Author Topic: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th  (Read 873 times)


Online erikwilson7

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2021, 07:44:31 PM »
Unfortunately I'm not subscribed to Gramophone so I can't read the article. Are you able to share some key take-aways?

Offline John Kim

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2021, 08:10:32 PM »
I really thought I knew this work – every facet of it. But Kirill Petrenko has a way of hearing deep into textures and harmonies that is at times really quite startling. He gives us X-ray ears. Truly you don’t need a score in front of you to believe your ears and eyes.

This piece was perhaps the greatest leap Mahler ever made towards the kind of ‘pure music’ that leaned less heavily on high emotion and instead explored an almost hallucinatory range of colours in terms of both texture and harmonic language. More colours, more layers – and that is where Petrenko leaves nothing ‘unturned’. There is a passage from about 7'08" in the first movement where arresting pizzicatos in the violins (and by arresting I mean that for a moment I wondered if two different passages had been accidentally superimposed) skew the harmony in ways that suggest the Second Viennese School has already arrived.

Dynamics play a big part in this, of course, and Petrenko does more than take Mahler at his word, pushing the stridency of his finely honed Bayerisches Staatsorchester woodwinds so that the harmonic anomalies really pop. He’s also mastered the sometimes wilful tempo relationships in the outer movements. It’s hard to get these right in the first movement and some – in search of its atavistic character – grind to a halt at times (Klemperer is almost in reverse gear throughout). So there’s an imperative about Petrenko’s reading that is carried through to his ardent phrasing of the second subject in the fabulous departure to higher regions at the heart of the movement. What a rarefied and exotic passage that is.

You might suppose that the warmth and sophistication of Petrenko’s Bavarians slightly detracts from the primitivism – I always feel a paganism in this piece – but that is countered by Petrenko’s willingness to encourage coarse and even ugly sounds. The Scherzo, the dark heart of the piece, is (along with the Sixth Symphony’s equivalent) Mahler’s ultimate homage to ‘things that go bump in the night’, full of convulsive grunting and slithering and a moment where the natural order of things gives way in a snap-pizzicato that is officially the loudest note in the piece. Petrenko sees to it that it is.

There’s another momentary ‘collapse’ in the first of the two Nachtmusiks – a collision of major and minor tonalities that Petrenko almost literally turns into a landslide. Like all such moments this conductor relishes the surprise of it, the newness of it. And if he can make seasoned Mahlerians even for a moment imagine that this is a first-time experience then he’s got my attention..

The opening of this movement may sound familiar (a motor oil TV ad hasn’t helped) but the way Petrenko navigates this curious ‘night patrol’ through a constantly shifting landscape is testament to his understanding of Mahler the pantheist.

The second Nachtmusik, with its guitar and mandolin tinklings – a wistful nocturnal serenade – sounds properly intimate. And this is where the humanity of Petrenko’s reading and the refinement of the playing reminds us that Mahler always left us in no doubt of exactly how he felt at any given juncture. The scale may be modest but the blossoming of the big lyric idea in this movement can hardly contain itself and Petrenko lends it lots of heart.

You can’t see for C major in the finale, of course, but where this movement can go horribly wrong is when conductors try to iron out the seemingly chaotic nature of this jubilant dance marathon – Mahler’s ‘apotheosis of the dance’. Again you have to take him at his word: awkward changes of tempo and daring volte-faces are what it is all about. This is a gathering of the clans and the way Petrenko characterises its multifarious variants – sideshows, if you like, within the whole – is key to his success. It doesn’t sound awkward or incoherent; it sounds joyful, a crazy collage wherein we pull focus on the small details as well as the grand gestures. The final scene of Die Meistersinger is often referenced – and with good reason: all humanity is here. And when that celebratory trumpet theme at the outset undergoes glorious transformation at the close, Petrenko could hardly make it more universal.

This is an auspicious first release for the Bayerisches Staatsorchester’s own label and whichever favourite version of the symphony you might have in your collection – be it Bernstein or one of the Fischers, perhaps – Petrenko demands to be heard and attention paid.

BSOREC0001. MAHLER Symphony No 7 (Petrenko)
MAHLER Symphony No 7 (Petrenko)
Symphony No. 7


Online erikwilson7

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2021, 08:25:57 PM »
Agreed. This is a very good recording.

Ugh, I just wish the ending had more obnoxious bell clamoring. That's admittedly my favorite part of the symphony, being a percussionist.

Regardless, I've been really liking Petrenko's Mahler so far. That M6–though some dislike it–ranks near the top for me.

Offline waderice

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2021, 03:07:34 PM »
In reading both John's review and Barry's reaction, I have to ask myself, have we reached or gone beyond a saturation point where a day doesn't go by where we have had so much of any one Mahler symphony or another (even a complete cycle)?  After all, we can tire of eating too much steak or having too much of our favorite dessert.

At least there has been a considerable amount of time elapsed in recording technology where conductors such as Weingartner, Toscanini, and Walter gave us plenty of Beethoven symphony recordings; their generation and styles of Beethoven symphony performance passed on to Bernstein, Karajan, Solti, Haitink, et. al., with their Beethoven symphony cycles.  It now seems that something similar is happening with Mahler; when it comes to the principal work performed on most any given concert program, it is no longer Beethoven, but now Mahler.  Bernstein, Solti, Haitink, and Kubelik Mahler performances have now given way to Jansons, Petrenko, Chailly and Dudamel (to name a few) in Mahler symphony performances.

Maybe it might be a good thing to give Mahler's symphonies a "rest" for a while, and give attention to performances of his song cycles for both orchestra and piano.  Are any worthy of discussion?

Wade

Online erikwilson7

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2021, 03:58:03 PM »
Wade, I agree. I've said this a couple times on here recently: we are so spoiled with Mahler recordings now that we nit-pick wonderful performances like this one (I'm a main offender of this, of course).

We've gone so far to the other side of interpreting Mahler symphonies with Vänskä's approach that, in my opinion, after his and Á. Fischer's cycles are complete the industry ought to really just cool it with Mahler symphony recordings. We have too much now. You're right: Mahler is the 'meat and potatoes' of orchestral music now, and too much meat and potatoes leaves no room for 'dessert,' or even gives us a chance to enjoy our 'appetizers.'

There's literally Mahler for everybody now. Do you like your Mahler quicker and lighter? Go for Kubelík. But do you want modern recording sound? Go for Stenz instead. Do you like your Mahler slow and heavy? Well, my friend, you have three Maazel cycles to choose from. Do you like your Mahler cold, calculated, and balanced? Go for Boulez. Or do you like it with heart, warmth, spontaneity? There's the early Bernstein, or the late one if you want extra drama. Do you like a modernist approach to Mahler? Check out Gielen. Or are you after state-of-the-art recording quality? There's always Vänskä, Zinman, and Nott. Or perhaps you want the highest quality of performance? There's both Chailly's and Jansons' RCO cycles. But maybe, just maybe, you want it right in the middle of everything, totally neutral and checks all the boxes... well good thing we have Bertini, Haitink, Jansons' BRSO recordings, and even folks like Ozawa and Edo de Waart.

Yes. We are absolutely spoiled for choice now. Like you said, where are more recordings of the lieder? Das klagende Lied? That's a fantastic piece that no one pays attention to because it's overshadowed by the 10 or 11 symphonies. When's the last time we heard a beautiful new recording of Kindertotenlieder from a top-rank soloist with the Berliner Philharmoniker? I don't even recall a recording of Das klagende Lied from the Berliner Philharmoniker or the BRSO. Or the RCO. Or the NYPO. Or the CSO. Or the BSO.

Online erikwilson7

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2021, 04:10:18 PM »
Though, admittedly, I would like to hear a cycle from Cleveland under Welser-Möst. We have many recordings from Cleveland throughout the decades but we've never had a complete cycle from this orchestra and this guy knows is Mahler.

Offline ChrisH

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2021, 04:49:10 PM »
I agree 100% with you, Wade. I've had a similar discussion with a friend of mine about this same subject. Personally, I've found myself putting the Mahler down, and listening to a lot more opera. Initially, this started after reading the HDLG's books, and wanting to know more about what Mahler was actually listening and conducting during his life. Maybe, even giving more insight in to his music. Essentially, I put Mahler the composer down, to try and understand Mahler the man/conductor/composer. For a while, I felt like an alcoholic trying to put the bottle down.

I've gone about 5 years now without Mahler being my main music of choice. For me, this has made listening to Mahler more of an 'event' than something that had become rote. I now find myself really enjoying the experience again. Now, when I listen to Mahler I really try to key in the on the whole, rather than being hypercritical about brass playing, or how this phrase is turned, or if their using a snare vs. a field drum in the 3rd.

Also, didn't we just a get DKL with Gielen not too long ago? That is an excellent recording.

I would also be interested in a cycle with Cleveland, too. My dream would be something with Dutoit and Montreal from the 80's-90's. For some reason, I think that pairing would give one best M7's of all time.


Offline John Kim

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2021, 06:25:43 PM »
Hello Wade,

IT IS NOT MY REVIEW. It was by Gramophone magazine.

John

Offline John Kim

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2021, 06:27:53 PM »
Maybe we should this forum a break too?  ;D 8)

John

Online erikwilson7

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2021, 06:43:49 PM »
Maybe, but to Vehemence’s point—whether or not I’m listening to Mahler I still enjoy discussing his life, works, recording and performance history, and the world of classical music in general here.

Offline John Kim

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2021, 06:49:42 PM »
Ok, as for me, when I am not too serious about Mahler's music I am still (and always will be) keen on the SOUND of his music. This is why I can still hold onto listening Mahler every day without ever getting tired of it. I think it invites a ton of variety of different interpretations and sounds. That's where the real strength and greatness of his music are, I think.

John

Offline John Kim

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2021, 06:53:49 PM »
BTW, a Mahler cycle by Welser Most/CVLO would be great. I have heard Most/CVLO M3rd and 9th and both were superb.

PS I heard Most's M6 and M8 too. Excellent.

John
« Last Edit: July 10, 2021, 07:32:33 PM by John Kim »

Offline waderice

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2021, 12:11:02 AM »
I'm glad to see that many here want to take a break from the Mahler symphonies.

Das klagende Lied was mentioned as a desirable work for us to consider.  Not long ago, I got a DVD of the Vladimir Jurowski 2003 (I think that was the year) performance of the work with the London Philharmonic as originally written by Mahler.  I found it fascinating to not only hear the performers, but also to see them in an extremely rare performance of this work as Mahler originally conceived it.  Back in 1976, I was involved in a performance of Beethoven's 9th in Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Philharmonic.  It was fascinating to see how the hall now looks since its renovation in the Jurowski video.  I heard things in this performance that I had never heard before, before Mahler had made many modifications to his work.  I first heard DkL live years ago in my early Mahler years, while still living in Washington, DC, with the Buffalo Philharmonic.  As I recall, I believe Tilson-Thomas was conducting, like or dislike him.

Though we go through periods where we look at various recordings of Das Lied von der Erde, it might be nice to look at some of the more recent recordings.

I think I've seen a couple of videos available where Thomas Hampson sings some of Mahler's songs with orchestral accompaniment; I think Bernstein was the conductor.  I need to look into getting one of these videos.

Thanks everyone, for your input.

Wade

P.S. - I'm now on a VERY LONG journey reading Henry Louis de La Grange's 4-volume Mahler biography.  I recently completed the revised 1st volume and am now about a third of the way through the second.  I have learned SO MUCH about how Mahler worked, performed, and what he expected out of the musicians who worked with him.  Fascinating thus far, and a lot more yet to come!
« Last Edit: July 11, 2021, 12:17:19 AM by waderice »

Online erikwilson7

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Re: Gramophone Magazine's rave review of Kirill Petrenko's new M7th
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2021, 12:59:24 AM »
Funnily enough it was Dave Hurwitz himself who said on this very forum, “too much Mahler is not a good thing.”

 

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