03-22-2014 In keeping with the uncontrollable urge to pick up a buck, record companies think they can present part-symphonies for money, due to the wildly popular slow movements from Romantic compositions, like the 9 Mahler Symphonies. Releasing only pieces of an entire Symphony certainly is pleasant, and very beautiful way to enjoy some of the most emotionally appealing music of the past Century and the early 21st, as well. But, and this is a big BUT----these clips do not---DO NOT replace the entire work. To understand Mahler and his language, one needs tyo hear the entire Symphony, with all the different and contrasting movements. Enough said, still I do love this 2 CD set from EMI, but I seldom play it because I want to continue to learn the composer's whole self, and for that, I need to listen to the complete work. However, some comments on this release are warranted.
EMI put this set togather in 2010 and I imagine it has sold well, due to the millions of global Mahlerites out there, both casual and rabid--like me! Some of the better and even best renditions can be found on this recording, and here are samples of just that.
For starters, Tennstedt leads the London Phil in the Symphony #3's Adagio--a Langsam of breath taking beauty running for 20:41, although I've heard better. A bit later in this review I'll give you MY choices, compared to the one's from EMI. I am totally unfamiliar with Paul Kletski, so I can't say yes or no to his contribution, but I do know some of the others, and here they are:
EMI CHOICES MY PICKS
SYM. #3--TENNSTEDT/LPO LEVINE------CSO (RCA)
SYM. 4---Kletsk/PHILHARMONIA TENNSTEDT/LPO
SYM. 5---BARBIROLI/PHILHARMONIA KARAJAN/BERLIN
SYM. 9----KLEMPERER/PHILHARMONIA GIULINI/CSO
SYM. 1----GIULINI/CSO WALTER/N.Y.PHIL.
SYM. 2---KLEMPERER/PHILHARMONIA HAITINK/CSO--OR--SLATKIN/ST. LOUIS
SYM. 6---BARBIROLI/PHILHARMONIS BARBIROLI/PHIL. -or--HAITINK/CSO
SYM. 7---TENNSTEDT/LPO TENNSTEDT/LPO
SYM. 10---RATTLE/BERLIN RATTLE/BERLIN--OR--MORRIS/LONDON
Noticeably absent from this "best of" list, both mine and EMI's are Solti, Bernstein, and Horenstein, with only minor contributions from Walter, Giulini and Rattle. But, I think they're better in the fast movements and have difficulty, perhaps sustaining tension and beauty in these long, rambling Adagios, but they are not poorly done, just not quite as good as those who did make the list. Anyhow, this is a fun and curious project and I might like to see a comparable litany done with Bruckner, Beethoven and maybe Dvorak, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky. At any rate, this is a good buy and at, currently, low price, but DO NOT avoid the entire works or you will be missing out on some terrific material, and as always my friends, best wishes and God bless you all, with much pleasing and happy listening, Tony.