Author Topic: Zander's Mahler  (Read 5392 times)

mr. woodford

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Zander's Mahler
« on: January 03, 2007, 01:02:45 AM »
posted this on the audioasylum board, but didn't get any response. i recently bought the zander/philarmonia Mahler 1st on SACD, and found the preformance and recording wonderful. i'm filling out my Mahler/SACD collection and looking for a 4th and 5th and wonder whether these are comparable to the first? i know the zander cycle has been been controversial in some quarters, Gramophone in particular seems dismissive of it's mid-atlantic character, whatever that may mean when discussing a mittle europa. then again, maybe they just couldn't stop sniffing simon rattle's jock long enough to seriously listen.

I have the reiner 4th, which i enjoy, and the abbado 5th, which i found oddly uninvolving, particularly the adagio, and the recording is dry and unatmospheric, particularly after listening to the zander.

the rest of my mahler cycle:

#2- Slatkin
#3- Chailly
#6- Abbado
#7- MTT
#8- Davis
#9- MTT

I will likely supplement the Davis 8th, with what i'm not sure, Haitink?

Offline barry guerrero

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Re: Zander's Mahler
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2007, 08:00:34 AM »
Maybe mid-Atlantic character means it comes from the middle of the Atlantic?   .    .     .     Maybe it was recorded on the Titanic?

Mr. Woodford,

If you're looking to add an SACD version of the 8th right away, your ticket is the Kent Nagano one on Harmonia Mundi. Although I'm not crazy about his Part 2 (excellent Part 1), it's an extremely good sounding recording. Scott, who's a regular member here, is very big on the Nagano. But if you're not in a hurry, you might want to wait until the MTT/SFSO one gets issued in either late 2007, or early 2008. It's also possible that Naxos may someday issue their fine Antoni Wit M8 on SACD.

In regards to Ben. Zander, I think that his M5 may possibly be his best Mahler recording so far. I'm not a fan of his M4, as I feel it's just too "poopy" in the development section of the first movement, and isn't sharp-edged or scarry enough in the scherzo either. It's too bad that UNI hasn't issued the Chailly 4th on an SACD. On the Chailly, Barbara Bonney is great, and the Berg songs are really well done too. For the time being, I think that you might be better off with Boulez/Cleveland than Zander unless, of course, you want the lecture disc as well. The MTT/SFSO M4 has even longer timings that the Zander, but some folks really like it. I'm not a fan of it.

Barry Guerrero
« Last Edit: January 03, 2007, 09:09:53 AM by barry guerrero »

mr. woodford

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Re: Zander's Mahler
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2007, 02:59:25 PM »
Maybe mid-Atlantic character means it comes from the middle of the Atlantic?   .    .     .     Maybe it was recorded on the Titanic?

Mr. Woodford,

If you're looking to add an SACD version of the 8th right away, your ticket is the Kent Nagano one on Harmonia Mundi. Although I'm not crazy about his Part 2 (excellent Part 1), it's an extremely good sounding recording. Scott, who's a regular member here, is very big on the Nagano. But if you're not in a hurry, you might want to wait until the MTT/SFSO one gets issued in either late 2007, or early 2008. It's also possible that Naxos may someday issue their fine Antoni Wit M8 on SACD.

In regards to Ben. Zander, I think that his M5 may possibly be his best Mahler recording so far. I'm not a fan of his M4, as I feel it's just too "poopy" in the development section of the first movement, and isn't sharp-edged or scarry enough in the scherzo either. It's too bad that UNI hasn't issued the Chailly 4th on an SACD. On the Chailly, Barbara Bonney is great, and the Berg songs are really well done too. For the time being, I think that you might be better off with Boulez/Cleveland than Zander unless, of course, you want the lecture disc as well. The MTT/SFSO M4 has even longer timings that the Zander, but some folks really like it. I'm not a fan of it.

Barry Guerrero

Thanks Barry- i've got the Solti 8th on RBCD, so not in a hurry for another SACD version, and i've been curious about when the MTT 8th will be out.  is there a Zander 8th in the offing as well?  his 5th sounds like a good bet, although i wonder how it compares to MTT's which has had good mention elsewhere.  have you heard both?

in general, i really like the MMT mahler 7th and 9th; the premium pricing makes it difficult to "experiment" with the rest of the cycle tho.

Offline sperlsco

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Re: Zander's Mahler
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2007, 04:12:36 PM »
posted this on the audioasylum board, but didn't get any response. i recently bought the zander/philarmonia Mahler 1st on SACD, and found the preformance and recording wonderful. i'm filling out my Mahler/SACD collection and looking for a 4th and 5th and wonder whether these are comparable to the first? i know the zander cycle has been been controversial in some quarters, Gramophone in particular seems dismissive of it's mid-atlantic character, whatever that may mean when discussing a mittle europa. then again, maybe they just couldn't stop sniffing simon rattle's jock long enough to seriously listen.

I have the reiner 4th, which i enjoy, and the abbado 5th, which i found oddly uninvolving, particularly the adagio, and the recording is dry and unatmospheric, particularly after listening to the zander.

the rest of my mahler cycle:

#2- Slatkin
#3- Chailly
#6- Abbado
#7- MTT
#8- Davis
#9- MTT

I will likely supplement the Davis 8th, with what i'm not sure, Haitink?

You already have some very good ones for a Mahler SACD cycle.  The Slatkin is one of my favorite M2's and is even better on SACD.  However, if you have multi-channel capability you simply must purchase the new Fisher/Budapest FO M2 on SACD.  Since it is so new, I rather hesitate to pronounce it the best M2 ever...but it may be and time will tell.  Chailly is phenomenal in M3.  I really love the Abbado M6, but suggest that you must purchase the Eschenbach one because it is a completey different take on the symphony and has reference quality sound.  I am slightly disappointed in MTT's M7 (I love his LSO one, though), but your pickings are slim here.  The Davis M8 has much to like and has one of the finest endings, but I find some of the singing atrocious.  To my ears, the Gretchen voice is the absolute worst in my collection.  I could not live without the Nagano, but truth be told, the Gretchen voice is only slightly better than in the Davis (i.e. her voice is less grating, but not better sung).  The rest of the performance is highly detailed, flowing, and dramatic, and has the best use of SACD surround sound I've ever heard.  As for M9, MTT is a fine choice, but I slightly prefer Chailly because of his superior Rondo Burleske. 

As for Zander, I have really cooled on him as a Mahler conductor.  However, I would purchase his recordings just to hear the discussion discs.  His M3 and M6 are probably his two best ones -- but they both have their problems.  In fact his M6 is easily supplanted by his earlier recording with the Boston PO.  The M3 is generally fine, but has a dull first movement "southern storm" and the third movement horn solo is recorded so far off as to be worthless.  I have soured on his M4 and M5, which I enjoyed with reservation when they were first released.  The M5 finale is just a slow, dull, non-starter, and I will not waste my time with an M5 that contains a dull finale.  The Scherzo is very characterful and I like the 8+ minute Adagietto, though.  I have only listened once to his M1 and found it a little underwhelming overall.  I find MTT wonderful in M1 and would make it a top choice in any format.  For my money, MTT is also the best available for an SACD of M4 and M5.  However, that may say more about the competition than about MTT's versions.  MTT's M4 is slow and characterful, and very enjoyable, but I doubt that I would listen to it as often if it were not an SACD (this last comment applies equally to his M5).  I am not a big fan of the Boulez M4 on CD, and have never considered it on SACD.  Same goes for the Abbado M5, which I found a complete dullard (where is the bottom end of the BPO).  I still have not found an M5 on SACD that is a first choice regardless of format (Haenchen, Nott, and Shipway are the others in my SACD collection IIRC). 
Scott

mr. woodford

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Re: Zander's Mahler
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2007, 05:05:08 PM »
Thanks sperlsco- fantastic info.  i've been listening to the Davis 8th a bit more, and you're right, there is some pretty squally singing, but that just may be an artifact of the very upfront placement of the voices.  the performance in general gets the drama right, but misses some of the mystery of the work.  i'm a two channel guy tho, so it might improve in surround.  the fisher 2nd has gotten such glowing reports, it's already on my list.  i agree with you about abbado's 5th, surprisingly prosaic, but in general, none of the SACD recordings of either the 5th or 9th come close to karajan.  sound quality is not stellar in either, but they have a certain truthfulness that allows the essential character of the performances to shine through.  both performances have such a natural ebb and flow to them, neither forced nor tugged at, it sounds as if orchestra, conductor, and in the 9th, audience are all breathing together.

my RBCD collection:

#1- slatkin
#2- rattle
#3- tennstedt
#4- tennstedt/ maazel
#5- karajan
#7- abbado
#8- shaw/ solti
#9- karajan
#10- ormandy

Offline barry guerrero

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Re: Zander's Mahler
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2007, 08:06:24 PM »
Well, I certainly won't interfere with the great info. that Scott has given you. He and I part ways, somewhat, on the MTT/SFSO cycle in general. Perhaps it is a better recommendation for the 4th than the Boulez. But I like for the 4th to be on the swifter side - more "neo-classical", I reckon.  As I said, it's a pitty that UNI hasn't issued the fine Chailly 4th in an SACD.

What little I've heard of the MTT 5th was a big turn-off to me. Then again, I would certainly I agree with Scott's contention that any M5 should have a great finale. I just simply didn't get that far with MTT.  If the Markus Stenz M5 were available on an SACD (ABC Classics), I'd say to definitely get that one. However, even the regular CD version of that is expensive, and has to be shipped from Austrailia. Stenz is now the conductor of the Gurzenich Orchestra in Cologne, which is the band that gave the world premiere in 1905. As you might imagine, Stenz takes the 5th very seriously. His recording is great from start to finish.

The 8th is one case where I don't think that MTT can manage to screw it up, even for me. I've seen him do it twice, and he doesn't do any sudden, weird slow-downs in Part 1 - one of his annoying, pantented trademarks throughout his Mahler. Also, Davies Hall will be excellent for recording the 8th. There's tons of room for large choral forces, and the organ is louder than all get-up. It should be good, unless he gets even weirder and more self-important in the mean time.

Offline barry guerrero

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Re: Zander's Mahler
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2007, 08:03:04 AM »
.    .      .   I should also add that there's a Hartmut Haenchen M5 available on SACD, as well as a Shipway/Royal Phil. one. Both of those recordings have their fans. I've read good things about the Henschen.

Barry

Offline Leo K

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Re: Zander's Mahler
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2007, 06:00:59 PM »
.    .      .   I should also add that there's a Hartmut Haenchen M5 available on SACD, as well as a Shipway/Royal Phil. one. Both of those recordings have their fans. I've read good things about the Henschen.

Barry

Speaking of Haenchen, I really like his 6th (despite the terrible sound).  Also, I wish I could find his 7th (released on laserlight some years ago)...it's been many years since I heard this and I rather miss it.

Offline John Kim

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Re: Zander's Mahler
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2007, 08:14:41 PM »
I have Haenchen's M3-M7, and M9's (two). They are OK (M3,M5) to very good (M4,M6,M7,M9) but none of them strikes me as exceptional or outstanding. I am not sure if the SACD M5 is a new recording or a remastered version of the old recording that I have.

John,

mr. woodford

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Re: Zander's Mahler
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2007, 10:58:08 PM »
.    .      .   I should also add that there's a Hartmut Haenchen M5 available on SACD, as well as a Shipway/Royal Phil. one. Both of those recordings have their fans. I've read good things about the Henschen.

Barry

Speaking of Haenchen, I really like his 6th (despite the terrible sound).  Also, I wish I could find his 7th (released on laserlight some years ago)...it's been many years since I heard this and I rather miss it.

how's the orchestra on the M5 SACD?  great recording team, playing in a great hall, but i wonder how the nederlands phil stack up against the RCOG?

Offline Leo K

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Re: Zander's Mahler
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2007, 12:50:34 AM »
I have Haenchen's M3-M7, and M9's (two). They are OK (M3,M5) to very good (M4,M6,M7,M9) but none of them strikes me as exceptional or outstanding. I am not sure if the SACD M5 is a new recording or a remastered version of the old recording that I have.

John,

Silly me, all I had to do was look at Amazon, and I found Haenchen's 7th dirt cheap.  It's not the most outstanding recording, but back when I was a new Mahler fan it was a recording (a friend had it) I got to know well.  I have a nostalgia over the sound of that recording.  Brings back some good memories of driving up to Minneapolis (with this CD playing in the car stereo) to see de Waart conduct the 7th with the Minnesota Orch back in 1994 or 1995. 

I didn't know that Haenchen recorded the M3.  Interesting.  Though I trust your judgement on the performance.

« Last Edit: January 05, 2007, 01:58:35 AM by Leo K »

 

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