ferocious and and cathartic climax than at the end of the second scherzo and beginning of the passacaglia.

Rachmaninov 2: A beautiful, and beautifully constructed, symphony that for me works best uncut and with the first movement exposition repeat observed.

Borodin 2: To my ears, this work is just perfect. Powerful first movement, spritely scherzo, gorgeous slow movement and a celebratory finale. You could call it a textbook example of a classically proportioned symphony, but that would risk ignoring its expressive strength.

Haydn 88: Perhaps my fondness for this one owes to it being the first Haydn symphony of my acquaintance, but its wit and charm shine as brightly as ever.

And finally, Beethoven 8. Since its humor eludes many conductors, it tends to be the weak point in Beethoven symphony sets, but in a performance such as Szell/Cleveland, it’s irresistible.

Offered with profuse apologies to many, many other deserving works.

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Gustav Mahler and Related Discussions / Re: Dohnányi M9
« Last post by sbugala on July 15, 2019, 10:18:52 AM »
When the recording first came out, I acquired it right away and disliked it. It seemed like it was a sound issue: too clinical, not enough impact. I traded it in. I gave it a chance a few years later. Similar feelings.

Then...last year, I happened to pick it up again...and I liked it. I didn't find it lacking in any way. The sound was fine in my car audio system. It's good. It might have been a poor match with the home audio system that I had; but it's just fine to me now.
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Gustav Mahler and Related Discussions / Re: Dohnányi M9
« Last post by shawn on July 15, 2019, 07:15:58 AM »
You're right about the Webern!

I also really like Dohnanyi's Cleveland recording of Lutoslawski's Concerto for Orchestra  :D Great visceral impact. Indeed, I have come to enjoy Luto's CFO more than Bartók's.
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Gustav Mahler and Related Discussions / Re: Dohnányi M9
« Last post by Thomass on July 15, 2019, 04:19:06 AM »
I’ve listened to the Dohnanyi M9 and it’s really good. Indeed, very much an ‘objective’ interpretation. There are a lot of similarities between the Dohnanyi/Cleveland/Decca collaboration and the contemporaneous Chailly/Concertgebouw/Decca one; both in terms of repertoire (although Dohnanyi, unlike Chailly, never got a chance to conclude his Mahler and Bruckner series) and interpretation. It’s a shame that Dohnanyi’s recording of Webern’s orchestral music is almost impossible to find nowadays, it really is the best recording of that music I have ever heard (I used to own a copy of that cd, but I seem to have misplaced it and I'm looking for a new copy ever since).
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Gustav Mahler and Related Discussions / Re: Dohnányi M9
« Last post by barryguerrero on July 13, 2019, 10:55:36 PM »
I think a really good M9 with great American playing and conducted in the 'objective', third person type style, is the Dudamel/L.A.P.O. one, believe it or not. The DG sound isn't as good as Decca's Cleveland sound was, but the L.A. string playing is competitive with Cleveland's. I think it's a real sleeper.
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I actually like "A Summer Tale" more than "Asrael". Both are good, aren't they? "Fantastike Scherzo" is probably my favorite work by Suk.
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This topic could, should and probably will go on endlessly! For now I'll just add a couple comments:

I've adored Janacek's music for many years, and I've seen "Káťa Kabanová" twice at Lyric Opera. It brings me to tears.

I needed time to acclimate to Josef Suk's idiom. The "Asrael" symphony is terrific. Though "A Summer Tale" not usually considered a symphony, it's a highly effective work too. The "Blind Fiddlers" movement, featuring two English horns, is some of the most beautiful music in the literature. I save it for special occasions.
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Yes, "Cunning Little Vixen" is also a big favorite mine as well - same for, "From the House of the Dead". A real Janacek 'sleeper' for me is the "Danube" symphony. I also like his crazy "Capriccio" and quirky "Mladi". A great composer with a different solution than Mahler. I love his music in the film "The Unbearable Lightness of Being".
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Yes, and then there's Kondrahin's 'western' recording of M7 - a live and lively performance with the Concertgebouw. It stayed in print for about seven minutes. I like Kondrashin in M7, but I like the '65 Bernstein and '69 Haitink just as well. I also like Scherchen's more moderate Vienna M7, more than his Toronto one.

There exists at least four Mahler 7's with Hatink. The best of those, IMHO, is the one is in the Kerstmatinees set (1985). That's not to be confused with the digital remake that Haitink made for Philips in the early '80s. There was also a Berlin Phil. one on Philips. None of them are bad, of course. Here's the Kerstmatinee one on Youtube.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEoYrRBAGqA
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I will have to check out some Suk, Szymanowksi and Schulhoff, I am unfamiliar with their works.

I immediately enjoyed Zemlinksy, especially the Lyric Symphony. It's strike the same chord with me as Das Lied. 

Janacek is so forgotten it seems. Really sad. His 2 quartets are really good, his orchestral work stand up the best. James Conlon has a great 2 disc set of Janacek orchestral works that is a great pick up. My daughter will also watch 'The Cunning Little Vixen' with me, too. It's either that or Hansel und Gretel.
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