Author Topic: Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th  (Read 3697 times)

Offline John Kim

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Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th
« on: April 22, 2023, 05:45:07 PM »
https://theclassicreview.com/album-reviews/review-mahler-symphony-no-9-minnesota-orchestra-vanska/

https://www.musicwebinternational.com/2023/04/mahler-symphony-bis/

I don't agree and would give it 8/9 or 9/10 rating (performance/sound).

In M9th critics want emotions when they can hear great playing, great playing when they can hear emotions. Karajan's BPO (live) & Bernstein/BPO seem to be the only exceptions: they are very emotional readings but technically flawed and yet both are liked very much.

John
« Last Edit: April 22, 2023, 05:46:39 PM by John Kim »

Offline John Kim

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Re: Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2023, 06:02:35 PM »
One of the things that distinguishes this from (all) other versions is Vanska's thoughtfully laid out, scrupulously executed gear shifts at several places in I. At first, they may sound abrupt and disjointed, but repeated listens will prove otherwise. I find them not only delicious but also convincing musically and structurally.

John

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2023, 04:34:36 AM »
There's only review I'm interested in: my own.    .     .     .    .   Added later on: but just to be clear John, I completely agree with your observations.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2023, 03:47:58 PM by barryguerrero »

Offline erikwilson7

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Re: Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2023, 03:02:33 PM »
Reviewing something based on the emotions of the performance is weird to me. Most of the time when I’m reading something like these and they are “docking points” for lack of emotions, etc., I am confused because I don’t hear it the way they do. Entirely subjective.

It’s better to review the more objective aspects such as playing, accuracy (to the score and otherwise), and sound engineering, and then leave the emotional impact of it all up to the listener. These are the only parts of reviews I pay attention to anymore.

I am really connecting to these Bychkov recordings on an emotional level, but then I hear people say in reviews they’re tepid or bland and it makes me question my own understanding of music as if I’m hearing something incorrectly. But then I realize that’s not the case, and the reviewer is just stating their own emotions as if they are fact.

Everyone connects to art differently so there’s nothing wrong about discussing and sharing the emotional impact it had on you. But I don’t agree with trying to convince others that said art is bad because it lacked an emotional impact on you subjectively.

Sorry for rambling, I have a bunch of thoughts on this topic.

Offline John Kim

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Re: Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2023, 05:07:57 PM »
Erik

I have to agree with you on that point. It could get quite subjective when it comes to emotional aspect of a reading. I think Vanska's reading got lots emotions going for it as does Bychkov's M2nd. There was a time when we considered Haitink's Mahler emotional. Then Bernstein and Levine came along and we suddenly thought Haitink was not emotional enough! Had the Vanska M9th been released in the early days of Mahler recordings what would critics have thought of it? ^_^

I gave another listen to the SACD of Vanska M9th last night and the performance came off even stronger and more consistent this time. I think it has seasoned well already.

Barry, I am glad you concur with my observation. The more I listen to my SACD the more I like it. I think a lot about Vanska's M10th but his 9th is almost on the same level.

John

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2023, 05:20:02 PM »
I like the way his M7 is proportioned too. I like it that when the main theme of the first movement (in minor) comes back towards the end of the finale, Vanska brings in it at the slower tempo he used in the first movement. Nearly everyone else does the opposite, and has done so for decades. I find what Vanska does to be far more effective.    .    .    .    .  I feel the same way about what Vanska does at the start of second movement in his M5. Yes, it begins slower and with less energy than usual, but he DID NOT slow down when the actual 'first theme' starts up about 20 or 30 seconds later - as nearly everyone else does! If anything, he gives the impression of pushing forward. It puts the forward moving impetus in the right place.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2023, 09:02:57 PM by barryguerrero »

Offline John Kim

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Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2023, 09:04:08 PM »
Yes, I liked it very much. I think the Vienna one I heard in Berkeley was even more 'idiomatic', being that it was with the V.P.O. I will most likely buy his Pentatone M6, when it comes out. I particularly like how he handles the last 10 minutes of the finale here.

« Last Edit: April 24, 2023, 04:31:34 AM by barryguerrero »

Offline sbugala

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Re: Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2023, 01:46:38 PM »
I liked it as well. The third movement seemed particularly vicious. Everything else was cogent, but moving.

Offline erikwilson7

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Re: Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2023, 02:37:58 PM »
I finally got around to fully reading the Music Web review linked above, and while I enjoy the Vänskä M9 I think that article is very well-written and I agree with a lot of what Phipps says.

His comparison recording is Chailly’s with Amsterdam which hardly seems fair because that one is so good.

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2023, 04:45:57 PM »
Yes, but I think that brings us to the crux of the debate. I think one needs to evaluate Vanska's M9 in relation to other SINGLE DISC versions of the work. In a sense, it's a bit unfair to include two-disc versions, as the conductor in question has a larger canvas to paint his/her vision upon. In turn, this brings up the very valid issue of how 'said work' is proportioned within that more narrow frame.

For me, probably no M9 performance - particularly captured live in a 'one off' - is going to surpass Bernstein/B.S.O. from Tanglewood (1979). However, that's truly is an apples/oranges comparison to a single disc Vaenska/BIS production of the same work. A far more valid and interesting comparison would be to A/B the new Vanska/BIS M9, to the nearly as new Rattle/BR Klassik M9.

Offline Leo K

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Re: Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2023, 05:24:24 PM »
I am really impressed with Vanska’s M9. The sonics are detailed and transparent. The climaxes are captured and performed with power, especially the third climax where the brass has bite. The strings are ice cold which I like for the M9. The very beginning of the 1st movement is performed as if afar, objectively and dry. I like this Webern sound there.

Offline John Kim

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Re: Two not-so-good reviews of Vanska's M9th
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2023, 06:06:15 AM »
Leo,

Agreed.

Departing from the conventional interpretations, Vanska has a few new things (such as what you described) to say about the symphony and that's what I like the recording for.

John

 

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