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Mahler: Symphony No. 4, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen

Gustav Mahler, Edith Raskin, George Szell Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Performer: Judith Raskin, Frederica von Stade
  • Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: George Szell, Andrew Davis
  • Audio CD (5 Nov 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • ASIN: B000026FK5
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,187 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

This disc combines two remastered classic Mahler recordings--Szell's Cleveland account of the fourth symphony from 1965 and Davis' reading of the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen from 1978--and the pairing is inspired. The Cleveland Orchestra has always had a reputation for phenomenal accuracy and brilliance, and Szell harnesses these qualities to give an almost supernaturally clear account of Mahler's score. Details of lower-string phrasing, thrown-away woodwind chirrups and muted trumpets supporting a melody are given just the right amount of emphasis to make the surface texture sparkle with life. But more importantly Szell also captures the overall mood of ironic playfulness, while heeding Mahler's own direction with regard to the childlike last movement--"without parody". There is a minor jolt between the symphony and the Lieder--not just in the recording levels, but in suddenly entering Davis's much more impressionistic approach to Mahler. But once adjustment has been made, the rewards are great. He focuses everything on Stade's glorious voice and less on the details of orchestration, which makes for a sympathetic, flexible accompaniment and moving performance of great pathos. --Warwick Thompson

Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest 4th Available? 20 Feb 2010
Format:Audio CD
I first heard this recording on Vinyl in 1971 and I remember being very impressed. Highly rated by the critics at the time of its initial release in 1965, it has stood the test of time.

Wonderfully phased throughout by Szell's masterly conducting of the Cleveland Orchestra, the four movements flow consistantly throughout. I particularly like the phasing of the opening bars taken slower than Bernstein's version which in my view, is too fast for the material and robs it of its charm. The sleigh bells just tingle along with absolute delight and set the tone for the rest of the movement.

The second movement with its dominance by the strings is lovely. Even though it only lasts something like nine minutes, its one of Mahler's finest creations.

The slow movement is masterful. Szell takes a slow pace, but does bring out the emotions of the music and makes it a joy to listen too. Wonderful.

The fourth and final movement sung well by Judith Raskin is actually a cross over from Mahler's Third Symphony. It compliments the entire work perfectly.

I do feel that it remains one of the finest versions around, so I am pleased to see that it is still available at a low price. The recording and sound is very good, well balanced and clear. Most Mahlerians will have this version anyway, but for those who are new to Mahler please do add it to your collection. Would be a shame if you didn't.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Firstinfourth 20 Oct 2011
Format:Audio CD
Obviously, any appreciation of any performance is entirely subjective; that being said, this really would be my first choice in Mahler's fine Fourth Symphony. From the first note it is obvious that Szell is going to let the music breathe. Nothing hurried, as is the case with so many performances. If speed is your criterion, better look elsewhere. Szell has always struck me as meticulous in his tempi and this fourth is no exception. The Cleveland orchestra respond to their conductor as though conductor and musicians form one organic whole. Again, that is no more than one has come to expect from these forces. And the sound from Sony is nothing short of stunning! I played this with my 5.1 speakers giving full service and was nearly lifted from my seat. Just like being seated among the players, although that, of course won't be everybody's cup of tea. No need: the Sony engineers have, as always, risen to the occasion.

So what about the soprano soloist? Judith Raskin has just the right timbre to infuse Mahler's verses with that hint of child-like innocence that he surely had in mind. No need to worry on that score - a big bouquet to the lady.

The Songs of a Wayfarer needed a slight adjustment downwards in volume. Here the London Philharmonic, Andrew Davis and Frederica von Stade give good value, although, obviously, the chief attraction of the disc is the Symphony. Buy it and you won't be disappointed.

This item appeared to be out of stock at the time I ordered it and I had a lengthy wait (eleven weeks!) for Amazon to complete the order, but complete it they did. It was decidely worth the wait!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best 1 Sep 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This recording produced by Paul Myers and released by CBS some 40 years ago with Szell/Clevelend/Raskin was given a rosette by the Penguin Classical Record Guide and I have never heard better since I bought the LP in the 70's. I have since bought the CD and am am happy to say that it has not suffered from any adverse remastering.

Light-spirited, just the right tempo (not too fast unlike Simon Rattle's performance with the CBSO), happy yet intensely emotional, and all with good sound quality. Simply the best recording of Mahler's most delightful symphony.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Benchmark Mahler 4 28 Jun 2012
Format:Audio CD
This recording of Mahler's 4th Symphony should never be out of the catalogue. It is magnificently performed and gloriously recorded.
The pacing and phrasing have never been bettered. A remastered reissue might be desirable, since I recollect the vinyl LP version sounding both warmer AND a little more incisive than the Essential Classics reissue!
The artwork should also have been retained!
Von Stade is reliable in the Fahrenden Gesellen cycle (four stars), though many of us cannot conceive of any performance outranking Janet Baker's mid sixties performance with Sir John Barbirolli.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A symphony of music and song! 14 Jan 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This CD combines one of Mahler's less well known symphonies with his Songs of a Wayfarer. Both are excellent performances and provide a good overview in themselves of Mahler's art, dramatic, emotional symphonic music and beautiful, soul penetrating song. The orchestras and singers all perform to a high standard and the recording is good. It is recommended by the Penguin Guide too.
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