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Marin Alsop discusses the Last Night of the Proms 2013


Marin Alsop has been Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2007, a relationship now extended to 2015. Currently Conductor Emeritus of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Laureate of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, since 1992 she has also been Music Director of California’s prize-winning Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. She appears regularly ... Read more in Amazon's Marin Alsop Store

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Product details

  • Performer: Marin Alsop
  • Orchestra: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Marin Alsop
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (3 Sept. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B002V9I74O
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 159,750 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 1 in D major, "Titan": I. Langsam, schleppendBaltimore Symphony Orchestra16:25Album Only
Listen  2. Symphony No. 1 in D major, "Titan": II. Kraftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnellBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 8:44Album Only
Listen  3. Symphony No. 1 in D major, "Titan": III. Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppenBaltimore Symphony Orchestra11:00Album Only
Listen  4. Symphony No. 1 in D major, "Titan": IV. Sturmisch bewegtBaltimore Symphony Orchestra18:42Album Only

Product Description

Product Description

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra - Marin Alsop, direction


'Marin Alsop's performance opts for more folk-like immediacy... from whatever direction she arrives, Alsop brings a vigorous spring to the music's step.' --Ken Smith, Gramophone October 2012

'Why do you turn to the Mahler First? If you look forward primarily to the snappy ending of the first movement of the adrenalin rush of the symphony's jubilant final pages (played here with breathless exuberance), you may find that this new CD offers a rewarding experience.... Alsop (and the engineers) offer an exquisite sense of distance when the offstage trumpets enter in the first movement; the cellos and basses open the second movement with a deliciously rough-hewn tone; the more inward reflections in the finale are played with aching tenderness; glissandos are handled well throughout.' --Peter J Rabinowitz, International Record Review September 2012

'A thoughtful performance… when Alsop finally lets her Baltimore forces off the leash in the closing peroration the effect is so startling that it blows you away… The sense of wonder of the first movement, together with the ironies of the later funeral march, are breathtakingly done, and all that hard to balance counter-point is beautifully clear.' **** --Tim Ashley, The Guardian 12th October, 2012

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Entartete Musik on 14 Sept. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Balancing posts in Baltimore, Bournemouth and, now São Paulo, Marin Alsop has made a name for herself across the Globe. She's notched up esteemed recordings of Bartók and Bernstein, as well as Copland and Dvořák. So it's only natural that Alsop would want to stamp her authority on other totems of the orchestral repertoire. Her latest recording with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra sees her at the start of Mahler's great symphonic odyssey. But with many other considerable efforts already on the shelf, her hasty and oddly phlegmatic performance falls short of the mark.

Conducting Mahler is something like alchemy. It needs a breadth of tone. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has that in spade fulls - even if the string phrasing can be a little ragged. But Mahler also requires something caustic, something cruder. When the cellos take on the 'Ging heut Morgen übers Feld' theme in the first movement, it sounds passive. There's pastoral joy here, but no bite or rhetoric.

Dudamel went a step too far with the second movement in his opening concert with the LA Phil (on DVD and download), but you need something of that muddy hoedown when delivering a Ländler. Alsop keeps things far too polite, which may suit the ensuing waltz, but undermines Mahler's propensity for irony. Even the flashback to his Jewish upbringing in the third movement proves too tame.

Part of the problem is the capacious acoustic of the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. It can often steal the players' thunder, particularly in the finale, though here Alsop is prone to haste, where heft would communicate so much more. Mahler screwed his guts out for this piece, constantly revising it, facing vilification whenever it was performed. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra makes it sounds all too easy and, in so doing, they and their music director fail to enter the arena.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris Jardine on 11 Oct. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Brilliant recording but the CD case was damaged when I opened it. Suggest internal bubble wrapping.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jean hocking on 23 Nov. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This orchestra gets better and better. Good quality. I felt that they enjoyed recording this?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Straightforward Mahler -- With A Gorgeous 3rd Movement -- in Excellent Sound 2 Oct. 2012
By Bruce Eder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Marin Alsop has sometimes generated surprises as a recording artist and conductor, and this is one of those times -- her recordings of pieces too well known and well-represented on CD have proved unexpectedly attractive. Her Dvorak 9th was like that, in its straightforward simplicity and the breezy playing of the Baltimore Symphony -- it was all refreshing and renewing. One can't go quite that far with this Mahler 1st, but it is a rewarding listen (in beautiful sound, incidentally).

The lack of any extreme distinction is both understandable and inevitable, given the competition. Thirty years ago there were perhaps a dozen recordings of the Mahler First Symphony available, almost all from absolutely top-flight (i.e. world-class orchestras and then some -- in fact, the only real gap there was the absence of one from the Berlin Philharmonic, due to a combination of history and disinterest on the part of the orchestra's two postwar music directors); but today there are probably over 200 available, including all of those outsized contributors of yesteryear. If the strings of the Baltimore Symphony can't match the playing of the New York Philharmonic or the Vienna Philharmonic, to name just two rivals, it's not as though they were ever expected to. They do their job, as does everyone here -- the brass extremely well -- in a basic reading, and one was prepared for that. But this recording, from a live performance, does reach an unexpectedly magnificent and beautiful, very affecting peak in the third movement -- one that's worth the price of the CD. The recording won't replace recordings by Bruno Walter, Leonard Bernstein et al, but it has a worthy place on this listener's shelf.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A conventional Mahler First in good sound 17 Sept. 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Whether or not Marin Alsop records a complete Mahler cycle - I suspect she will, since the catalog of Naxos Mahler is old and inadequate - she is breaking new ground. She joins Simone YOung as the only women who have recorded any Mahler, so far as I know, and the Baltimore Symphony becomes the first American orchestra in decades to launch a commercial cycle, assuming that one unfolds (the San Francisco cycle under Tilson Thomas appeared on their house label).

Alsop's career has been on a rising arc; she has been greeted rapturously in Sao Paolo and brought a recording contract to their excellent symphony orchestra. Her discography is big and growing all the time. Musically, I find myself having a moderate reaction, however. I've never heard an Alsop recording that was best in class, and rarely one that I'd put in the top ten when she records standard repertoire. So it was a open question how good this Mahler First would be.

Although she was a protegee of Leonard Bernstein's, this reading isn't in his style - my memory goes back to Seiji Ozawa instead. There is little dynamic tension in the first movement but instead attention to detail and a style that is poised and balanced. The orchestra itself plays beautifully, and Naxos has recorded them well. But the Baltimore Sym. strings cannot hope to compete with the likes of Vienna, Berlin, and other premier ensembles. They sound sweet, but alsop's measured, moderate pace doesn't ignite any sparks. It would have been better if she had come closer to Bernstein's thrills.

The rest of the symphony follows in the same vein, delivering a dutiful reading that falls well short of what Mahler should be in terms of emotional excitement. That's a personal slant, and anyone who enjoys more "classical" Mahler may be better pleased. I think that Alsop has a dedicated fan base and many reviewers who are on her side automatically for reasons of gender politics. I'm on her side, too, when it comes to the cause of women conductors. But the musical goods have to be there, too.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
ALSOP/BaltimoreSO: Mahler 1: Naturlaut ... fresh, open air, daytime ... 2 Dec. 2012
By drdanfee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've liked Marin Alsop's releases, or at least, have liked hearing many of them so far. Her Brahms series was very good indeed, though partly sabotaged by Naxos' producer/A+R choice of recording venues. One would like to hear her do Brahms again in a few years with a venue that is consistent across her redo of each of the four symphonies.

Her Dvorak late symphonies with Baltimore SO has been well worth hearing. Strong on lyricism, vital rhythmic life, and an unfussy, direct way with Bohemian-rooted colors and sounds that serves the composer with musicality and compelling alertness. One could wish Naxos would let her complete that Dvorak symphony cycle, then.

Now we get the Mahler first symphony. From the opening, it's audible that all players are on their toes. The high and low string sections have a discipline to them that one does not always hear from this level of USA bands. The atmosphere is conjured, but differently from many other conductors. The well worn musical path is to conjure up dark midnight, full of mystery, hinting at things that go bump in the night. For better or for worse, Alsop hears it otherwise. Her Naturlaut is wide open, fresh air. The scene is sunlit, though when the familiar woodwind calls take wing, we get anticipatory musical hints or prefigures of that High Summer's Panic that Mahler will express more fully, more deeply in his third symphony yet to come. Surprisingly enough, my ears took to the different scene right away. I like lots of ambivalence and angst in my preferred Mahler readings, and I guess it was those opening woodwind flourishes that passed muster with my hearing. Something is hovering around the shadowy margins of all this sunlit, open countryside. We are in that typical Mahlerian meadow scene, yet drawn into the darker beginnings of some forest where indeed, Mahler will explicitly tell us how or where the lost god Pan dwells in hegemony, touched with hybrid, monstrosity. Pan, after all, presents a human visage yet stands in monster mischief on goat's legs.

The striding motto from Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen song, Ging heut Morgen ubers Feld, is springy and rather light on it's youthful feet. When we arrive later at the points where more of the orchestra joins in flourishes with strings and woodwind leaning harder into those pound-slap chromatics, the dunkle Wald looms near to us again, though the culminating horn flourishes return us to sunshine in Mahler's meadow. The remainder walks us quickly back into green Naturisms, and the end of the first movement compels one to recall fresh air days of youth when, for no particular reason that was nonetheless full reason enough, a listener may have just felt very good to be young and to be alive.

The second movement is rather upbeat, too. The peasant dance pleases itself with folkish flourishes in brass and strings and woodwinds, with tap-tap-taps to emphasize the hanging lifts of the rhythm-phrasings, until we arrive at the gleeful trills in the quite capable Baltimore horn section to signal that the Trio transition is under way. This Trio is relaxed, swingy, songful. Alsop shows herself capable of gesturing just a touch of flexible rubato phrasing while maintaining a strong, intact tempo flow. She conveys nostalgia, but again we inhabit more recollected sunshine of our youthful days. The dance returns, and only those brief transitions to and from the Trio have conveyed hints of darkness.

Mahler's impish setting of the Frere Jacques in canon, moves right along. Alsop has us hearing the tune in paragraphs, not bar lines. No lingering, no loitering. The woodwind comments fill out the composer's harmonies and offer us more adolescent-youthful wit than the years of angst when a human body is outdistancing the unfinished Self that finds itself surprised and swooshed with sexual, manic, and sometimes despairing energies. The contrasting country inn music nestles us into contextualized home-bodied rural culture and into partnered dancing, once more. Then a second contrasting section floats us into the Lieder motifs again, this time taken from Mahler's song about falling asleep in sadness under the Lindenbaum's lemon umbrella. Hearing all this third movement, one easily feels that saying goodbye to one love is not enough of a cosmic loss to stop us moving forward ... barely tinged with a developmental mania that promises to carry us along, to somewhere else, whether we consciously agree to move on, or not. The country inn music bumps along, like a gnat buzzing around our dreamy head, and the folk harmonies go sour ever so briefly before something like heartfelt farewell sings out in its genuine hearty voice, only to fade back into a more shadowy silence.

The last movement opens, not so much with cataclysm, as to startle us awake from our napping dream worlds. Then the music dramatizes that we are more deeply affected by life and loss than perhaps our callow Mahlerian youth would let us admit. We are soon moving forward again, but this time we are shaken, more uncertain, more haplessly tip-toed into mania and displaced person antics. The song-full nostalgia takes possession of us again, though it sounds more externalized, more objective in its backward looking glances. If we gain a retrospective grasp of anything in our young life that has irrevocably changed, it is not the girl (or boy?) we lost that we see moving away from us into the distances of personally lived history, but larger fact that we cannot return to being the child we were. This distinction breaks out vigorously in the music across all orchestra departments, but it is human-sized life drama not volcanic Vesuvian deluge and death. Soon those quick steps and first movement flourishes begin to speed us forward again. We go ahead now bearing the inevitable drama that is our essential closing of those imaginary doors, back into childhood. The closing calls are dramatic yet distinctly triumphant. We march right along by embodying the youthful life affirmation that more or less carried us through the first movement. Then shadows return as the music quiets into forested Naturlaut one more time. The soft-hearted yearning melody floats by, but this time gradually sinks downwards and slows into a measured tread of bootstrapped pulling. The bird calls invite us outside ourselves, while the nostalgia song unfolds as something we have now internalized, a life change we now own inwardly. A lungs-filled gasp of stronger melody reaches up, then falls back down. Fast, emphatic snippets stir across the orchestra sections. That wrenching chromatic harmony pains while brass try out those familiar fanfares. Suddenly we are back at the opening final movement's music drama, and the cleared-air major harmonies return us to our young selves alive.

How does it all add UP? Well, for those of us who dearly love our Mahler Weltschmerz, we can pull the Jascha Horenstein/LSO, Wyn Morris/New Philharmonia, Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1 or another achey-breakey favorite down from the keeper shelves. Alsop and Baltimore will join the angst-ridden for contrast, an alternative that just misses being earth-shaking, but worth hearing, worth keeping nonetheless. One suspects this sort of approach might give us a worthy Mahler 4, but the bigger dramas of the other remaining Mahler symphonies will need to see Baltimore beefed up with extra players to provide the heft, above all in the strings that the other Mahler symphonies require. There is simply no conceivable way to do the second, third, fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, (completed) tenth with such a musical smile. I wonder how Alsop's upbeat liveliness would play out in a seventh, but I fear that she would need to reveal darker Mojo than she gives us in her Mahler 1. Stay tuned, I guess. For now, four stars.
Not as powerful as some renditions, but worth having 31 May 2014
By Gerald Siegel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are good competitors. Marin has a temperate view of the score and does not have the bombastic firepower of a Bernstein. Still worth owning for another Mahler First. One can't have too many of this engaging piece. I now have the Kubelik and the Bernstein and a couple others...one with the Lieder that the symphony uses. Good to have that too...oh yes, one should not overlook Horenstein. All good all worthy of collecting.
Very good but still not the best 10 May 2014
By Michael Weinstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sonically excellent recording. Overall an exciting performance but… like almost all other interpretations, this takes the climax in the finale too fast. I still find Horenstein's 1970's era recording on Unicorn with the London Symphony the most definitive and the only one to succeed in the climax.
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