Author Topic: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations  (Read 26150 times)

Offline gabyb

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2009, 08:06:02 AM »
I am doing it primarily for sound quality reasons, though the ability to get lots of music for very little money is another big plus.  I happen to have a good supplier of used classical vinyl, and have been able to build up a nice basic collection for the price of a few SACDs, and it'sd gotten me into composers, like Mahler, whom I might not have tried in the past.
On mp3 I just downloaded the following:

M2 Fischer

the sound really pales in comparison to the Kubelik on vinyl, which is to be expected I guess.
GB

I assume that if you are collecting vinyl, you're doing it for audiophile reasons. 

He might be doing it for poverty reasons...

I'm not a fan of Gergiev's Mahler though have only heard a couple - of recent M3s I'd try Boulez and MTT (the latter more interventionist).

Offline barry guerrero

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2009, 07:20:10 PM »
I can't comment on vinyl, as I haven't purchased much vinyl in the last few decades.

Again, I would urge you not to overlook the song cycles, particularly the "Des Knaben Wunderhorn". It serves as a thematic nursery for Mahler's earlier symphonies. The Ruckert Lieder and "Kindertotenlieder" are somewhat thematic nurseries for Mahler's middle group of symphonies. In his late period, Mahler simply creates a hybrid between symphonic and song cycle structures with "Das Lied von der Erde" - perhaps his single greatest contribution to the history of music (although, the 8th seems to be catching on more and more, and is a hybrid between symphony and oratorio structures).

M1 - I like the Zinman on RCA. It reminds me a bit of the old Kubelik, and comes with a flowing performance of "Blumine" as an addendum. I'm also very much looking forward to the DVD of Fabio Luisi/Staatskapelle Dresden doing M1, which comes out June 30th.

M2 - We've already discussed the Ivan Fischer one on Channel Classics. I also like the Euroarts (Medici Arts?) DVD with Boulez conducting the Staatskapelle Berlin. Klemperer is well worth hearing in M2. Even though it wasn't issued as an sacd/cd hybrid, I do like the recent Eschenbach/Philly one (Ondine). Philly just plays fabulously on it.

M3 - I would get the Chailly/Concertgebouw one on the sacd/cd hybrid. I contains all the weight and power that the 3rd should have, but without dragging its feet along the way. There are so many that simply lose momentum in the latter movements. The DVD with Abbado/Lucern Fest. Orch. is also outstanding. The Boulez/VPO sacd/cd hybrid is quite good also.

M4 - The new Fischer M4 is great. Miah Persson is excellent. But so is Kaune on the Zdenek Macal/Czech Phil. M4 from Exton. If money is no object for you, I strongly recommend the Macal. But the Fischer is plenty good as well.

M5 - Again, if money is no object, I guess I would go with the Marcus Stenz M5 on ABC Classics. You get that from Buywell in Austrailia (or is it New Zealand?). Anyway, they're easy to find on-line. I really love the Karajan 5th as well, but be sure to get it on the DG Originals remastering. The old Barbirolli is certainly worth hearing. Chailly/Concertgebouw are real solid in the 5th as well.

M6 - We've already discussed the Zinman. I would urge you to consider getting the companion DVD, "Going Against Fate". That set comes with a "redbook" disc of the complete recording (in other words, sans SACD layer). There's a decent M6 dvd with Abbado/L.F.O. on Medici Arts as well. Boulez/VPO on DG is highly recommendable too. If you happen to stumble upon the T. Sandeling/St. Petersburg Phil. one, grab it! It has become almost impossible to find (RS label). Eschenbach/Philly is another stunning sacd/cd hybrid. It's the only performance with a dragged-out Andante movement that I can stand listening to. Again, Philly just plays the pants off of the piece.

M7 - I like the Barenboim/Staatskapelle Berlin one on Warner Classics. But again, if money ain't no object, you may want to consider Macal/Czech Phil. on Exton. The 7th was premiered in Prague, and the CPO sound completely at home with this work.

M8 - wait for the MTT/SFSO one. That's a work that MTT has done numerous times, and does very well. Unless he dragged tempi too much this last time around, it should be quite a show. He even took it on-the-road to Lucerne a couple of summers ago. Otherwise, try getting the Rattle one on the DVD-A disc (actually, it's a plain DVD w/o the video component). Don't bother with the plain "redbook" disc of the Rattle. If you were to pick up the Bertini box, the 8th would be one of the highlights of that set (along with the "DLvdE" with Ben Heppner/Marjana Lipovsek). If you want to hear an "event" from St. Paul's Cathedral, check out the Gergiev M8 that LSO Live just issued. Our moderator really loves it in SACD.

M9 - Karajan, of course (Karajan Gold). Also get the sacd/cd hybrid of Chailly/Conertgebouw on Decca. Perhaps my personal favorite is the decadent sounding - partly because of the rich, "chocolaty" sound of the Staatskapelle Dresden - Sinopoli one on Profil. For a single disc, I really like the Barenboim on Warner.

Das Lied - Michelle De Young/Eiji Oue/Minnesota S.O. on Reference Recordings - that one is really well sung, and the sonics are excellent. Also get the Philips "twofer" of Mahler song cycles that has the Janet Baker/James King/Haitink "DLvdE". It also comes with a really good Kindertotenlieder, sung by Herman Prey. The Ludwig/Wunderlich/Klemperer "Das Lied" on EMI is essential as well.

M10 (Cooke version) - as I mentioned, I personally like the Noseda one on Chandos best for Cooke. I'm not as wild about the Michael Gielen one as some folks are. But it does have its strong moments. I also like Ormandy/Philly (Sony), and the new DG one with Harding/Vienna Phil. If you go for the Rattle/Berlin one, try to find it on the DVD-Audio disc.

M10 (Carpenter version) - this is far more controversial, as Carpenter pushes Mahler's ouvre towards the more "expressionistic" sound world of Berg's "Three Pieces For Orch.", and "Wozzeck". I really like it, as it's much more filled-out sounding than Cooke. The Litton/Dallas S.O. recording on Delos is outstanding; fabulously played, and beautifully recorded. I like it so much that I own two copies (one as a spare back-up).
« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 01:24:10 AM by barry guerrero »

Offline Amphissa

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2009, 08:24:27 PM »

Now that you've found this Mahler board, I'll throw in my comments here.

I think you will find that Bernstein's various traversals of Mahler are more highly regarded here - and among Mahlerites generally - than they are among the inmates of the asylum.

There are many, many fine recordings, and I'll not argue with any of the suggestions made so far.

However, I do highly recommend the DVD set by Bernstein. People may disagree as to the relative merits of any one performance in the set compared to CDs or LPs. But there's no arguing that Lenny brought much visibility to Mahler and represented a unique voice in interpreting the music. But the reason for the DVD set is - there is an added power to the visual aspect of these performances. And the documentary features, including Bernstein's famous "Four Ways to Say Farewell" as part of the rehearsal videos for the 9th, are valuable in getting a feel for the emotional power of Mahler's music.

On vinyl -- I'm not a big fan of Haitink's later recordings of anything, but his early recordings of Mahler with the Concertgebouw tend to be better. You will find that Horenstein is probably the most controversial of the conductors of Mahler, and I imagine I'll invoke the wrath of his critics here by mentioning that some of his recordings (on vinyl of course) are worth hearing. Many of Tennstedt's recordings are also available on vinyl, as are Klemperer's and Karajan's. And as you've already discovered, I know, Walter and Mengelberg LPs are worthwhile.

Best of luck in your explorations.
"Life without music is a mistake." Nietzsche

Offline sbugala

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2009, 12:22:05 AM »
Others have mentioned so many other fine ones on CD that I'll stick to LP choices.

I like Haitink's cycle on vinyl, which sounds quite fine on LP. 

Here's some other ones I enjoy:, for both sound and interpretation:
M1: Slatkin/SLSO
M2: Slatkin/SLSO
M3: Mehta/LAPO
M4: Kletzki/Philharmonia
M5: Mehta/LAPO is my favorite on LP, but Karajan on LP sounds good, too
M6: I really don't have one on LP
M7: Either vinyl Haitink,
M8: see M6
M9: Karajan's first one, Ancerl, Haitink

Out of curiosity, what kind of vinyl rig do you have? Mine's nothing fancy. Just a Dual 1219 with a vintage Grado cart and Grado phono preamp.  But it's brought a lot of music to life.

Steve





Offline Amphissa

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2009, 01:10:51 AM »

I have a Clearaudio Champion with a couple of upgrades, a Clearaudio Ebony arm, and Clearaudio Maestro Wood MM cartridge, running through a Heed Quasar phono stage with separate power supply.

I can't figure out how to upload pictures from my hard drive here, but this guy has one just like mine, except I have a heavier silver spindle weight, and I don't have that cool blue running light. Gotta get me one of those ----- NOT!

By the way, I bought all this stuff used on Audiogon. I never would have been able to afford anything comparable new. Poor audiophile hardware geeks. They buy stuff, plug and play in different configurations, and then get the urge to try something different.

Sometimes I feel a little guilty taking advantage of their affliction. Sometimes. A little. Well, not really.  ;D
 

 
"Life without music is a mistake." Nietzsche

Offline Amphissa

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2009, 01:18:00 AM »
Steve, is that Dual turntable an idler wheel drive? A direct drive? I'm really lusting after a nice vintage table to set up with a mono cartridge for playing mono records. The old Garrard 301s are way too expensive. Maybe I should look at the old Duals. That 1219 is a really nice looking table.

But this guy needs to clean his records! Good grief!


« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 01:23:12 AM by Amphissa »
"Life without music is a mistake." Nietzsche

Offline bluesbreaker

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2009, 01:51:00 AM »
Don't forget the few recordings by Tabakov and Sofia PO. Actually they have a Mahler set but overall it's quite poor (Barry would agree). For me, the M7 and M9 are the absolute highlights of that set. In fact, just as good as the best ones out there. And someone mentioned the "mysterious" side of M9. This Tabakov recording is just that. The Andante is sooo ghostly!
Under The Dark Side Of The Glass Moon

Offline sbugala

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2009, 02:42:15 AM »
Steve, is that Dual turntable an idler wheel drive? A direct drive? I'm really lusting after a nice vintage table to set up with a mono cartridge for playing mono records. The old Garrard 301s are way too expensive. Maybe I should look at the old Duals. That 1219 is a really nice looking table.

But this guy needs to clean his records! Good grief!





Yes, the 1219 is an idler wheel.  Initially, I was skeptical of it offering a good sound since idler wheels are hardly made anymore. But I think I'm on the bandwagon...they bring out more "slam" (lively bass).

That picture of the 1219 is puzzling because the screws are up.  They should be screwed into the plinth.  Weird.

The Clearaudio rig looks sweet. Perhaps I'll post a picture of my 1219.

I've given a lot of thought of having a second table just for mono records with a mono cart. Some say it's just as easy to have a mono swith on a receiver, but since I don't have that option, the mono cart might be the way to go.  I've never heard a Garrard 301 or a Thorens 124, but they're supposed to be something very special. However, since demand is so high on those, I think the Dual is an affordable alternative.  Just be mindful to get one in good working order. I've never bought from him, but there's a gentleman on another board who seems very trustworthy with a site called: http://www.fixmydual.com/.  Otherwise, see what you can find on Craigslist.

Steve






Offline Amphissa

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2009, 03:10:01 AM »
I'm not an expert, but from what I've read and heard from those who know, the separate mono table is the way to go. At least for the older, pre-stereo mono records. Those records had larger grooves and the styli used to play back those records were made differently from the styli made for stereo and stereo-compatible records. The stylus tracking a mono groove only moved back and forth, sideways in the groove. The stereo LPs had narrower grooves and the styli moved not only horizontally, but also vertically. So they cartridges, cantilevers and styli were built differently. Another actor is arm and cartridge weight. Mono cartridges were heavier, and they were mounted on heavier arms. If you look at the weight of a mono cartridge, it is often quite heavy. The Denon 102, for example, is 13gr. Well, geez, most arms on most modern turntables are designed for cartridges weighing half that. Even a 1980s Denon turntable has to be modified to mount their own mono cartridge.

The end result is, when you play a mono record with a stereo stylus, yes you will hear sound, but the audio will sound thin and lack bass definition, and the vertical movement of the stylus can degrade the audio as well. Simply flipping a mono switch will not address any of those factors.

As I say, I'm not an expert. That's just what I've read/heard. But it sounds reasonable to me.

Yep, idler tables are all the rage now. Better bass and pacing than belts -- or so they say. I'm really happy with my table, though, so I'm going to stick with it for awhile. But a nice idler for mono -- that would be very nice and perfectly appropriate.

This guy has kept his 1219 in pristine condition. Beautiful.


"Life without music is a mistake." Nietzsche

Offline barry guerrero

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2009, 04:02:23 AM »
Beautiful photos, guys. Now on to Tabakov: yes, I very much like most of Tabakov's cycle. I just wish that they had been better recorded. M2 and M8 seem to be the only true duds from Tabakov, but they're also HUGE duds.

Barry


Offline gabyb

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #25 on: June 20, 2009, 07:09:16 AM »
Thanks Barry for that list of recs, I'll make it a point to listen to the song cycles.  I already have a few of them added as filler on some of my recordings, so I'll start there.  Could you say a little more about why you think Das Lied is Mahler's most important contribution to the history of music?  Or did you mean generally his hybrid of symphony and song cycle?  Also, could you say a little more about what else there is to this hybrid other than the reuse of melodic material?
To the person lacking a mono button, you can easily turn your stereo signal into a mono signal by using 2 Y-connectors, so you go from 2-1 and then from 1-2, eliminating the second channel in the process.  You can do a search on vinyl asylum for the exact details.  It won't achieve any of what amphyssa was talking about, but it will eliminate a lot of extra noise, and will give a more robust, centered image. 
As to my gear, I have a fairly modest Pro-ject Debut 3, which I bought to test the waters, and so far, as you say too, it's brought huge amounts of music into my life (and my family's).  I'll eventually get something more serious, but at the moment the rest of my system needs a serious upgrade.
About the DVD issues:  Are they different performances, or is it primarily for the visual component that people recommend them?  Is it the kind of thing you watch more than a couple of times?  I ask because my video store has a nice selection of classical DVDs.  Also, how's the sound on the DVDs without video component?

Thanks

Gaby

Offline gabyb

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2009, 08:28:48 AM »
BTW, what do you all think of the Walter/Ferrier Das Lied and KTL?  Those are the ones I have for the moment, plus Barbirolli's Ruckert songs and Furt/F-Dieskau Wanderer's Songs.

Offline Amphissa

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #27 on: June 20, 2009, 03:45:26 PM »

About the DVD issues:  Are they different performances, or is it primarily for the visual component that people recommend them?  Is it the kind of thing you watch more than a couple of times?  I ask because my video store has a nice selection of classical DVDs.  Also, how's the sound on the DVDs without video component?


The DVD set does not exactly duplicate any CD set. The DVD performances include Lenny conducting the Vienna Philharmonic and other European orchestras. It pretty much corresponds to the CD set that contains performances with those same orchestras. But there are some differences. For example, in the CD set, the performance of the 8th symphony is from a performance in Salzburg. The 8th in the DVD set is the same orchestra and singers, but from a performance in Vienna. The 8th is not my favorite of Mahler's symphonies, but the one on DVD is one of the strongest performances in the DVD set.

As for audio and video quality -- these performances were recorded in the 1970s. So these will never be confused with Blu-ray. But they were remastered for release as a box set, and they are overall very good. The audio to an extent depends, of course, on the audio of your DVD player. Universal players do play a lot of different formats, but some not as well as others. But generally, these DVDs would sound about like the CDs of the same performances on most systems, I'd think. I can only say that they sound and look glorious on my home theater rig.

The other difference from CDs is the documentary features, which I do not think are available on CD.

And I would not say that the difference between the CD and the DVD is JUST the visual. That (to me) suggests the visual is not significant. I tend to disagree with that notion. I think the visual makes a big difference in our *experience* of music. Just as smell makes a big difference in our enjoyment of food or drink. For example, I can't stand opera on CD or LP. But I really enjoy seeing/hearing it live and on DVD. Just like live symphony concerts vs CD recordings. Being present for a live concert is a more "whole" experience. No matter how technically perfect the recording, a recording is not the same as being there for a live performance. Video is not the same as being there in the concert hall, but it can be a lot closer to that experience than a CD. (It can also be worse than CD, if the video is very badly filmed.)

All of this is just my opinion, of course. I like Bernstein better than some people, but I do not put him on a pedestal. Some of his interpretations can be over-indulgent. And there is much to be said for Lenny's earlier Mahler cycle with the New York Philharmonic.

If you have a TV connected to your stereo rig that would enable you to hear and see the DVDs at their best, I'd say this is a very good way to become familiar with Mahler. If you do not, and plan to stick to CDs and LPs, I would say you can pass on the DVDs. However, if you ever decide to buy the Bernstein cycle with the Vienna Philharmonic, you may want to consider the DVDs in case you ever do have a video setup later to enjoy these performances at their best. The DVD set is actually a bit less expensive than the box CD set, if you are buying new.

"Life without music is a mistake." Nietzsche

Offline barry guerrero

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2009, 12:18:54 AM »
I want to back-track and try to answer some of your earlier questions. As Amphissa has pointed out, the DVDs are nearly always different performances than what gets issued on CD. The Boulez M2 with from Berlin's Philharmonie - with the Staatskapelle Berlin - is an excellent example of that (his DG recording is with the VPO). On my stereo, the DVDs generally have very good sound, and usually have several different playback options (such as 5.1 DTS).

I only know one K. Ferrier Mahler recording, and that's the famous "DLvdE" with Bruno Walter from the '50s on Decca. I've never cared for that one - even the very first time I heard it. I've never understand why that one is so highly regarded. For Walter, I prefer the '36 one with Kirsten Thorborg, or, better yet, the under-rated stereo one with the N.Y. Phil. My understanding is that the "live" Ferrier/Walter "DLvdE" is supposed to be better. Dave Hurwitz has actually said good things about the Ferrier/Walter "KTL". But I have so many good "KTL" recordings now, that I'm certainly not going to worry about Ferrier's. Generally speaking, I'm not a huge fan of "historical" Mahler recordings.

I've got to give up the computer now.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 12:14:59 AM by barry guerrero »

Offline sperlsco

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Re: New Here, New to Mahler, Would love some Recommendations
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2009, 10:00:43 PM »
[The DVD set does not exactly duplicate any CD set. The DVD performances include Lenny conducting the Vienna Philharmonic and other European orchestras. It pretty much corresponds to the CD set that contains performances with those same orchestras. But there are some differences. For example, in the CD set, the performance of the 8th symphony is from a performance in Salzburg. The 8th in the DVD set is the same orchestra and singers, but from a performance in Vienna. The 8th is not my favorite of Mahler's symphonies, but the one on DVD is one of the strongest performances in the DVD set.


On Lennie's DVD set:  I believe that only the DLvdE and M2 are potentially duplicates of CD issues (and Sony ones at that).  As I mentioned in a recent and different thread, the ending of M2 has a completely different sound mix.  The others symphonies are all done with the VPO IIRC and I do not believe that any of them have a commercial CD counterpart.  Lennie re-recorded certain symphonies with the VPO for his cycle on the DG label in the 80's (the DVD's are from the 70's).  Also IIRC, the DVD v. CD M8 have slightly different casts (my memory tells me that 2 soloists are different).  The M8 CD "features" some of Lennie's best foot stomping. 
Scott

 

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