Author Topic: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify  (Read 8470 times)

Offline erikwilson7

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2023, 04:43:32 PM »
The buzz around the Netopil cycle has caused me to revisit Markus Stenz's. Wow, I've forgotten how much I admire this cycle.

If I were to conduct Mahler myself (never going to happen), I think the tempos would pretty much be what Stenz does -- almost all the way through. I have small quibbles here and there about little details being buried in the mix, but overall this cycle is vastly underrated. I don't really think there are any weak links here on the whole. Some movements don't always work, though.

There are multiple movements throughout that Stenz does better than almost anyone. For example: M1.III, M4.II, M5.V (even better with Melbourne), M7.IV, M7.V, end of M8.

To me, Stenz is a great Mahler conductor who's just never been given the opportunity to lead a truly Mahlerian orchestra. It's kind of a shame, and I hope his day comes.

This one goes under the radar pretty often. I'd recommend a revisit if it's been a while.

Offline waderice

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2023, 05:34:42 PM »
I listened to the Stenz cycle recently and found it excellent, both in sound and performance, overall.  There are some parts where he did differently than from what I'm used to, too many to elaborate on here.  I was disappointed to get the entire cycle (in a box) on regular CD, when the separate symphonies were released as SACD discs.  Wonder why the box set wasn't made SACD, as the Nott cycle was?

Offline erikwilson7

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2023, 05:54:52 PM »
That's a good point, and I wonder the same thing. My guess is that it's simply their budget box, and they want to be able to make more money from the SACDs by folks buying them individually.

Also omitted from this box is the same team's incredible Wunderhorn songs. In my opinion, those stand with the best out there (Chailly, Bernstein, etc.).

I hope we get to hear more Mahler from Stenz one day. I remember seeing a live stream concert with him conducting M4 (I think) sometime in the past few years, and the program introduced him as a "Mahler specialist." I wonder if Mahler is a very specific focus of his as a conductor? I wish I could remember where I saw / heard this.

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2023, 06:15:01 PM »
Stenz WAS conducting in San Diego, but I have no idea if he did any Mahler down there. And speaking of 'down there', with his Australian connection already in place, I wonder if Stenz will begin conducting in Asia - the way J. Nott, Edo DeWaart, Bertini, Inbal and other truly good Mahler conductors have done.

I had that Stenz Mahler box for a while, and then sold it off because I was so disappointed in the reduction of sound quality. I have his M7, M8 and "DKW" on sacd/cd hybrid discs. I wouldn't mind adding his M3, M6 and M9 on hybrid discs as well, but particularly the M3.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2023, 06:17:48 PM by barryguerrero »

Offline waderice

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2023, 08:58:53 PM »
Barry, your comments about the reduction in sound quality (CD vs. SACD), plus leaving out the DkW songs from the Stenz Mahler cycle make sense.  Maybe I'll have to listen to the cycle again and decide what and if I'll be able to get SACD versions of the individual symphonies as you mentioned.

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #35 on: September 09, 2023, 10:01:48 PM »
After a few hearings, I've decided I like this Netopil M3 enough to have my local used CD store, Streetlight Records, order me a copy from Naxos. I'm going to bring them some used things in perfect condition for trade credit. Hopefully I'll have enough credit left over to also get them to order the Vanska/Minnesota M8, once that someday becomes available (I'm pretty sure I'll want that on SACD). Of course, that'll be followed a few months later by Vanska's M3. Not that it matters at all, but I really like the cover on the Netopil M3 release.

Another thing I'm looking forward to getting - someday - is the complete Shostakovich symphonies (and other goodies) with A. Nelsons/Boston S.O. on DG. They're issuing the last release (I think) in the series just now: symphonies 2, 3, 12 and 13. Perhaps there will be some concertos discs also. DG has announced the release of Nelsons' complete Bruckner cycle from Leipzig, so I'm hoping the Shostakovich box won't be far behind. As far as Nelsons' Bruckner series goes, what I'm hoping is that they'll issue all of those R. Wagner items, together, on a separate disc. THAT, I would buy. They're really good. I really like Nelsons' Vienna Phil. box of Beethoven symphonies. I also have his R. Strauss box with Boston, Leipzig, and a lineup of really good soloists.

F.Y.I.

Barry

Offline erikwilson7

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2023, 10:42:18 PM »
I gain more respect for the Netopil series with each release. The M2 shouldn’t be slept on either; I like it even better than Bychkov’s and Vänskä’s.

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #37 on: September 10, 2023, 05:31:52 AM »
Really?   .   .  .  I'll go back and give the Netopil M2 another listen. Even though the sound isn't terrific, I rather like that Bychkov M2.

Offline erikwilson7

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #38 on: September 10, 2023, 06:40:59 AM »
All three are really good. You might disagree since I know how much you liked the Vänskä M2.

The playing is better with the Czech Phil, that’s for sure, but I like the symphony’s pacing better with Netopil.
I also found Pentatone’s engineering to be lacking a little for the M2, which was a bit surprising.

But again, they’re all fine recordings. I just have a preference for the Netopil. I’d recommend any of the three to someone.

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #39 on: September 13, 2023, 06:41:01 AM »
Hi Eric. I went back and listened to the Netopil M2. It's certainly very well recorded. The ending is mostly quite good, but I would like more of a real pipe organ. Also, I think the very last note of the symphony could use more of a crescendo, which is something Bychkov did well. But I do have two other things that really bug me, both having to the do with the final climactic passage of the 'march of the risen dead souls' section of the finale.

Where there's a series of offstage trumpet fanfare figures - those are supposed to come in closer as they go. Soooo, at the last time the offstage trumpets play there, they're supposed to be close enough that you hear their rapid descending scale lead right into where the entire orchestra comes back in, tutti (and fortissimo). To be fair, Netopil's isn't the only recording where that's a problem - not by a long shot. But if the trumpets aren't clear and audible there, it just sounds like an empty hole. But what also bugs me is that the rapid series of tam-tam strokes at the end of that same section are pretty much inaudible. They're somewhat audible on the Bychkov. That's unfortunate, because the tam-tam playing at the climax of the Scherzo movement is really good.

That said, though, Bychkov does much better with the passage in the Scherzo where a trio or quartet of trumpets start singing to each other. It's a passage at a slower tempo. Bychkov makes a real meal out of it. Also, aside from the climactic passage, I like Bychkov's Scherzo better in general. I think it's more animated and has more character.

Perhaps what Netopil really has going for him, besides really good sound, is that his performance does really flow well (as you mentioned) - which is a feature I really like about his M3. As for the Vanska series, I like those better when I play them back on my SACD player (but in the two channel mode, as I don't have 5.1 Surround). The M2 sounds pretty darn good when you play it that way.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2023, 06:45:09 AM by barryguerrero »

Offline erikwilson7

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #40 on: September 13, 2023, 02:45:20 PM »
Thanks for your details, Barry. It helps me understand these recordings better.

Funny you mentioned that offstage trumpet crescendo passage because I noticed that exact issue when I listened to it yesterday, though I didn't know how to put it into words like you did. Chailly's M2 is amazing with that part; I don't know if I've heard it done better, but if there is a recording that does let me know. Come to think of it, Bychkov's recording reminds me very much of Chailly's, and even the timings are very similar (and they both have sound quality issues!).

I think Netopil has the most natural-sounding choral climax of the three. The choir has the most organic fullness — while the diction is amazing on the Vänskä recording, the choir sounds a bit weak and I personally despise whenever I can hear the soloists louder than the choir; it happens just slightly near the end of the choral section (Zinman and Inbal [Denon] have bigger problems with this). You're right that the crescendo of the final bars needs more in Netopil. Though I do find Vänskä's final chord itself to be weak.

I won't deny that the Bychkov and Vänskä ones are probably the winners here, even if I prefer the Netopil one. I must just be rooting for the underdog.

It seems that Bychkov's is the best played of the three, Netopil's is the best conducted / paced, and Vänskä has the best sound. In a perfect world we'd have all three in one recording! At least it still makes all three worth listening to, in my opinion.

Even if it's not perfect so far (not even close), the Netopil series is turning out to be pretty consistent which is more than one could say about most cycles out there. I probably just jinxed it. It reminds me of Stenz's cycle, of course also on Oehms. As with the Netopil M3, the M2 sounds MUCH better when you crank up the volume, I've noticed.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2023, 02:47:14 PM by erikwilson7 »

Offline John Kim

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #41 on: September 13, 2023, 04:49:09 PM »
I will definitely revisit Netopil's Mahler. I kinda liked the first release by them, M9th. Their M6th was pretty excellent although the playing was somewhat low keyed.

Like I said, I saw Netopil conducting Smetana, Chopin (PC #2), and Dvorak 6th in Seoul in July and I was blown away. It was the most impressive, thoughtful, and powerful Dvorak 6ths I ever heard, and everyone in the audience felt the same too.

John

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #42 on: September 13, 2023, 09:16:06 PM »
I'm not sure I know of an M2 that just gets every element, just right. Probably Haitink's first Concertgebouw M2 comes closest for me, along with Klemperer's 1965 stereo BRSO one. But just to sort of let you know 'where I'm at' with M2, I'll try to list what I own in roughly chronological order.

I have both Stokowski recordings (live at RAH, and his RCA studio one). I have both Klemperer recordings (BRSO, and the studio Philharmonia one). Bernstein/N.Y./CBS; Blomstedt/S.F.S./Decca; A. Litton/Dallas S.O./Delos (excellent sound quality!); Z. Mehta/Israel Phil./Teldec (yes, I prefer this one to his famous Vienna Phil one); Ozawa/Saito Kinen Orch./Sony Classical; Abbado/Lurcerne Fest. Orch./DG; P. Jarvi/Frankfurt R.S.O./Virgin Classics; Boulez/V.P.O./DG (it's in the box); Y. Sado/Tonkunstler Orch. of Vienna; as well as the more recent and discussed Vanska and Bychkov ones. THAT's ENOUGH!!!  .    .    .  In addition, I have 'pirates' of the excellent Bernstein/Cleveland Orch. M2, as well as the more recent Nezet-Seguin/Philadelphia M2.

I really could live the rest of my life with any of those.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2023, 09:22:06 PM by barryguerrero »

Offline erikwilson7

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2023, 10:01:34 PM »
I only collect box sets at this point since I have access to lossless streaming on Apple. So the M2s I own physically are Abbado/Lucerne, Bernsteins Sony + DG, Bertini, Boulez, Chailly RCO + Leipzig, Gielen, Kubelík DG, Maazel/Philharmonia, Nott, Stenz, Levi, de Waart.
Of all those, my favorites are Nott, de Waart, and Chailly’s Leipzig.
I could live with them, I guess. Waart’s probably comes closest to my ideal vision, then probably the live Chailly one.

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Netopil/Essen M3 (Oehms) - now out on Spotify
« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2023, 10:17:49 PM »
Excellent picks. I could easily live with those as well. I've listened to the J. Nott one at Spotify, and liked it just fine. Oddly, M2 was sort of a dud in the M. Stenz cycle. I saw DeWaart do M2 in S.F. It was so long ago, that I don't remember much about it. I liked all the Mahler performances I saw him do here. I think of DeWaart as sort of a less dour B. Haitink.

I'm trying to think of what the best M2 Ive' seen 'live' was?    .    .    .    .  I probably liked the one I saw in the new Bing Center at Stanford University best, played by their own orchestra. It's a very good, but a small-ish hall, so the performance was very 'in your face'. The electronic organ they used actually sounded good (they normally don't). I remember the Blomstedt one making a very positive impression. Not an MTT fan.

 

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