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Mahler: Symphony No. 3 Hybrid SACD

1 customer review

Price: £28.72 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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£28.72 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Performer: Michelle Deyoung
  • Orchestra: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Manfred Honeck
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (29 Aug. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Exton
  • ASIN: B004W4NR8W
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 252,187 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Symphony No. 3 in D minor, I. Kräftig. Entscheiden
Disc: 2
1. II. Tempo di minuetto. Sehr mäßig
2. III. Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast
3. IV. Sehr langsam. Misterioso
4. V. Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck
5. VI. Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden

Product Description

After the successful release by the highly regarded Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra of recordings of two of Gustav Mahler's symphonies, No. 1 in D major (EXCL00026) and No. 4 in G major (EXCL00048), this two channel double SACD set features a live performance of the composer's massive Third Symphony in D minor.

Considered to be one of the best modern day interpreters of Gustav Mahler's music, the Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck began his career as conductor of Vienna's Jeunesse Orchestra, which he co-founded, and as assistant to Claudio Abbado with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in Vienna. After several highly successful guest appearances as conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, he was appointed its Music Director in 2008.

Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in D minor was written between 1893 and 1896 and is the longest symphony in the standard repertoire. It has five movements and features a large orchestra, chorus, children's choir, and female soloist.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. E. Cox on 3 Jun. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Manfred Honeck, who seems to have been somewhat neglected previously, is fast showing his Mahlerian credentials with his continuing cycle of the symphonies with the Pittsburgh SO, a body which, under this conductor, is increasing in esteem again.

This recording of the Third Symphony, in glorious SACD sound, has a satisfying quality of fluidity, detail and balance, good for repeated listening. The superb horns, firm and solid at the beginning call one to attention and the whole of this long movement is played out with understanding and a rhythmic pulse that only the best handling will produce. The inner movements are fine, though the mezzo Michelle DeYoung's slightly wobbly tone in the 4th movement might worry some. The Finale, of steadily increasing stature and beautifully rendered here, shows what the strings of this orchestra can produce, even if they do not quite have the fullness of tone as some other fine orchestras. The ending matches the finest.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Best overall Mahler 3 in my rather vast collection 8 Sept. 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
For me, this is 'tha bomb' and a huge improvement over Honeck's two previous efforts: Mahler 1 and Mahler 4. Even the cover art is a big improvement - not that that matters. While the woodwinds aren't quite as prominent are they are on the recent Jansons/Concertgebouw M3 recording, this performance possesses far more visceral impact in the two outer movements. Hugely so, as the Pittsburgh brass and percussion make a powerful statement throughout, without also rendering the woodwinds and strings as being irrelevant. Far from it, in fact, as the PSO strings produce a positively gorgeous sound in the long Adagio finale (stretched to 25 minutes, but without sounding 'too slow' in the slightest). What further drives this performance is an equally gorgeous vocal movement - once Michelle DeYoung gets herself on track, that is (which she does quickly) - followed by a lively and colorful account of the brief 'bim-bam' choral movement. Special kudos to principal trombonist Peter Sullivan in his first movement solo, along with George Vosburgh's excellent offstage trumpet work in the scherzo - the so-called 'posthorn' solos. As if those gorgeous strings weren't enough (Honeck was a former violist for the Vienna Phil.), the sheer amplitude of Pittsburgh's brass section has to be heard to be believed at the climax of the finale's long brass chorale. Yet, that brass sound isn't harsh or strident in the slightest.

In final analysis, I know of no other Mahler 3 that covers so many bases so well, and from start to finish. The more intimate moments of the symphony are beautifully controlled and phrased, while the more wild moments are unleashed at their full technicolor glory. All of this comes to a great culmination in the long brass chorale near the end of the finale. Need I add that the Exton sonics are second to none? This is not just a 'keeper' but a true winner! The only other Mahler 3 I like as much as this one is the 'high resolution' download of the recent Alan Gilbert/N.Y Phil. performance (available through the N.Y. Phil's website). We are truly spoiled.

Another interesting tidbit: throughout the development section of the first movement, the elaborate snare drum part gets played on a deep 'military' drum; thus enhancing the 'outdoors-y' flavor of Mahler's parade ground music. Good stuff.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The finest Mahler third since Chailly 7 July 2013
By Prescott Cunningham Moore - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Manfred Honeck's credentials as a Mahlerian were proven in spades in his wonderful renditions of the first and fourth symphonies, but this magnificent performance of the third is really something special. It is hard to pin-point exactly what makes this performance so spectacular because everything about this performance sounds right. Honeck's ability to sustain tension over Mahler's large sonic landscapes is masterful, his sense of pacing is perfect, his tempo choices are ideal, and, most importantly, he knows exactly how to shape the music so it has drive and purpose.

In the first movement, where most conductors struggle to maintain an interpretive point of view, Honeck's highlights Mahler's unique sonata-structure with a central climax, the "summer storm," that is truly a climax, a dizzying, terrifying orchestral explosion that leads into a masterfully managed recapitulation. Regarding the little minuet, Honeck negotiates the bizarre tempo shifts expertly while coaxing some beautifully idiomatic timbres from the strings. Honeck's scherzo is chocked full of energy and earthy humor, interrupted only by the soft sounds of the loving trio.

That this is Michelle de Young's third Mahler third in about a decade is a commentary on the sad sate of the classical record industry today, especially considering she was never had an ideal voice for this work. Since her initial recording with Thomas as part of San Francisco's complete cycle, de Young's voice has darkened and taken on an unattractive wobble but she is sensitive enough to as not take away from the performance in the two vocal movements. After her contributions in the "bim bam" movement have passed, it is smooth sailing into the brilliant finale, where Honeck's mastery with Mahler's long vocal lines takes center stage. He manages the false climaxes brilliantly, leading into an overwhelmingly satisfying conclusion.

Honeck is able to surrender himself fully to his interpretation because the playing of the Pittsburg symphony is so fine. As expected with this orchestra, the horns take center stage, and rightfully so; there are few finer horn sections in the world. That is not to say, however, that the brass is any less fine - the trumpets are particularly menacing in the first movement while the lower brass reserves just enough energy to give the final passages the respect they deserve. The dark-toned strings are the perfect throughout: delicate and light in the minuet; husky in the scherzo; rich and velvety in the finale. The flutes and double-reeds are fine, but the clarinet section is somewhat lacking in character, failing to belch and burp and squeal as they should in their many moments of vulgarity. It is hard to know, however, if this is a fault of the section or the engineers. As with every installment in this series, the brass dominate while the winds are insufficiently captured. There are moments in the scherzo, for example, where listeners familiar with the score will "fill in" the otherwise missing wind parts. Still, it is not so much of an issue to preclude this release receiving the highest rating.

In this age, where Mahler cycles are now a dime a dozen (regardless of whether the conductor has any interpretive insights whatsoever), it may seem hard to justify purchasing yet another Mahler third. But to-date, Honeck's cycle has been consistently excellent and, more importantly, incredibly interpretively satisfying. Honeck has more than enough to say to permit this recording to stand next to the great recording from Bernstein, Chailly, Haintink, to just name a few. Highly recommended.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Another stellar recording! 12 Sept. 2011
By ncmusicjunkie - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Awsome is the only word I can use that comes close to describing the journey this recording takes the listener on. Mahler No 3 is very difficult to perform and make sense of, but Maestro Honeck and the PSO give a reading of the highest quality and insight. The playing is simply gorgeous and the attention to detail borders on the pedantic. Nine french horns playing the opening theme establish from the get go that this is a serious effort and what follows is very well worth your attention. Get it!
7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Very fine performance but sonics are shy of perfect 22 Dec. 2011
By Gerontius - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I echo Mr Guerrero's remarks in general. Something special is happening in Pittsburgh and this is very good evidence to back up that view. I like Honeck's ability to relax in the "pastoral interludes" in the first movement without slackening the pulse. The playing of the PSO brass is pretty close to the eighth wonder of the world. The horn section is, in my opinion, the best in the country (including Chicago!). Trumpets have an ability to offer searing power when necessary but without ungainly vibrato, they also play quietly very beautifully, which is important in Mahler. Trombones have great sound and technique without being overbearing. While wind soloists might not have the greatest individuality, they sound well but are not miked closely and so sound just a fraction recessed. I like Honeck's placement of the second violins on his right. Carlos Kleiber and Adrian Boult would approve.

My only gripe is that Exton isn't Telarc. For comparison try Telarc's recording of the Vaughan Williams 5th with Spano and the Atlanta Orchestra (a first rate CD all round). They can make a great, perfectly balanced recording which is spectacular and intimate by turns in a horrendous auditorium. Heinz Hall is not a bad recording venue, surely much better than Atlanta, yet we have a recording which gets constricted - slightly - in great tuttis. Additionally, the horns are obviously playing "backwards" and away from the mikes. This is a pity because their playing is unanimous and magnificent as they open the work and in their restatements of the opening theme - "homage to Brahms 1." Something tells me Wilma Cozart Fine would have done better with the three mike approach back in the days of Living Presence.

So, if Telarc had engineered this as well as their best work, or rather if Exton had engineered this as well as Telarc's best work - it would be getting 5 stars. Considering Exton charge a lot for their CD, if PERFECT sound is what you're after, you're not getting it here. It's fabulously transparent in the pianissimo sections, but when it gets loud, it's a crowded sound.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Almost 5 stars, but slightest flaws and highest price 21 Nov. 2012
By D. Altschuler - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Excellent performance and sound, though the SACD is only 2 channel. I liked this much more than Honeck's Mahler #1, there is more character here. Still without the individuality that makes it a mandatory purchase after many other well-recorded M3's like Chailly, Lopez-Cobos and Haitink; not to mention those with that unique stamp that you get with Bernstein, Levine, Mitropoulos, Barbirolli and Tennstedt.

Two specific examples of Honeck's ever-so-slight blandness: First, the opening brass call to attention is somewhat legato, which makes it less arresting than usual. Not drastic, like that other Austrian conductor ("K") might have done, but it's noticeable. Second, the two passages for double basses alone in the development of the first movement should have a comically peasant-like earnestness; but here they are just well played. It should be fun!

Nothing else disappointed me, and that finale, one of the most wonderful things ever created, is beautifully played at a perfect tempo (26'30") allowing more gravitas than the faster finales offered by Barbirolli and Tennstedt. Honeck is too straight to allow the indulgent weeping quality you get from Bernstein DGG (I love that, too), but very moving.
As indicated in the review title, without the high price this would have just cleared the 5-star hurdle for me.
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