Author Topic: David Hurwitz hammers Vanska's Mahler again, this time M6th.  (Read 616 times)

Offline John Kim

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David Hurwitz hammers Vanska's Mahler again, this time M6th.
« on: March 12, 2018, 09:22:30 AM »
https://www.classicstoday.com/review/cd-hell-vanska-leads-stepford-phil-mahlers-sixth/

I don't subscribe to the site so can't read the text of his review. But the first few lines say it all.

John

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: David Hurwitz hammers Vanska's Mahler again, this time M6th.
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 03:00:33 PM »
He's mostly correct but I'm not quite so negative about it. In fact, I would give it four stars (out of five). Where we do agree, is that this 'interpretation' definitely works better in scherzo/andante order. In andante/scherzo order - the way it is recorded - I would only give it three stars.

The first movement is very 'chopped' and very controlled. But in a way, I like it because Vanska clearly makes the obsessively repeated low A in the basses and - sometimes - cellos, the main musical line. What makes me think that scherzo/andante is the right way to play this baby, is that Vanska makes the coda to the first movement sound 'hollow' - very Shostakovich like. He absolutely sails through the climax that happens about 25 seconds from the end - the moment where Mahler takes a few seconds, to take in the much earned victory of the "Alma" theme over the dark march in A minor. It's hard to describe, but it's as though Mahler is saying, "our business is rejoicing, our business is rejoicing" (like Shostakovich).

If Vanska had taken the scherzo at a really fast clip - like Chailly/Gewandhaus - then yes, I could accept andante/scherzo order. But his scherzo is at exactly the same tempo as the end of the first movement. It works much better as a negation to the ending of the first movement. In fact, just remove the last note of the first movement and segue immediately into the scherzo and, VOILA! - you'd get a solution to this whole inner movement nonsense that would absolutely work. It's as though the running back is about to score a winning touchdown, only to the fumble the ball to his opponents on the one yard line (who then run with it 30 yards in the other direction). A unified Part I that makes perfect sense.

The finale is quite strange, but I think it mostly works. Yes, there are problems. But what I like is that Vanska makes just two climaxes tower over everything else in the movment: the second hammer stroke (which is reinforced by an incredibly loud smash on the gong), and the final A-minor explosion at the very end of the symphony. In fact, those two events tower over every other loud moment in the entire symphony.

I really like Vanska's slow movement, but I like it in the third spot. The fresh, outdoors-y 'Alpine' moment is absolutely wonderful, almost magical in fact (about 7 minutes in).

So yes, it is definitely a 'different' Mahler 6 that calls for patience and restraint on the part of the listener. Whether that's good Mahler or not, is in the ear of the beholder. I think the two huge climaxes in the finale pay off (second hammer stroke and the end). I wouldn't, however, make it a first recommendation. I think it would be a good supplement to a more 'traditional' rendition, such as Bernstein/N.Y., Boulez/VPO, Abbado/BPO, etc.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 10:32:50 PM by barryguerrero »

Offline John Kim

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Re: David Hurwitz hammers Vanska's Mahler again, this time M6th.
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2018, 04:00:52 PM »
Barry,

Thanks for your wonderful review. It sounds a lot like Vanska's M5th which I liked a lot. So I'd venture into the M6 SACD as well.

John

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: David Hurwitz hammers Vanska's Mahler again, this time M6th.
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2018, 04:37:02 PM »
I'm probably going to have it 'burnt' on to two discs, with the scherzo on the first disc and the andante on the second disc. I have a hard time listening to it the other way around. Then I might, possibly, jettison the original.

Offline John Kim

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Re: David Hurwitz hammers Vanska's Mahler again, this time M6th.
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2018, 04:38:29 PM »
In no circumstances, I listen to M6th with A/S order!

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: David Hurwitz hammers Vanska's Mahler again, this time M6th.
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2018, 06:11:08 PM »
I didn't know you felt that strongly about that issue, John.  I can accept andante/scherzo if, a). the conductor takes the andante as a Brucknerian adagio (which it ain't) or, b). the scherzo is done at a fast clip.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 12:50:58 PM by barryguerrero »

Offline John Kim

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Re: David Hurwitz hammers Vanska's Mahler again, this time M6th.
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 12:42:29 PM »
Here is a very positive review of Osmo Vanska/Minnesota Orchestra Mahler 6th concert (that was recorded for the upcoming SACD release).

http://www.startribune.com/for-vanska-and-minnesota-orchestra-mahler-s-sixth-lives-in-its-details/401010475/

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: David Hurwitz hammers Vanska's Mahler again, this time M6th.
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2018, 02:45:12 PM »
Well there you go. We have two extremes on what is, admittedly, a 'different' M6. I'll neither vilify it or swoon over it. I'd like to think that I'm, perhaps, 2/3rd's the way up the scale on it. As I said, I think it would work better as a supplement to a more 'traditional' rendition of M6 in one's collection.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 02:51:35 PM by barryguerrero »

Offline Russell

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Re: David Hurwitz hammers Vanska's Mahler again, this time M6th.
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2018, 12:24:09 PM »
The Vanska M6 is now available for download in hi-res (and lower) for only $13 from eclassical.com (owned/operated by BIS):

http://www.eclassical.com/conductors/vanska-osmo/mahler-symphony-no6.html

Russell