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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection"

Pierre Boulez Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £10.15 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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PIERRE BOULEZ – A BIOGRAPHICAL TIMELINE
“. . . 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

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection" + Symphony No. 8 : Symphony of a Thousand + Mahler - Symphony No 3
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Product details

  • Performer: Christine Schäfer, Michelle DeYoung
  • Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (24 Mar 2011)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Import Music Services
  • ASIN: B000EULVZ4
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,234 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Mahler: Symphony No.2 In C Minor - "Resurrection" - 1. Allegro maestoso. Mit durchaus ernstem und feierlichem AusdruckPierre Boulez20:55£2.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Mahler: Symphony No.2 In C Minor - "Resurrection" - 2. Andante moderato. Sehr gemächlichPierre Boulez 9:17£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Mahler: Symphony No.2 In C Minor - "Resurrection" - 3. Scherzo: In ruhig fliessender BewegungPierre Boulez 9:27£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Mahler: Symphony No.2 In C Minor - "Resurrection" - 4. "O Röschen rot! Der Mensch liegt in grösster Not!" (Sehr feierlich aber schlicht) Text from Des Knaben Wunderhorn: "Urlicht"Michelle DeYoung 5:36£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Mahler: Symphony No.2 In C Minor - "Resurrection" - 5. Im Tempo des Scherzo - Langsam misteriosoMichelle DeYoung35:21£4.49  Buy MP3 


Product Description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best in Boulez's cycle 26 May 2006
By Alexander Leach VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
This is the penultimate release in Boulez's Mahler series (the Eighth will be issued next year). It has been a fine cycle, though some releases have not been comparable with the competition - but this is one of the best ones. The performance is complete on a single CD, timing about 80'30 minutes.

While listening I've compared this to Kaplan's fine recording of the same work, with the same orchestra in the same hall - and on the same label. But the interpretations are really different, especially in I-III.

Boulez's VPO sounds a little closer to the microphones here, with the added benefit of more detail and increased impact, especially in the bass. But Kaplan's soundstage sounds slightly wider. In brief - they are both excellent sonically.

In the opening movement Boulez is very direct and dynamic with some crunching orchestral chords, with lower strings and brass cutting through the texture. There's not much interventionist `interpretation' here, unlike Tilson Thomas's reading on Avie, or even Kaplan, who sounds less controlled than Boulez. But this performance sounds powerful with real edge-of-seat playing.

In the second movement there's more bringing out of the cello line in the long winding melody near the start. This sounds great, and again, it's original.

Tempo-wise Boulez starts off the work just on the fast side of normal, and little by little speeds up - which means that by the time he hits the closing pages of the third movement, he's going at a fair clip. That movement comes in at 9'27, about a minute faster than most. I really like this effect, though some might feel it a little hasty (some parts zoom past almost sounding like sections of Waldteufel's `Skater's Waltz').
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Colin Fortune VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
By anybody's standard this is already a remarkable disc, squeezing well over the normal 80 minutes of superlatively recorded sound onto on one item. The sheer clarity of the vision is breathtaking and I found myself thinking that Boulez's famed "objectivity" has produced a completely non-langourous performance that sounds almost like a so-called "original instrument" perfomance would in an ideal world (and not like the rather unfortunate Norrington Mahler - Symphony No 2. Two points; firstly Boulez's interpretation is precisely that, keeping very much up to speed and following the markings in the score it is an INTERPRETATION of mercurial quality and great musical insight (i.e. not the boring run-through that Boulez's detractors sometimes leave people to expect); secondly, the Vienna Philharmonic are at their most clear and disciplined, completely lacking any lush schmalz EXCEPT WHERE THE MUSIC DEMANDS IT. So, for example, string "slides" are gentle and moving rather than sentimental.

The great first movement opens with short-breathed and edgy playing from the strings in particular. The strange disjointed rhythms are given full weight, the climaxes build inexorably, intersperced by moments of fragile beauty and repose. Boulez produces a great piece of musical drama, fully in tune with the orgiginal motion of the first movement standing alone conceived as a tone poem ("Funeral Rites" or "Totenfeier") and yet, because of the disciplined playing, laying down the majopr symphonic themes that are to develop to reach such realms of magnificence in the Finale. You need to stop the player after this for the "...at least five minues..." that Mahler suggested intervened between Parts I and II.
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boulez and Vienna -- a lush, cooler view 9 Aug 2006
By Autonomeus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It has become predictable that Boulez is attacked from some quarters, but I have a question -- if you already know that you don't like Boulez's approach, why listen? If you are one of those who hates Boulez, then just stay away. I, for one, hope to hear Boulez conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing Mahler's 7th this fall. This review is for those who are more open-minded.

This is a lush, beautiful rendering of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, revealing detail and texture, and building to a cooler climax than you might expect if you have heard the more passionate performances of Bernstein and others. None of this will come as a surprise to those familiar with Boulez. One reviewer has described this recording as "barnstorming" -- utter nonsense. I do still prefer the classic 1962 Klemperer and 1975 Mehta, the latter also with Vienna -- they are indeed more passionate than Boulez. But some of us enjoy more than one approach to a great symphony. Solti's operatic approach to Mahler's 8th, for instance, is radically different from Gielen's cooler approach that emphasizes texture, an approach more like Boulez here with the 2nd. I find both to be valid, and I enjoy being able to hear them as alternatives, rather than seeing/hearing one as right and the other wrong. (Of course, there are works that I have definite views on, such as the finale of Shostakovich's 5th, which should be slow, and the central fast movements of Shostakovich's 8th, which should be fast!)

If you know that you prefer Mahler set at maximum passion and intensity, then I would not recommend this recording. But if you are open to other interpretations, and if you appreciate the finest precision in conducting and musicianship, then by all means, you should hear Boulez's 2nd!

(verified purchase from a large brick-and-mortar bookstore)
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating reading, but not the one and only 13 Jun 2006
By MartinP - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Boulez is nearing the completion of his Mahler cycle, and this Second displays all the features we have come to expect from earlier instalments: tremendous textural clarity, and a precision that some may find surgical, but that guarantees you will hear many things that went unnoticed before. Yet there is nothing academic or cool about the performance, and though in places it sounds surprisingly different from the (many) other versions I know, it is never deliberately revisionist. More often than not, what we hear is simply the result of faithfulness to the score. E.g., just before number 23 in the first movement, most recordings focus on the lovely line in the cor anglais; but it is the flute who has the main melody, marked "hervortretend", and Boulez gets the balance exactly right. Rhytmically, this version is as taut as any you will ever hear; in passages like the rush of demi-semiquavers before 44 in the Scherzo every note is articulated. Which is, of course, first and foremost a tribute to the magnificent VPO, possibly the best orchestra in the world. As in Boulez's impressive recording of the Third, the presence of trombone and tuba pedal notes is spectacular and lends a dark, raw edge to the music that is very appropriate. All through the symphony there are many moments of heartstopping beauty and delightful surprise; nonetheless, the overall impression is one of stern majesty (think Haitink) rather than romantic indulgence (think Bernstein).

Some listeners will no doubt take issue with the very brisk tempos of the second and third movements. I wasn't quite convinced that the Scherzo, especially, fits Mahler's description "ruhig fliessend" or follows up on his admonishment "nicht eilen". It is the same problem encountered in "Der Einsame im Herbst" from Boulez's otherwise thoroughly perfect "Das Lied von der Erde". Furthermore, though Michelle DeYoung's singing can hardly be faulted, I did not feel that her creamy voice with its strong vibrato was the right choice for "Urlicht", or for this particular recording. Petra Lang's performance for Chailly remains an unchallenged touchstone there.

The finale is marvellously executed almost throughout, combining a sense of purpose with sheer visceral impact, and culminating in the tremendous repetition of the opening measures just before the "Grosze Appel". The interchanges of the distant horns and trumpets, too, are done to a tee. After that, unfortunately, some of the momentum is lost. The chorus sing beautifully, but seem a bit lacking in bite, and are balanced just a tad too distantly. Then, at figure 48, the final peroration sounds somewhat clipped, and the organ is hardly audible. The final, orchestral bars, too, had me wishing for a more present organ, more assertive bells, and simply more decibels. In the end, this symphony is one giant crescendo that culminates here, and having heard the blazes unleashed by say, Bernstein (DG) or Kaplan (IMP), I find Boulez does not quite deliver the goods. Though that is disappointing, overall this is a highly distinguished performance by a formidable orchestra, full of revealing insights, and spectacularly recorded. No true Mahler fan should miss it.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best in Boulez's cycle 16 Jun 2006
By Alexander Leach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is the penultimate release in Boulez's Mahler series (the Eighth will be issued next year). It has been a fine cycle, though some releases have not been comparable with the competition - but this is one of the best ones. The performance is complete on a single CD, timing about 80'30 minutes.

While listening I've compared this to Kaplan's fine recording of the same work, with the same orchestra in the same hall - and on the same label. But the interpretations are really different, especially in I-III. Kaplan's interpretation is fairly `straight' though with lots of imaginative touches. I like it a lot, and it is spectacularly recorded - perhaps a little more expansively than Boulez's. I've listened to Kaplan on SACD but it sounds superb via the CD layer, even in the car.

Boulez's VPO sounds a little closer to the microphones here, with the added benefit of more detail and increased impact, especially in the bass. But Kaplan's soundstage sounds slightly wider. In brief - they are both excellent sonically.

In the opening movement Boulez is very direct and dynamic with some crunching orchestral chords, with lower strings and brass cutting through the texture. There's not much interventionist `interpretation' here, unlike Tilson Thomas's reading on Avie, or even Kaplan, who sounds less controlled than Boulez. But this performance sounds powerful with real edge-of-seat playing.

In the second movement there's more bringing out of the cello line in the long winding melody near the start. This sounds great, and again, it's original.

Tempo-wise Boulez starts off the work just on the fast side of normal, and little by little speeds up - which means that by the time he hits the closing pages of the third movement, he's going at a fair clip. That movement comes in at 9'27, about a minute faster than most. I really like this effect, though some might feel it a little hasty (some parts zoom past almost sounding like sections of Waldteufel's `Skater's Waltz'). But I think a fast tempo works well here - and it's certainly different in this era of cookie-cutter Mahler 2s.

Things settle down a little for `Urlicht', which is superbly done, with the mature and serene singing of Michelle de Young sounding suitably sombre, with a slight beat in her voice adding a hint of sadness.

The finale is also well done, in fact this is perhaps the highlight of the performance, with Boulez's masterly control of the ebb and flow. This has to be one of the most convincing accounts ever recorded with even some of the more vulgar march passages coming off better than any other version I've heard. It held my attention more than Kaplan's I think. Here also the superb recording comes into its own, with a wonderful sense of depth to the sound with chorus ideally 'placed' in the sonic picture. Timpani are also ideally focused and the lower strings and brass add real weight. Perhaps the organ is a little recessed but that's a minor quibble for me.

Christine Schafer and Michelle de Young are first rate soloists, with the former's slight portamenti, for example on her opening statement, giving moments of real beauty. The choral singing is generally first rate as well, though on occasions (e.g. the sforzato entry at 30'13) the chorus can't quite match the attack of Abbado's Lucerne singers (also on DG) - though overall I find Boulez's interpretation more convincing than Abbado's live account.

If you're collecting Boulez's Mahler series than you can add this without hesitation - I've owned or heard most of them, and would place this as one of the best, perhaps alongside the imposing Cleveland Seventh (with its fast second Nachtmusik) and above the Fourth and Sixth, but slightly below the Third, which really is a plausible first recommendation for the work, certainly among digital sets. This Second is certainly much better than Boulez's rather cerebral accounts of the First, Fifth and Ninth, none of which challenge the very best in my view.

Confirmed Mahlerians generally should consider this performance as a supplement to their favourite accounts, as it offers a unique interpretation, superbly played and recorded. On a single disc it really is an easy choice.

If you're an SACD collector you've a great choice between MTT's idiosyncratic but powerful San Francisco version on Avie and the equally electrifing (if rather straighter) Kaplan on DG - but more enterprising souls shouldn't overlook Ozawa's great Sony version recorded live with the Saito Kainen Orchestra. That's available only in Japan though.

If you're a newcome to the `Resurrection' don't hesitate in picking this up either, but with so many other excellent accounts out there maybe I would place a few others alongside it. Chailly here is a little disappointing bearing in mind the excellence of the rest of his Decca cycle (especially the 4, 5 and 6). Kaplan, Ozawa (Sony), Gielen (Hanssler) and maybe Litton (Delos) should be considered among digital accounts, with the older Klemperer (the live Bavarian one on EMI rather than the classic Philharmonia version on the same label) a great mid-price recommendation on a single disc.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mahler 2 updated by Boulez 9 July 2006
By Mahler Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Listening to this pristine new contender to Mahler 2 recordings by Boulez, I immediately was recalling my very first electrifying encounter with Mahler in the late 1960s by Bruno Walter's 1957/1958 NYP performance on CBS Records . Although I grew up with Walter's, Klemperer's, Bernstein's, Kubelik's and Solti's visions of Mahler, I am strongly sympathizing with Boulez' refusal to engage with the music's theatricality. The result is a very plain and simple (German: schlicht), almost chamber music-like, yet majestic, utterly convincing performance. No kitsch or pathos here - Boulez shows, that the music simply does not need that - instead he underlines the violence of the writing in the 1st and 5th movements with the help of excellent, quite appropriately coarse playing brass section and percussion of visceral impact and delivers wonderfully flowing 2nd and 3rd movements. In the final part of movement 5 the organ is woven into the music's texture rather than emphasized, which I think is not a result of a generally weak instrument at the Musikverein Saal but deliberately done so by Boulez and perfectly fits into his anti-theatrical approach. VPO's , soloist's and chorus' obvious affinity to Boulez' concept leads the entire team to let every single note come with ease - flawless playing and singing, remarkably beautiful so Christine Schaefer's account in the 5th movement. I can't remember having heard a more moving and faithful "Oh glaube, Du wardst nicht umsonst geboren.." in any recording. Michelle DeYoung in "Urlicht" is very convincing, too, although I think less vibrato and improved diction would have served the music better.

The overall impression of this recording is that Boulez - unlike many other conductors - does not feel the need to explain Mahler's work. Instead, his self-effacing approach reveals the architecture of the score and lets the music powerfully speak for itself. The result, however, while firmly rooted in an aura of romanticism, express aspects of Mahler's work that are far beyond such an easy explanation, arising from a part of the human spirit that is beyond personality.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Boulez, this is a warm, gentle performance 14 Jun 2006
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Pierre Boulez has always gone his own way in Mahler, consistently veering away from expressing conflict, anguish, and emotional extremes. To achieve his cooler view, he must ignore much of what Mahler says in the socre--for example, in the opening of the first movement in this new Second Sym., the double basses aren't savage in attack, and the rhythm isn't improvisatory. Everything is moderate in attack and tempo.

The only real news is that Boulez has loosened his grip quite a lot; this is a warm, almost gentle traversal most of the time. You'll notice that the second movement breezes by--it's quick-flowing and untroubled. The satirical Scherzo is taken from a song about St. Anthony preaching to some mermerized open-mouthed fish, but here the sermon has no bite; all is serene and again quick-flowing.

In the moving "Urlicht", which is usually a fervent hymn, Michele De Young sounds appropriately rich-voiced, but her big, plummy vibrato obscures the words. Interestingly, Boulez takes this movement rather slowly. The apocalyptic finale was the closest Mahler ever came to expressing Christian fervor, and most conductors give us a turbulent cosmos of brass and perxussion before the calming choir enters to settle the osul. Incredibly well as the brass section of the Vienna Phil. play, they are fairly restrained. It's here, however, that you notice how perfectly the orchestra has been captured by DG's engineers--one great advantage Boulez's set has over its rivals.

In concert Boulez does his best to be the anti-Bernstein in the climactic resurrection hymn, purposefully loosening the tension instead of building it, and downplaying religious exultation. I seriously doubt that Mahler had this in mind, but there's a lot happening that is Boulez's own invention. If you happen to be in synch with him, this new set might rate five stars; for me, it balances on the edge of deserving three.
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