Author Topic: No new Mahler recordings in months - so why not just poop on it w/o hearing!  (Read 675 times)

Offline barryguerrero

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I'm really angered. We have this pandemic, which has eliminated performances of all music of ANY size. Then we get our first major Mahler recording in months - not just another stupid Pandemic reduction - and what happens?    .    .    .  someone poops all over it, just out of principle. Thank you for being a killjoy.

Barry Guerrero
« Last Edit: October 01, 2020, 02:32:52 AM by barryguerrero »

Offline erikwilson7

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To me, there aren’t many bad recordings. I think objective “good-ness” and “bad-ness” can only adhere to sound quality and playing/singing, and just about everyone can play Mahler well these days. They’re just different from one another. They’re all adhering to the same score, and they all have their own artistic spin on it. If we are judging who interprets the score most accurately everyone ought to just give up and go home because Pierre Boulez already recorded a complete Mahler cycle.

I am curious to hear why you think Zinman, Stenz, Bloch, and the Fischers have bad M7s, because if you’re comparing them to the approaches of Ozawa, Solti, Haitink, Bernstein, et al., of course it’s going to be “bad,” because it sounds nothing like them. The newer lads aren’t even trying to sound like the old greats. Perhaps they’ve inherited some ideas, but they aren’t mindfully competing with the conductors of the past. I’ve said this before in different context, but I don’t believe as Bloch was performing and recording his M7 he was thinking, “we need to do better than Bernstein and Solti... at all costs!” No, Bloch is making his own artistic statement on the work, not trying to compete with past conductors. With Bloch what I hear is a French approach to M7, something VERY unique for Mahler recordings and different by default from what we get from the old greats playing from the traditional Germanic or American approach. If Bloch’s textures sound more sparse and less heavy, remember that this is a French conductor and orchestra. That’s how French classical music sounds.

I’m not trying to start any arguments here. I’m just saying that everyone’s likes and dislikes are valid, but is a recording objectively “bad” or “good?” I find it very hard to back that up with factual evidence outside of sound quality and playing/intonation. After all this is music, or art, that we are talking about.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2020, 02:09:09 PM by erikwilson7 »

Offline erikwilson7

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I do respect Mr. Guerrero’s and your opinion. Frankly, I did feel a little offended when you ridiculed me on the other thread for liking the bells and tams on certain recordings, but I don’t want to hold any grudges here. We are all here to talk about something we share admiration for: Mahler’s music.

I definitely agree that the old greats you mentioned had better orchestras at their disposal. In fact, I’m eager to hear more Mahler from Boston given their amazing recent Shostakovich releases. I don’t think we’ll be getting that any time soon. Major orchestras release fewer and fewer CDs these days.

I do wonder... if these recent conductors had those great orchestras at their disposal would they be drastically different? In other words, is it the conductors you don’t like or the “second tier provincial orchestras?” I, for one, would love to hear what Ádám Fischer could do with the NY Phil and Mahler 3. But who knows?! We’ll likely never get to hear that. We live in interesting times: most of the recordings released these days across the board aren’t from the biggest names in the business anymore, so we have to make do with what we get.

Anyway, even though I disagree with some of what you say, Thomass, I respect your opinion and valuable insight. It would be a boring world if we all agreed that one conductor was the best.

Offline erikwilson7

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Ah, Jansons! Yes! Absolutely agree with you there, and that’s a very good point. Almost all of Jansons’ Mahler is bland as hell to me. He did have a couple of gems though. I liked his RCO M3, his BRSO M1 and M7, and his LSO M6. Everything else is unmemorable. No offense to anyone that loves Jansons’ Mahler, but it’s just not for me. And I really liked his M5s until he screwed up the endings to both of them by adding an extra cymbal crash and slowing down before final brass chorale. I can’t stand when conductors slow down there; Mahler doesn’t indicate it, and specifically says to play “Sehr drängend (very urgently)” before the Pesante brass chorale. I wish conductors would just trust what Mahler wrote. It almost always sounds better and he was a perfectionist, world-class conductor himself; he knew what he was doing!

Jansons is a perfect example of what we are talking about, and I agree with you about conductors now. I am sad that he passed away, though. He was an important figure in the music world.

On a slightly different note, I greatly admire Boulez’s conducting. He is more humble than anyone, and lets the music speak entirely for itself. He had such an amazing ear for balance, structure, and clarity. I disagree with anyone who finds his Mahler to be cold and emotionless. Detached? Yes, but that doesn’t equal emotionless to me. Chailly, Abbado, Haitink, and Gielen were all somewhat detached.

Now I see what you’re saying about conductors making a difference, not just orchestras. Thanks for your input. I’m 26 and only started listening to Mahler’s music a little over three years ago now, so I admit I am still learning more every day. That’s why my views may seem inconsistent at times. Two years ago I loved Bernstein’s Mahler and despised Boulez’s; now, I’m the exact opposite. Who knows where I’ll be next year?
Sorry for rambling too much, and thanks for listening.

Offline Vehemence

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What a nice Sunday! I hope everyone of you is having a great day, where ever that is.

One thing that I feel is missed through all of this is that we are listening to something that was recorded. Something that is in no way original to what was actually performed. Recordings are generally tweaked at all levels. Oh, you can't hear the mandolin that well, lets pot that up. Damn, those trumpets are too loud, let me just slide this down. That better? I don't like where the soloist is positioned, lets just slide them to left a little more. Timmy's voice doesn't really project that well, lets just move the mic closer, he'll sound better that way. Sorry Mr. Conductor, I didn't intend to miss those notes. Don't worry about it, son, we can fix that in the mixing room. With modern editing tech, we can do anything we want with audio, slow it down, speed it up, change the pitch.

You can assume that all these engineers are working in good faith, but I don't think that's really true all of the time. There are tons of recordings with bad balances, and odd mixing choices. The conductors and musicians are often times involved with the process, but this just adds to the tweaking. In the end, the people who make these decisions are the ones who you are really listening too. Often, I would guess, it's not the conductor but the engineers making the choices about what really sounds best.

Without knowing the level of manipulation, how you can be sure that what's recorded was even what the conductor actually intended?



Essentially, you are listening through someone else's lens.

Offline erikwilson7

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Vehemence, I think your insight is exactly what this thread needed: the bigger picture. I appreciate what you said and I’ll take that into consideration when I listen and judge recordings in the future.

Erik

Offline erikwilson7

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It appears all of the responses by Thomass have been deleted. It now looks like I’m having a conversation with myself.  8)

Offline waderice

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Just to try to restore some calm here, there is a new set of Mahler recordings that haven't seen the light of day ever since they were recorded in the 1950's.  That is the SWR label set of Mahler symphonies recorded by conductor Hans Rosbaud, who never got the recognition he so justly deserved while on this earth (he died on December 29, 1962).  With the exception of Symphony #1 (recorded with the Cologne orchestra), the others included in the set (nos. 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and DLvdE) were recorded with the Southwest German Radio Orchestra.  These recordings were (or still are) available on the Japanese Memories/Reverence label in varying sound, though the SWR set is likely the closest we shall ever get to hearing these as they ought to be heard.  I recently got the SWR set, and will be A/B-ing them with the earlier Memories/Reverence set I already had.

It's sad that the set doesn't include symphonies 2, 3, 8, and possibly the Adagio from #10, but it's virtually certain that cost considerations, plus maybe lack of room in the Hans Rosbaud studio where these were recorded prevented that.  The set is worth obtaining to hear Mahler conducted by a conductor now getting the recognition he so sadly didn't get while still alive.

Wade

Offline erikwilson7

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I sampled some of the new Rosbaud recordings and they seem fantastic. That M5 is one of the most exciting and visceral accounts I know of, and the sound is actually very good! I’ll have to give a full listen to the rest. Thanks for shining light on the new release.

Erik

Offline John Kim

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Yep, the Rosbaud Mahler set sounds really good! Aren't they supposed to be in MONO? The dynamic range is pretty wide and the sound is amazingly clean and transparent.

John

Offline waderice

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Yep, the Rosbaud Mahler set sounds really good! Aren't they supposed to be in MONO? The dynamic range is pretty wide and the sound is amazingly clean and transparent.

Yes, John, all of the recordings in the Rosbaud set are in mono.  Besides the Mahler recordings, most all of his recordings are in mono, and sound very good.  Based on the recording dates of his output by SWR, I'm pretty sure that most of them were recorded on tape, not 78-rpm acetates.  Extremely few of his recordings were made in stereo, and there is a DLvdE by him in stereo, though it isn't part of this SWR set.  Any SWR Rosbaud issue is worth acquiring not only for his excellent performances, but for the excellent work by the transfer engineers.  You may also want to consider acquiring his Bruckner symphony set, which is complete, save for symphonies 00, 0, and 1.

Wade

Offline barryguerrero

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Since Rosbaud was pretty much the ONLY guest conductor Renier approved of for his Chicago Symphony (Reiner even took notes during the rehearsals), it's tragic that Rosbaud's series of performances with the C.S.O. were never recorded.

Offline waderice

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Since Rosbaud was pretty much the ONLY guest conductor Renier approved of for his Chicago Symphony (Reiner even took notes during the rehearsals), it's tragic that Rosbaud's series of performances with the C.S.O. were never recorded.

Rosbaud’ s final appearance with the CSO was in performances of M9.  People who were there said that Rosbaud’s stellar performances of the work earned him a Tusch.

Reiner wanted Rosbaud to succeed him as CSO Music Director.  When death intervened, Reiner’s choice went to Karl Boehm.

Wade

Offline barryguerrero

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Wow! - well, that would have had the Chicago Symphony going from one dictatorial sadist to another. I very much like Bohm's work, but he wasn't easy to get along with. I certainly wasn't crazy about Solti, but I imagine he was quite fair in his treatment of the orchestra.

Offline waderice

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Wow! - well, that would have had the Chicago Symphony going from one dictatorial sadist to another. I very much like Bohm's work, but he wasn't easy to get along with. I certainly wasn't crazy about Solti, but I imagine he was quite fair in his treatment of the orchestra.

There are numerous films of Boehm in rehearsal on Facebook and YouTube.  Two that come to mind is one of him rehearsing the Beethoven 7th in B&W from the ‘60’s and a ‘70’s one in color of Strauss’ “Don Juan”.  Both are with the Vienna Symphony and the Vienna Philharmonic.  Hopefully, those and others convey an adequate idea of how Boehm was in working with orchestras.

Wade

 

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