Author Topic: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?  (Read 29272 times)

Offline Leo K

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2008, 08:35:20 AM »
Like Barry, I would just take the Bertini EMI box...it really is a miracle set. 

If I could only take one disk...it would be the Olson/Colorado Mahlerfest M9 from 2006 (I think thats the correct year).

--Todd






Offline John Kim

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2008, 10:58:40 AM »
Like Barry, I would just take the Bertini EMI box...it really is a miracle set. 

If I could only take one disk...it would be the Olson/Colorado Mahlerfest M9 from 2006 (I think thats the correct year).

--Todd

Excellent choice.

Question for Leo:

Do you know if EMI had gone through a digital remastering before they issued this box set? I once read somewhere that they did a remastering for the set but can't confirm it.

Thanks.

John,

Offline barry guerrero

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2008, 11:37:17 AM »
John,

They've definitely been remastered. They sound more alike now, and the improvements - where they exist - aren't huge by any means.

Offline John Kim

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2008, 12:39:40 PM »
Thanks, Barry.

For me even a small improvement in sound matters a lot. Although I already own Bertini's M3, M6, M9+10 and heard M7, M8, DLVDE, I shall give the set a try :)

John,

Offline Leo K

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2008, 07:01:20 PM »
Thanks, Barry.

For me even a small improvement in sound matters a lot. Although I already own Bertini's M3, M6, M9+10 and heard M7, M8, DLVDE, I shall give the set a try :)

John,

John, the M2 alone is worth the price of admission, as is the M4 and M5...the M5 is my top M5 right now.

--Todd

Offline John Kim

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2008, 07:57:59 PM »
Todd,

Thanks for the recommendation. I am also looking forward to an improvement in the M9th which I wanted to like as much as it deserves but can't because of issues with the sound quality.

John,

Offline akiralx

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2008, 06:25:49 AM »
I know we've probably had polls (if not, we should) on this topic, but I'm sure a lot of us newbies would really enjoy what "the old graybeards" find to be their most essential Mahler works or performances. 

M3 CzechPO/Kobayashi on an Exton SACD set.

Offline Leo K

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2008, 10:03:46 AM »
I know we've probably had polls (if not, we should) on this topic, but I'm sure a lot of us newbies would really enjoy what "the old graybeards" find to be their most essential Mahler works or performances. 

M3 CzechPO/Kobayashi on an Exton SACD set.

Very good choice...one of the most powerful M3's out there.


--Todd

Offline david johnson

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2008, 02:51:40 PM »
Please excuse my ignorance on this matter, but is it really possible for an LP on a turntable to sound better than a CD?
Did the CD remastering lose something, or the LP somehow capture something else?

some of us really dig analog sound.

dj

Offline Leo K

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2008, 06:42:18 PM »
Allow me to reprint this comparison review between two excellant M6's:





The Martin Sieghart account is an epic M6, and doesn't indulge in emphasizing the 'tragic' aspect. It's a direct reading with solid structure, but the 'color' or sound picture is interesting. It's rather a rough, course sound. The tubas are easy to hear and the other instruments don't blend too well, which is a good thing. It's not a wild or even motivating M6th...and I feel removed from the action somewhat. The image that comes to mind is the painting of a battle on an old, dusty and cracked Grecian Urn. I also imagine an archeological dig on the site of a lost city.

The sense of "lost to the ages" very much describes the drawn out spaces in much of the performance...the tempos take their time and etc. It many ways it is as bleak as Horenstein's Bournemouth account. I keep wanting to go back to it.

The Sieghart M6 only gets better with every listen. I finally got to listen to the SACD layer for the whole performance and noticed an obvious improvement in the sound, which is still very fine on the CD layer, but a little dry. Indeed, the SACD layer sounds so good (especially in the dynamic contrast and clarity of detail in the lower brass and percussion) the interpretation fares much better, and can be better appreciated along with the details heard in the orchestration.

I listened to the Sieghart back to back with the Eschenbach Philly M6 (see photo above) a couple times to compare, as both are my current top commercial recordings of the M6. In both, the lower brass and percussion are captured magnificently, thereby improving my appreciation of the dark timbre mixtures Mahler wrote into the score. I listened to both disks on the two channel stereo SACD layer through my Grato SR80 headphones and was in Mahler M6 heaven for hours.

The Siegart M6 is an incredible experience on SACD. This recording was taken from performances given on the 21-23 of December, 2003 at the Concertgebouw De Vereeniging in Nijmegen (the oldest city in the Netherlands). The natural detail, atmosphere and clarity are such a joy…it must be a good hall. I found myself holding my breath often, taken in by the waves of orchestration. Like the Eschenbach account, the tempos are heavy and movement thoughout the score is rugged, and seem to carry the weight of the world. Unlike Eschenbach, there are no obvious “dramatic” indulgences such as overemphasizing passages for effect, ala Bernstein or MTT. The Sieghart earns its power through the constant hypnotic building by playing the score straightforward…the one indulgence are the expansive tempos, yet the discourse is appealing and the awesome lower brass and percussion (not to mention the wonderful string playing), the performance never drags. The higher timbre of the flutes and other woodwinds are captured well on the wonderful high-ends of the sound picture (and doesn't tax the ear).

When I want a more exaggerated reading I will turn to the Eschenbach without hesitation. I didn’t much care for Eschenbach’s account on the first few listens, but the memory of the unique phrasing and tempo relationships stayed on my mind and grew on me, and on first hearing the SACD layer I got hooked. As fine as it is, the SACD layer of the Eschenbach is not as great as the Sieghart, but the interpretation is first rate, full of great ideas in shaping and dynamics. A favorite moment (in the Eschenbach) is the transition chorale between the march and Alma’s theme in the exposition of the first movement…it really works to slow this passage down and make much of the rather objective reflection here in the midst of the ongoing march. The tempo relationships in the Sieghart are more subtle. A highlight of Sieghart’s first movement is the execution of the Alma theme in both the exposition and the recapitulation…the tempo isn’t rushed but carefully sculpted, and the strings and horns are clearly heard within all the richness the score has to offer. The Arnhem strings easily hold their own when compared to the Philly strings, or any orchestra for that matter…they really rise to the occasion. The horns and trumpets exhibit resonating warmth and bite, whatever is needed they are there, ready to deliver...especially hear the fine blasts that punctuate the rhythm during the development of the 1st movement. The pluck of bass string and growling low brass that sets off the finale is menacing and rises like the lip of a dog bearing his teeth...Bravo!

The only drawback to the Sieghart is the availabilty...it can only be ordered from Japan (http://www.hmv.co.jp/index.asp)...but it is sooooo worth it. The Eschenbach is much easier to find, so go for this if you don't wish to order from Japan.

--Todd
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 06:45:21 PM by Leo K »

Offline akiralx

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2008, 06:22:01 AM »

The Sieghart seems to be available in Europe as well:

http://www.sa-cd.net/showtitle/2425

Splitting the work down the middle between discs, especially when putting the Scherzo second, makes this set less attractive to me though.

Offline barry guerrero

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2008, 06:54:49 PM »
"Do you have any recommendations as to your favorite M3s?"

I know you weren't asking me, but he's just a few of the ones that I really like:

Chailly/Concertgebouw (Decca sacd/cd hybrid); Haitink/Concertgebouw 1966 (Philips Originals; includes Haitink's decent "Das Klagende Lied"); Boulez/VPO (DG sacd/cd hybrid); Rattle/Birmingham (I think that this may be the very best item from Rattle's spotty cycle); Bernstein I (you can get this on a "much improved" SACD from Japan); Zinman/Tonhalle Zurich (RCA); Abbado/BPO (a good performance, but has a very limited dynamic range); Kobayashi/Czech Phil. (a rather expensive Japanese import); Ozawa/BSO (Philips - hugely underrated, but hard to find now): Levine/Chicago (RCA: available from Japan now, along with Levine's really good M4)

I'm not a huge fan of Bernstein's DG remake - it's simply too long for me. I prefer his earlier one. I also think that the Horenstein M3 sounds far better from the Brilliant Classics box (has that disappeared?) than the Unicorn-Kanchana pressing.

If you can find the 3 cd set of Neumann/Czech Phil. (M3 & M8); well, that's pretty darn good too.

 

Offline John Kim

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2008, 08:50:32 PM »
When I asked for recommendations of good recordings of M6, John Kim responded with Mariss Janson's RC0 recording of M6.
I just got my copy today, and I'd like to second very heartily John's recommendation.
The performance is so crisp and precise that I heard things in M6 that I had not heard before.
This was a live performance in 2005.  The 2 disc set also includes the world premiere recording of Hans Werner Henze's Sebastian im Traum (2003-04). 
If John Kim had not recommended this Janson, I might have continued to overlook it.
If you have a favorite recording of M6, please post it.
John H 
John,

I am glad you like the Jansons RCO M6th. I didn't warm up to it much when I heard it the first time (which was rather casual) but over the next several months as I paid close attention I became aware of the merit of the recording. It's not my top recommendation and that palm goes to the Levi, the live Tennstedt, and the old Bernstein, but overall it really ranks high up there. Another one to consider seriously but not available commercially is Haitink's live concert with LSO from 2004. As Todd and I have raved numerous times, this M6 is very slow but extremely powerful and utterly convincing thanks to conductor's ability to scale up the dramatic elements and measure the tempo, dynamics, and balance as perfectly as one can imagine. Further, the playing by LSO is second to none with absolute focus and concentration. This one is quite different than any other M6ths that Haitink had recorded or conducted before and therefore sounds all the more fresh and revelatory. It's definitely worth poking around.

John,

« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 08:52:17 PM by John Kim »

Offline John Kim

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2008, 10:31:15 PM »
Another reason why Haitink's M6th was so dramatically effective despite its slow speed was because throughout the score he phrased various sections in a very wide dynamic range, sometimes to the point of exaggerating the dynamic markings. If you revisit his early recordings with RCO and BPO, you'll never find such musicality. Got it? ::)

John,

Offline akiralx

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Re: What is your single "must-have on a desert island" Mahler work?
« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2008, 01:54:35 AM »

Do you have any recommendations as to your favorite M3s?

--John

CzPO/Kobayashi on Exton
VPO/Boulez on DG

and a couple of sleepers:

Dallas SO/Litton on Delos
Bav RSO/Kubelik on Audite

 

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