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Mahler: Symphony No.2 Hybrid SACD

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Valery Gergiev is internationally recognized as one of the most outstanding musical figures of his generation. His inspired leadership as Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he oversees the Kirov Orchestra, Ballet and Opera, has brought universal acclaim to this legendary institution. Together with the ... Read more in Amazon's Gergiev Store

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Product details

  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Valery Gergiev
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (12 Jan. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: LSO Live
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 237,705 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, 'Resurrection' - London Symphony Orchestra
2. Adagio - London Symphony Orchestra

Product Description

Product Description

Mahler Symphonies Nos 2 & 10 cover

Mahler's extraordinary Second Symphony deals with the epic themes of life, death, faith, and love. He employs a vast orchestra in a search for salvation through spirituality, including a battery of brass, two soloists, and choir. The theme of death also pervades his unfinished Tenth, yet here one finds a sense of peace and a heartfelt expression of human love.


Disc of the Month
'powerfully presented by Gergiev and the LSO, with excellent playing from all sections' -- Audiophile Audition

'restlessly probing and adrenally free-flowing, pointing up the music's soul-searching and daring musical juxtapositions.' -- Classic FM Magazine

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Moyes on 9 April 2011
Format: Audio CD
Interpretations of the 2nd Symphony vary quite widely, at least to my listening. I would describe this as a rich reading. I don't mean that it is heavy-handed; far from it both Gergiev and the LSO are in fine form. But the sound throughout is very rich and full (not a bad thing, of course, and indeed very much in keeping with what Mahler wanted). The overall achievement is, I think, superb. Conductor, orchestra, soloists(Elena Mosuc and Zlata Bulycheva)and the choir (LSC) give a performance that I found stunning and immensely satisfying. Quite the most rewarding 2nd I have heard for a long time - and that includes the new BPO recording. The disc also includes the Adagio from Symphony 10.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Colin Fortune VINE VOICE on 28 Feb. 2009
Format: Audio CD
The good things first: the LSO play wonderfully and the recording is very good though it is the usual "Barbican experience" of what seems to be fairly close miking in order to get over the normally rather congested acousitic of the hall. Also the discs are not very expensive.

And now, I am afraid, the caveats: this disc was put together from several performances and I suspect this might have been the reason why the overall conception of what is, admittedly, a rather long symphony does not seem to fit together. Some of the playing is very exciting and demands a huge amount of concentration from the players. An example of this is the "Grosser Appel" and the moments leading up to the huge climax at this point, whic then burst forth into a very jaunty march. But there are also some rather dull sections of performance where the interpretation seems to be rather generalised: sections of the 2nd movement seeem to me to be lacking in the requisite gentleness, for example. The "Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt" scherzo (movement #3) passes by at an immense speed and I am surprised that the orchestra manages as well as it does. The LSO is a truly fine body of players.

I honestly feel that Gergiev is not really "in tune" with Mahlerian sensibilities and does not use a rich enough pallette of sounds to reflect the simplicity, anger, irony, majesty and dread that is to be found in the different parts of this great work.

Also, the Resurrection Symphony could have been fitted onto one disc, though at Amazon price the buyer is not particularly disadvantaged. But the coupling is not likely to make much difference in the decision whether or not to buy this set.
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By Simon Button on 31 July 2014
Format: Audio CD
Arrived on time, no problems. Ideal
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful By P. A. Fairbrass on 26 Mar. 2009
Format: Audio CD
The music itself is excellent, however the organisation of the disc is annoying. The first movement of Symphony No 2 is 21'50" and is on the first disc. The other 4 movements are on the second disc, together with the adagio from Symphony No 10 which is 22'13" so you have to change discs after the first movement. The Symphony No 10 adagio being one movement should have been on one disc and the whole of Symphony No 2 the other disc.
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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A triumphant peak in Gergiev's live Mahler cycle 14 Jan. 2009
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If I were to pick the most riveting Mahler Second from the past decade, this live 2008 performance under Valery Gergiev would win, hands down. Coming to Mahler as an outsider, Gergiev feels free to have new ideas about what is now very familiar music. No two symphonies in his ongoing cycle sound the same. In the Second, he emphasizes more of the soft music than anyone else I know -- in that regard he's the anti-Solti, since Solti went for the jugular at every opportunity in his slashing, blockbuster recording on Decca forty years ago, also with the London Symphony.

Because Gergiev takes care to find so much refinement and nuance in the score, you might not be bowled over by the first movement. Originally conceived as a titanic funeral rite for a fallen hero, this music can be played as tragic, harrowing, and desperate (a la Bernstein), but Gergiev offers wistful tenderness in between the cataclysms of sound that punctuate the movement. The same refinement is borught to the second movement's graceful minuet. Mahler asks for a five-minute pause in between the first and second movements (CD 1 contians only the first movement, so the home listener can take this pause), with the intention that after the hero has been laid to rest, we revisit his life from innocence to final transcendence.

You will know whether Gergiev's highly personal manner appeals to you by this point -- no ohter reading is less obsessed with death, or more vivacious. It asks for close listening as Gergiev micro-manages small turns of mood. Throughout the symphony his pacing tends to be fast-slow, offering wide contrasts rather than setting a uniform tempo -- his authority for these fluctuations is Mahler himself, who adopts wildly contrasting speeds in the few piano rolls he left behind. Mengelberg, an early disciple, did the same. So it's no surprise when the thrid movement Scherzo takes off like a shot, moving faster than any other performance I can recall. Gergiev doesn't bite into the satire quite as sharply as Bernstein, but he does play for visceral excitement.

The fourth movement "Urlicht" sets the stage for the cosmic panorama of the hero's soul entering heaven, and here, unfortunately, there's a serious lapse. As beautifully as Gergiev conducts, he made the mistake of importing Zlata Bulycheva, a wobbly Slavic mezzo from the Kirov opera, whose German is not good. Her singing ruins one of the most atmospheric moments in all of Mahler. But as if to compensate, the finale itself is the crowning glory of Gergiev's reading. Between them, the LSO and its magnificent chorus follow the conductor's volatile shifts of mood, from the most intimate spiritual communion to massed cries from the heart, just as Mahler intended.

In any "Resurrection" the finale is the main event, and it becomes an earthshaking experience here, aided by clear, vivid sound despite the acoustical limitations of Barbican Hall. Gergiev doesn't aim for Solti's explosiveness or Bernstien's heart-wrenching soul journey. He meticulously tends to the quiet music, as he has all along, in order to build a breathless sense that we know this soul intimately and will follow it step by step, at times tremulously, always with hope, until the gates of heaven open to receive it. For those who want to know about the soprano, Gergiev made another mistake by bringing in Elena Mosuc from Romania -- she lacks the ethereal, floating quality the part demands, but thankfully her role is minor. In my experience, only Boulez has equal skill in unfolding this drama of final redemption, but Gergiev is more fervent -- when all is said and done, Boulez is watching with fascination from the outside.

Looking back on this superlative performance, I feel grateful that Gergiev was willing to rethink every bar and make me hear the music in fresh ways. He does something really admirable in turning the "Resurrection" Symphony into what it must be: a cosmic event that surprises and overwhelms the listener at every turn.

As a filler, LSO Live doesn't give us Strauss's Metamorphosen, the perfect pendant to the Mahler Second, which Gergiev conducted in concert. Instead, we get the Adagio from the Tenth Symphony. I'd recommend listening to it another day, because the tragic mood of this music clashes horribly with the redemption of the Second's final pages. In any event, Gergiev's reading is rather a letdown, being paced a bit impateintly and softening the impact of the great cathartic moments. He seems much less involved than in the main work.

P. S. - The Gramophone gave this CD a solid pan, complaning that Gergiev's conducting had an iron grip, driving the music without nuance or subtlety. Go figure.

P. P.S. 2011 - I didn't know while writing this review that the Mahler Second would enjoy a spate of great to near-great recordings very soon. The great one is a live version under Klaus Tennstedt on LPO, the house label of the London Phil. The nearly great ones are from Vladimir Jurowski, also on LPO, and Paavo Jarvi with his Stuttgart orchestra. But in his way Gergiev stands up to the competition in the near-great category.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
very exciting, but the scherzo is awfully fast 9 May 2009
By B. Guerrero - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Indeed, Gergiev's LSO Mahler 2 is very exciting. But it's very, very fast in the scherzo. I don't think it's just a question of "getting used to it" either. To me, the scherzo has a more sinister sense of irony when taken at a relatively slow tempo, especially when the phrasing in the woodwinds really gets shaped. Listen to how it's presented in both Klemperer's (any of them) and Ivan Fischer's renditions of the "Resurrection" symphony. There's more to it than just a fast run-through placed in the middle of the of the symphony. Still, Gergiev does make you stand up and cheer at the end of the day. But "so what?", so do a lot of conductor/orchestra combos (Bernstein (any); MTT/SFSO; Ozawa/Saito Kinen Orch.; Litton/Dallas; Fischer/Budapest Fest. Orch.; Eschenbach/Philly, etc.). In fact, the grandaddy of all endings may still be the one on Segerstam's Danish M2 for Chandos.

This Gergiev Mahler 2 came out pretty much around the same time as the Eschenbach/Philadelphia one from Ondine. While Eschenbach is definitely slower overall, I really love how the organ just roars from Philly's new Verizon Hall. To me, Eschenbach's balances between the organ and chorus are perfectly gauged. I also like how Eschenbach just nails the first movement climax (located just before the recapitulation). On top of that, I also prefer the deep, profound sounding Wuhan tam-tams (large orchestral gongs) used in Philadelphia - and pretty much everywhere else - to the splashy and slightly "whangy" sounding Paiste gongs still used in London (and pretty much nowhere else, except France). still, exciting IS exciting. I'll grant that much.

Ohhhh, and one final comment. Who in their right mind is going to want to listen to Mahler's opening 12-note, slow paced melody for strings - the first strains of his 10th symphony Adagio - after being lifted to the heavens at end of his Resurrection symphony? Then again, I guess that makes it easy to rewind over M2's ending again.
3 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Mahler expressed by a cheerful-nature 7 April 2009
By K. MIURA - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Mahler Symphony No. 2
Adagio from Symphony No. 10
Valery Gergiev
London Symphony Orchestra
Recorded live April 2008 and June 2008 at the Barbican, London

It doesn't affect the listener, because it performs the complex context of music and contents in the expression of a cheerful-nature of the conductor. I think that the peculiar complex polyphony, counterpoint of Mahler, the relativity of the motive (of the first movement and the fifth movement) and the interpretation of them are rough, when I listen to Gergiev's Mahler Symphony No. 2.
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