Author Topic: Top 5 M6  (Read 19001 times)

Offline Leo K

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Top 5 M6
« on: November 28, 2008, 02:39:41 AM »
Because I'm not doing much this thanksgiving season (except lots of school work), I thought I'd gather my M6 library together and hear what my favorites are as of the end of this year.  After a couple weeks of M6 bliss...here are the ones that most impressed me...I'll stick to commercial recordings this time:

1. Bernstein/VPO/DG (Extraordinary...more than I realized.  Hearing Eschenbach inspired me to return to the ol' sturm and drang M6...and this Bernstein really beats all in this dept...when it comes down to brass tax, I love this kind of playing for the M6 the most)

2. Sanderling/St.Petersburg (A great balance between sturm and drang, and the classical idealization the M6 tries to be)

3. Bertini/KRSO/EMI (Just really love the flow and the details...one after another details just flash out and dissapear into the grand structure unfolding before our ears...the andante here is alone worth the price of admission...another great finale as well)

4. Horenstein/Bournmouth/BBC Legends (Never heard such an objective vision for this work, very unique...and like Bertini the details really draw me into the overall work...the scherzo is particulary good...sadly the finale doesn't quite live up to what the performance was building towards...but very interesting, and keeps me returning regardless, like the allure of an unfinished Cezanne painting)

5. Karajan/BPO/DG (Love the refined sound here...develops a different mood altogether for the usually dark and heroic M6...a unique sound world is presented...full of grand space, and glacier-like coolness)


These are truly the creme of the crop in my listening room...especially the Bernstein.  Revisting this recording was a revelation the other night, and I relistened tonight to make sure...but I truly feel this is one of the most incredible performances of anything I've heard.  Favorite moments include:

--The trumpet near the beginning of the development in I...truly sounding like the cry of the universe.

--The tam tam in all the movements (the darkest I've heard...Sanderling does come close though).

--The cowbells

--The flow of the Scherzo despite the upheaval in tempo...somehow it really works.  Also the high piercing piccolo...wow.  Gielen is great here as well.

--The andante is a showstopper...the VPO at their best.  And I kinda like to hear the andante slower... :o

--The Finale actually sounds scary, and dangerious...again thanks to the VPO...what execution, they really sing this symphony through and through.


--Todd

« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 05:01:47 AM by Leo K »

Offline John Kim

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2008, 08:08:04 AM »
Todd,

I am not all that hot about Lenny's VPO version. Over the years I have repeatedly said I don't care for Lenny's rather blazing treatment of the first movt. and I'd still stick with the verdict. I am saying this because the rest of the symphony, II.-IV. are rendered very differently and in many ways 'correctly'. That is, Lenny goes after steady, heavy tempo and well balanced orchestral timber. But this is precisely what's not persued in the opening movt. The timings also suggest Lenny's inconsistent and contrasting views in the outer movts.: I - 23 min, IV. - 34 min. Even the playing by VPO is somewhat uneven and insecure in I. For these reasons, I prefer his old NYPO recording on Sony.

As for the Karajan/BPO/DG, I'd endorse III. and IV. but can't live with the first two movts. I'd have liked I. if it had been for the coda which is dashed at a break neck speed losing much of the gravitas and impact that Karajan and his players have managed to pile on up to that point. The Scherzo is not well organized and lacks focus.

Regards,

John,

Offline vvrinc

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2008, 04:14:54 PM »
Maybe, on another thread, a member here can explain to me what is it that I am missing about Horenstein’s Mahler. I have found them all dreadfully performed. Was there not enough rehearsal time? Also, did he approve all of the releases or were many done posthumously?

Offline Leo K

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2008, 11:50:03 PM »
Todd,

I am not all that hot about Lenny's VPO version. Over the years I have repeatedly said I don't care for Lenny's rather blazing treatment of the first movt. and I'd still stick with the verdict. I am saying this because the rest of the symphony, II.-IV. are rendered very differently and in many ways 'correctly'. That is, Lenny goes after steady, heavy tempo and well balanced orchestral timber. But this is precisely what's not persued in the opening movt. The timings also suggest Lenny's inconsistent and contrasting views in the outer movts.: I - 23 min, IV. - 34 min. Even the playing by VPO is somewhat uneven and insecure in I. For these reasons, I prefer his old NYPO recording on Sony.

I once fell out of favor with this M6...same with the Karajan...yet upon returning after a long break I discovered that yes, I feel these accounts reveal the spirit of the M6 more than any other I've heard.  And I may add...perhaps it is the nostalgia of first hearing these particular recordings when I was first discovering Mahler that draws me to them?  For me, it's the trumpet cry in the development of I that keeps me returning to the Bernstein...yes, it may be somewhat over the top...but it is so powerful and dramatic I forget about everything but the music.   

As for capturing the spirit of the M6...I'd also include the Haitink live LSO M6 that was never released...the most balanced M6 possibly.

Quote
As for the Karajan/BPO/DG, I'd endorse III. and IV. but can't live with the first two movts. I'd have liked I. if it had been for the coda which is dashed at a break neck speed losing much of the gravitas and impact that Karajan and his players have managed to pile on up to that point. The Scherzo is not well organized and lacks focus.



I don't mind the tempo rush at the coda in Karajan's 1st movement...it adds a false note to the heroic sounding passage that feels real to the mood of the work as a whole. 



--Todd

Offline Jules

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2008, 03:43:59 AM »
Mitropoulos / WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln: my favourite one, with no doubt. In my opinion, no other conductor has reached such heights of expression: I like his perforating sonorities, which I find especially fitting to this work.

Adler / Wiener Symphoniker: I still love the sound of some pioneers...

Barbirolli / New Philharmonia.

Szell / Cleveland.

Horenstein / Stockholm. This was one of the first versions of this work I ever heard, and I still remain very affectionate to it, although it seems that the other Horensteins' performance (with Bournemouth) is preferable.

Offline achri-d

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2008, 08:17:33 AM »
My ideal M6 used to be 1.mvt Chailly, 2&3.mvt Gielen, and 4.mvt Eschenbach (Philadelphia). Lately I have listened much to T. Sanderling. In addition there are some parts of Boulez M6, especially at the end of the 1.mvt that no other M6 matches in my opinion. My list will therefore - and for the moment - be something like:

1-3: T.Sanderling, Chailly&Gielen.
4-5: Eschenbach&Boulez.

and a runner up is Barbirolli/New Ph.


Offline sbugala

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2008, 05:38:53 PM »
I'm psyched about seeing this documentary.  After all, how often is Mahler the focus of a movie?  I was hoping a local film festival would show it this year, but that's sadly not the case.

I've mentioned it before, but even though I'm no big Berlioz fan, Zinman will do the Damnation of Faust here in April.  I genuinely like Zinman, but he never does a work I like when he guest conducts.  Of course, maybe if I go, he'll make me a convert. 

If the music gods are listening...how about a Zinman led Mahler symphony for the SLSO 09-10 season? What do I win if I "call it?"

I don't know if I even have 5 versions of the M6, but I like both Bernstein versions and the Chailly.  I have Karajan's, and there are parts I admire, but I can never get over the weird sound.  I also have Bertini's, which I think is okay. I'll have to listen to it again, but my initial thoughts were you could kinda tell it was one of the early ones in his cycle.  I'll have to re-evaluate that, though.


Offline Don

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2008, 04:06:58 AM »
I heartily endorse the Sanderling St Petersburg M 6. Wonderful performance, dramatic without being hysterical as Leo mentioned. A wonderful, flowing, well presented performance.
M10 Fanatic!

Offline alpsman

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2008, 08:44:15 AM »
Quote
Maybe, on another thread, a member here can explain to me what is it that I am missing about Horenstein’s Mahler. I have found them all dreadfully performed. Was there not enough rehearsal time? Also, did he approve all of the releases or were many done posthumously?


vvrinc,
you are right. The playing in all these releases of Horenstein M performances is very bad, as are the recordings. As for his music making, this considered to be somehow authentic vienesse and central-european, something that i can not thing so much.
But the journalistic( especially the british one, of course) group estimated him too high. The same as Barbiroli's Mahler, and I see with great satisfaction the opinions of David Hurwitz, who values Barbi's Mahler with scores like 2.

Offline Leo K

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2008, 03:10:03 PM »
Quote
Maybe, on another thread, a member here can explain to me what is it that I am missing about Horenstein’s Mahler. I have found them all dreadfully performed. Was there not enough rehearsal time? Also, did he approve all of the releases or were many done posthumously?


vvrinc,
you are right. The playing in all these releases of Horenstein M performances is very bad, as are the recordings.

Horenstein's commercial releases of M1/LSO, M4/LSO, and M9/VO are quite good though...no scrappy playing here.  Yes, on some of the live M9's there are problems with the playing (yet the Music and Arts M9 is quite execellant), but listen to his live M8, where the playing is excellant.  And of course his famous M3/LSO is fine as well.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess  ;)

--Todd

Offline akiralx

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2008, 05:27:46 AM »

Cleveland/Dohnanyi: probably my favourite M6, a fairly straight interpretation with superb playing and real depth to the sound.  Lots of detail brought out but the whole conception is not undermined.

Offline Russell

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2008, 08:37:41 AM »
I still like Boulez (DG), Fischer (Channel), and even MTT (SFS).  (The M6 was what got me into classical music in the first place--it was the Leinsdorf/BSO recording, which still holds up pretty well; it is--or was--available on a good-sounding Japanese RCA CD.)

A couple of people on Audio Asylum have highly recommended the Cortese/Manhattan School of Music recording on Titanic, both for performance and sonics.  Has anyone here heard it?

Russell

Offline merlin

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2008, 10:01:50 AM »
Is the original Bernstein/VPO/DGG disc the same one as in the 2005 reissue as MAHLER II. The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon Vol. II. Symphonies Nos. 5-7?

Offline Leo K

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2008, 03:39:42 PM »
Is the original Bernstein/VPO/DGG disc the same one as in the 2005 reissue as MAHLER II. The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon Vol. II. Symphonies Nos. 5-7?

Yup  :)

Offline Leo K

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Re: Top 5 M6
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2008, 04:01:52 PM »
I still like Boulez (DG), Fischer (Channel), and even MTT (SFS).  (The M6 was what got me into classical music in the first place--it was the Leinsdorf/BSO recording, which still holds up pretty well; it is--or was--available on a good-sounding Japanese RCA CD.)

A couple of people on Audio Asylum have highly recommended the Cortese/Manhattan School of Music recording on Titanic, both for performance and sonics.  Has anyone here heard it?

Russell

Thanks for the heads up on the Boulez...have to revist that one...and perhaps the MTT as well.