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  • Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5 [Hybrid SACD]
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Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5 [Hybrid SACD] Hybrid SACD

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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 Jun. 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Water Lily Acoustics
  • ASIN: B0009PLM26
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,099,363 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I. Trauermarsch. In Gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie Ein Kondukt
2. II. Sturmisch Bewft, Mit Grosster Vehemenz
3. III. Scherzo. Kraftig, Nicht Zu Schnell
4. IV. Adagietto. Sehr Langsam
5. V. Rondo-Finale. Allegro/Allegro Giocoso. Frisch

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Solenne on 11 Jun. 2006
Excuse me for my English, but I want to testify to declare that this recording is extraordinary. Only 2 microphones, pure DSD, your room become an auditorium. For 2 channels reproduction you must approach speakers for appreciate this recording (angle of 90 degrees for 2 speakers).
In multichannel reproduction it is even better (4 ch.) the rear speaker add more space.
Great Interpretation
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Caveat Emptor 17 May 2008
By Lawrence A. Schenbeck - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Our family has a saying: Whenever one of your dinner guests makes a point of proclaiming his honesty, piety, and wisdom, make sure you count the silver before he departs.

It is, unfortunately, in this spirit that anyone who purchases this SACD should read Kavi Alexander's lengthy description of the many trials and tribulations he encountered in the process of recording it. He begins by citing the Biblical parable of the pearl merchant, speaks then of the contentment that comes from fulfilling "sacred vows to his personal God," paints a compelling picture of Yuri Temirkanov as a man of honor, a chevalier, a Solomon -- like unto the very God of Abraham himself, forming music as Adam was formed, out of raw clay with his mere hands; does the same for the St. Petersburg Philharmonic; and ends by acknowledging the help of many others, plus the Grace of Our Lady.

And thus it may all have seemed to Mr. Alexander. The rest of us will hear a fairly routine evening with this fabled Russian orchestra, making its way through a difficult work in a hall that does it no favors, accompanied by an audience that is more concerned in demonstrating its collective ill health (tuberculosis? whooping cough?) than in attending to the performance.

Repeated hearings do allow us to realize that this is a pretty good rendition of the Mahler Fifth after all: there is something about the Russian soul, with its fatalism, its long experience with suffering, its willingness to soldier on, that infuses this performance with a special quality that Mahler would have recognized. Mr. Temirkanov is a good conductor, and he was obviously working with a vision that he strove to realize in spite of all the obstacles thrown up by an indifferent universe (sorry, I'm starting to sound like Mr. Alexander!).

But, oh the HYPE slathered onto this project by its producer and by Water Lily Acoustics (and by a couple of the high-end audio rags)! Have they no shame? Here are the undeniable basic facts about this recording:

1. Balances throughout are problematic, perhaps because of a shallow stage that forces the orchestra to seat all its winds and percussion on the far right. Hence they can blow away the strings whenever they wish, and they do so fairly often.

2. The recorded string sound is soupy, distant and amorphous.

3. There are frequent ensemble problems, both within and between sections. Some of these are the sort of thing ordinarily cleaned up in studio recording sessions with inserts, but some sound like the players were simply not up to their task, or were caught off guard.

4. The audience coughs continually, and often quite loudly. This is more distracting than you would think, because it implies that they aren't particularly involved with the performance! There is one real bronchial explosion toward the beginning of the Adagietto which is especially disconcerting.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Oh, what the heck, I will go on. The recording was made in 2-channel DSD using a Tascam DS-D98; although the booklet proudly proclaims that "no noise reduction, equalization, compression, or limiting of any sort was used," it is a plain fact that the producers could only come up with a five-channel version by chopping and dicing the original two. The result is not bad, except it has produced the comic effect of seating all the audience coughers among the violins and violas.

I probably won't get rid of this CD. At its heart, there's an interesting and occasionally moving performance. But goodness, why did anyone promote this as the millenial event that it isn't?
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A fine effort for Waterlily 22 Jun. 2005
By Mark Wagner - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this SACD, and it was the 14th recording of Mahler's 5 for my library. I will admit that I am a fool for Mahler.

This recording is a testament to the perseverance of WaterLily, as all Mr. Alexander had was two nights to record in, with no rehearsals, no extra sessions, nothing that the big labels have.

The orchestra plays in a truly great hall, but a hall that has a long and shallow stage. This arrangement places the trombones and trumpets in the far right corner. This causes some imbalances from time to time, but over all the orchestra plays very well.

Tempos are on par with the rest of my recordings. My favorite Mahler selection of all is the "Adagietto" or the 4th movement. The tempo here is a little slow, but not agonizing like either the DG Bernstein/Vienna or the Denon Inbal/Frankfurt.

One sore spot on this recording is that it was from a live performance, and the coughing is VERY noticeable and there is one terrible cough early on in the "Adagietto"....

Still, it is a fine performance worthy of respect.

A final note on the sound. WaterLily uses on two microphones, and this recording was done with analogue masters and then transfered to DSD....this is the most natural sounding recording I have ever heard, and the sound is as close to a live performance as you can get!!!!

Highly recommended!!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good performance, stunning sound 24 Aug. 2010
By J. S. Bower - Published on Amazon.com
This recording is a great testament to what SACD can do.

I have always been convinced that minimalist miking is the way to go. This recording shows:

1) that a single matched pair of microphones in a classic Blumlein configuration can produce a stunningly realistic soundstage, (albeit long and thin, because of the St Petersburg Great Hall dimensions), instrument focus and dimensionalty. Bla-bla... The long and short of it, though, is that this is a stunningly realistic recording.

2) how a stereo recording, at its best, can record a holographic three-dimensional soundstage.

3) how DSD can produce a highly realistic string sound; this is particularly evidenced throughout the ravishing adagietto. I am fortunate enough to have heard the Leningrad Philharmonic (as it was) several times, and this is exactly the sort of lustrous string sound that is a signature characteristic of this great orchestra.

I could be hyper-critical, but it's not worth it. Bottom-line, this is state-of-the-art sound. It also makes me wish that other recording engineers and producers had the courage to demonstrate that 'less is more' when it comes to recording classical music properly.

So much for the sound. What's the performance like? It's good, but not great. Although I have a lot of respect for Termirkanov, he's no Barbirolli, Karajan or Abbado in this repertoire. There are some changes of gear that don't quite work, primarily in the opening two movements. But the playing throughout is infinitely more secure and controlled than the second division radio orchestra used in Kavi Alexander's other recordings in Russia. As a live performance, I am happy to give it some leeway and award 4 stars.

And the coughing? Well, it's there, but not nearly as disruptive as in the Shostakovich 7 in this series, thank goodness. Although I would like to take out and shoot the culprit during the adagietto...

Water Lily's other projects in Russia were marred, variously, by slipshod playing, second-rate orchestras and music, and saturation coughing. This is the best of the bunch, by a long way, and thoroughly recommendable.
Product is good! But CD case was cracked. 28 Mar. 2014
By Toshiki Ichiwata - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Product was good! But Case was cracked! I am very sad. Would you please anything more? New case or case prise back?
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