Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Amazon Add to Cart
skyvo-direct Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available


Boulez Conducts Mahler (DG box set) [Box set]

Pierre Boulez Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 46.16 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 2 left in stock.
Sold by Fulfillment Express and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 14 July? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Amazon's Pierre Boulez Store


Image of album by Pierre Boulez


Image of Pierre Boulez


“. . . the great artist Pierre Boulez is making more relaxed and more sovereign music than ever before.”
Die Zeit, Hamburg
Pierre Boulez was born in 1925 in Montbrison, France. He first studied mathematics, then music at the Paris Conservatory, where his teachers included Olivier Messiaen and René Leibowitz. In 1954, ... Read more in Amazon's Pierre Boulez Store

Visit Amazon's Pierre Boulez Store
for 169 albums, 9 photos, discussions, and more.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product details

  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 14
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B004NO5HLG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,868 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

See all items

Customer Reviews

4 star
2 star
1 star
4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE ANYWAY 20 Oct 2013
Format:Audio CD
The complete mahlerian cycle led by Pierre Boulez (recorded within 2 decades between 1994 and 2011) is now available in a subtle-seized though graceful box (14 CDs with a new essay) at a very bargain price.
Boulez's is undoubtedly a very different Mahler than many other conductors'.
Above all it stands as the opposite than Bernstein's, notwithstanding Boulez employed for the majority of works the same orchestra Lenny did (Wiener Philharmoniker).
Since this cycle had started, many critics argued Boulez were too.. cold and rational for really going deep into Mahler's world.

While I understand these arguments, I partially disagree from them.
Indeed the main feature one meets in Boulez's Mahler could be summed up in the extraordinary orchestral transparency and clearness he got in every work.
This is not at all a mahlerian rendition indulging in late-romantic and sharply emotional peaks, while it never fails to brightly disclose both the structural and orchestral framework in its entirety.
It goes without saying the outcome could sound leaning toward .. cool, still I feel it's an amazing experience anyway and I doubt Mahler had ultimately disagreed from it.

The same Boulez pointed out in many interviews his approach to Mahler by observing - as it's well acknowledged - these are works overflowing with a plenty of highly emotional passages and elements borrowed from a lot of different even ordinary sources of inspiration, of course something no conductor is allowed to overlook.
Still Boulez underlines - in his opinion the conductor needs "to organize" such a varied and.. high-voltage content in a way the uniform structure and texture of the music should possibly avoid to be missed into a flood of uncontrolled emotional ideas.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The 'Notes' and the Music? 7 Feb 2014
Format:Audio CD
Hans Keller, probably the twentieth century's most astute (and acerbic) auditor, wrote, `Pierre Boulez, pace his truly fantastic ear, is incapable of hearing a harmonic rhythm as you and I instinctively know it - does not, in fact, know what a phrase is, and has never phrased anything in his life, all the less so since his own music [...] doesn't stand in need of phrasing anyway.' (Criticism, 140-141)

Moreover, Keller explicitly condoned the views of George Malcolm (harpsichordist and conductor) that `... the act of composition did not finish with the composer having put down his score on paper - a genuinely creative point of view with which I [Keller] absolutely concur. Even the greatest scores, seemingly executed to untouchable perfection, have upon occasions, served as backgrounds for meticulously logical re-creative - no, creative foregrounds. ... with the result that the [intention] was defined far more weightily than any performance that followed the letter of the score more conscientiously.' (Hans Keller, Criticism, London, 1987, 158)

To this we may add an anecdote the iconoclastic Romanian conductor, Sergiu Celibidache, enjoyed quoting; he would quote a remark of Gustav Mahler: on asking himself rhetorically, `What is contained in a score?' - Mahler would answer, `Everything but the essential!'

Herbert von Karajan was of similar persuasion: `What they say about Toscanini, that he is right because he plays the music as written, this is nonsense! Music only provides us with hints. Music breathes by itself. If we entrust someone with the playing of a thing, we must know it is his playing of it.' (Vaughan, 208)

Unsurprisingly, these insights were also expressed by the doyen of those who let us know that it was `his playing of it': Leopold Stokowski.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The whole is better than the sum of its parts 21 Dec 2013
By B. Guerrero - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Life is good. In fact, it's great. Besides the intelligent layout of the complete Boulez Mahler (including ALL of the song cycles, "Das Klagende Lied", "Totenfeier" - everything), the really good news is that the earlier releases in the cycle that DIDN'T receive the Emil Berliner Studios treatment - whatever the heck that means! - have now received the E.B. Studios treatment and sound significantly better. The upshot of all that is that I can now not just tolerate, but actually enjoy the Boulez "Das Lied von der Erde" - the one release in the cycle that was, for me, a big problem child.

In the orginal release of "DLvdE", Urmana was placed too far forward in the recording's perspective, and practically blew me out of the room at the movement's vocal climax near the end. All that has been corrected. I still think Urmana over-sings there slightly, but she's tolerable. In fact, she's now much easier for me to listen to AND enjoy. And for whatever reason, there's much more of the tam-tam (orchestral gong) throughout the funereal, orchestral interlude in "der Abschied" (the final movement).

I haven't checked out everything yet. I listened to the "Resurrection" symphony (#2) earlier. And while the end still has too little organ, the alternating salvos between the two tam-tams (low and higher pitched) and the three 'tiefe glocken' - tubular chimes, in this instance - couldn't possibly sound clearer - the full Boulez treatment, in other words. Needless to say, the Vienna brass section has a field day throughout M2. I like Boulez's zippier than usual tempo for the second movement - it really sets up that marvelous passage for pizzicato strings a la J. Strauss. Equally needless to state, is that the entire Boulez cycle is blessed with fantastic playing from the Chicago Sympyhony, Cleveland Orchestra and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras. Many of the vocalists are among the biggest names in the business. I'm particular fond of tenor Johann Botha's work on Mahler's thankless tenor part in the 8th symphony. He's also effectively employed in Boulez's "Das Klagende Lied".

The accompanying booklet comes with all the track listings, all of the credits, all of the lyrics for all of the vocal works, and a new and interesting essay by Wolfgang Staehr. That's just an FYI.

Ok, OK, I can hear many of you protesting that one can get better 'interpretations' (hate that word) by mixing and matching various recordings. That goes without saying. But for a comprehensive Mahler box that includes darn near everything, Boulez is hard to beat. Especially for the price. Here's the layout:

Disc 1: Mahler 1; Totenfeier (C.S.O.)
Disc 2: Mahler 2 (V.P.O.)
Disc 3: Mahler 3, mvts. 1-3
Disc 4: Mahler 3: mvts. 4-6; Das Klagende Lied (2 mvt. revised version) (V.P.O.)
Disc 5: M4 (Cleveland)
Disc 6: M5 (V.P.O.)
Disc 7: M6 (V.P.O.)
Disc 8: M7 (Cleveland)
Disc 9: M8, Part I
Disc 10 M8, Part II (Berlin Staatskapelle, recorded in the Jesus Christus Kirche)
Disc 11: M9 (C.S.O.)
Disc 12: Des Knaben Wunderhorn; M10 Adagio (Cleveland)
Disc 13: 3 short song cycles: Wayfahrer songs; Ruckert Lieder; Kindertotenlieder (V.P.O.)
Disc 14: Das Lied von der Erde (V.P.O.)

As I'm writing this, I'm listening to M3. It now sounds every bit as good as my SACD hybrid version of this - maybe even better in red book stereo. Let's talk about comparisons.

Obviously, any 'dye in the wool' Mahlerian should have some incarnation of Bernstein in Mahler (Sony or DG). For me, Gary Bertini (EMI) offers the clarity and precision of Boulez, crossed with a more innate, 'let's live for the moment' feel of a Bernstein. He brings us the best of both worlds (or at worst, a meeting of the two). But Bertini's box offers no bells or whistles other than the M10 Adagio and a very good "DLvdE". Worse, EMI broke Bertini's M4 across two discs. The Chailly/Concertgebouw box (Decca) is very good and includes a fine Mahler 10 in the Cooke performing version. But Chailly is bringing us even more vital performances on DVD from Leipzig these days (the Gewandhaus being his current orchestra). The Simon Rattle box doesn't include his remake of Mahler 9 from Berlin (and undoubtedly, Rattle will re-record many of the others). Nor does it have his fine Berlin remake of M2.

For a true complete-ist, EMI's Complete Mahler Edition gives us an interesting mix of different conductors, orchestras and vocalists. It's even more complete than Boulez in that it includes the early songs of Mahler, as well as a complete M10 in the Cooke version (Rattle/BPO). However, I feel that the Boulez box is more consistent in terms of sound quality, and a bit more consistent in the performances of the symphonies themselves. Others may feel differently, and I wish to make it clear that I very much like EMI's all encompassing box. At the very least, DG and Boulez's, 'modern box for modern times' approach should receive serious consideration. Merry Christmas indeed.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the casual Mahlerian 27 Jan 2014
By George Grella - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Boulez's Mahler, in box set form, is easily the most inconsistent one on the market. But it's Boulez and Mahler, so a self-identified Mahlerian should have it, and it is worthwhile for the involved, attentive listener.

Boulez does some many things right, some things indifferently and a few things wrong. The playing is always top-shelf, but the interpretations are all over the place, not only across symphonies but within them.

The works that are solid to outstanding are the Wunderhorn symphonies and all the vocal symphonies in general; the 2nd, 4th and 8th are excellent and many will find them their favorite versions. No. 5 builds to a tremendous scherzo and then becomes superficial from the Adagietto on. No. 6 has been praised, and it's strong, an objective reading that may or may not suit one's view and mood.

Symphony No. 7 is terrible, amazingly meaningless and incomprehensible. Symphony No. 9 is half tremendous, half wrong. The opening movement is extraordinarily paced and shaped, perhaps the best ever heard. The finale goes by in a blur, way too fast and brittle. Bizarre.

So, absolutely NOT a first choice box set of Mahler symphonies! But worthwhile for the committed Mahler lover, who will want to own pretty much every collection anyway.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mahler meet Boulez 6 April 2014
By Gonzalo Aloras - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Boulez reinvented the conductor. Before him the contemporary scores were only approximations to the expression and the intention of the composers. Thanks to him, we know that these scores were so well written and detailed without having to be reinterpreted. They just want to be read and played with respect and love.
5.0 out of 5 stars this set of Mahler's symphonies is great. There is a but here however 9 July 2014
By JRJoseph - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you are open minded, this set of Mahler's symphonies is great. There is a but here however. Bernstein's Mahler is quite different from Boulez. Bernstein is more emotional and dramatic/ Boulez is cooler and precise. I own both sets among many others as I want to hear almost every great conductors' versions of the symphonies. I just can't see owning one version but to me Bernstein would be the one and Boulex would be the second followed by ten other guys.
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely good with a few pieces of pure gold! 22 Jun 2014
By Loop7 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The performances in this cycle may not appeal to what some term traditional Mahler fans but its my absolute favorite. While I have numerous individual Mahler discs, I only have full cycles by Abbado, Bernstein, Boulez, Chailly and Kubelik so my exposure is limited.

I feel Boulez offers romanticized interpretations and, in my opinion, it works on so many levels. I never get the feeling he's in a rush and there's a richness to all these performances. For example, in the fifth, Boulez offers us a little more time in certain passages to take in the colors whereas other conductors slide through them to create legitimate excitement.

I like every one of the works in this collection but without a doubt, symphonies 4, 5 are my favorite and the sixth is a desert island, can't live without it, treasure.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Look for similar items by category