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Mahler: Symphony No. 5 [Import]

Wiener Philharmoniker Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £9.15 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Mahler: Symphony No. 5 + Mahler: Symphony No. 1 + Mahler Symphony 4
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (16 Feb 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B000001GYK
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 185,720 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Mahler: Symphony No.5 In C Sharp Minor - 1. Trauermarsch (In gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie ein Kondukt) [Symphony No.5 in C sharp minor / Part 1]Pierre Boulez12:54£1.49  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Mahler: Symphony No.5 In C Sharp Minor - 2. Stürmisch bewegt. Mit größter Vehemenz - Bedeutend langsamer - Tempo I subitoPierre Boulez15:02£1.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Mahler: Symphony No.5 In C Sharp Minor - 3. Scherzo (Kräftig, nicht zu schnell)Pierre Boulez17:59£2.29  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Mahler: Symphony No.5 In C Sharp Minor - 4. Adagietto (Sehr langsam)Pierre Boulez10:59£1.49  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Mahler: Symphony No.5 In C Sharp Minor - 5. Rondo-Finale (Allegro)Pierre Boulez15:12£1.89  Buy MP3 

Product Description

CD W/Chicago Symphony Orch., Pierre Boulez

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boulez & Vienna Philharmonic - Mahler 5 13 Dec 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Mahler's symphony 5 has had rather a chequered history on disc, with some pretty disappointing performances down the years. Famous for the adagietto, it's best to hear the whole work than silly chunks. This March 1996 recording from Pierre Boulez and the Vienna Philharmonic is one of the best modern recordings and demands your attention.

Boulez mixes up the gentle and severe parts of this 72 minute work beautifully, bringing subtlety when reqired, fierceness, too. Some have said that this recording sounds so right that the symphony sounds odd played any other way; I agree. The whole performance blends and this CD is a regular visitor to my CD player. British critics, in particular, have been dismissive of the Boulez Mahler cycle favouring, instead, old warhorse recordings, such as that from Barbirolli Mahler/Symphony No.5, or the slightly overrated Rattle Mahler: Symphony No. 5. Whilst I do own these recordings, I don't listen to them very much, preferring the splendidly-recorded Boulez almost every time.

There are of course several excellent recordings of Maler's fifth symphony and, to compliment this Boulez recording, you could choose the unfairly overlooked Wit/Polish NRSO version Mahler - Symphony No 5 on Naxos (an amazing bargain, especially used), Chailly Mahler: Symphony No.5 or even Bernstein's DG recording Mahler: Symphony No.5, for a different take on this wonderful work (very different with Berstein!).

You may find, however, that you reach most often for this Boulez/VPO CD most of the time; highly recommended.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mahler Symphonie 20 Oct 2010
Format:Audio CD
Fantastic recording, the music takes you straight back to the mysterious and cultured Austria. Movement 4 is famous from the film "Death in Venice".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incisive, insightful conducting 27 Oct 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Audio CD
I felt obligated to write this if only to counter the 1-star reviews below. This is outstanding Mahler conducting, a performance of crystal clarity and much insight. It moved me as much as any performance, if not more. It is not a typical Mahler performance, as it does not drip with Late Romanticism, which may be what the other reviewers feel is lacking. Rather, it presents Mahler as the forebear of what was to come in the 20th century, as well as keeping one foot firmly rooted in Viennese Classicism. Kudos to Boulez for helping all of us rethink what a Mahler performance can and should be.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comparative Review v. Abbado 25 July 2009
By Karl W. Nehring - Published on
Format:Audio CD
When I first thought about comparing these two recordings, I thought it was going to be a breeze to listen to some good Mahler and then dash off a few paragraphs of pompous purple prose comparing the approaches of these two very different conductors: the Frenchman Boulez, widely regarded as cold and analytical in his conducting, and the Italian Abbado, by stereotypical default a more passionate conductor, and in this instance recorded in a live concert venue. Surely, I thought, these would be widely varying interpretations, and there would be no problem in comparing them. But as Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson once sang, "Nothing is easy..."

First off, let me say that both of these CDs are excellent recordings. I have owned many recordings of the 5th, and the Abbado was the best I had ever owned--excellent in both performance and sound. In fact, it was good enough to finally replace the Sinopoli recording from my collection. Sinopoli's performance was very good, but the sound was a bit bright in the old DG tradition. The "4D" process embraced by DG made a remarkable improvement in the sonic quality of their recordings, and both the Abbado and the Boulez are superb sonically.

When I first brought home the Boulez and fired it up on my "reference system" (sorry, but from time to time I have to force myself to use the politically correct audiophile jargon. I usually just call it my "stereo"), I was impressed that it was a wonderful performance in excellent sound, and marveled that DG could already have two first-rate 4D recordings of this work competing with each other on record-store shelves. I also began to wonder which version would wind up being my preferred one.

In the first movement, I found that I very slightly preferred the sound quality of the Boulez recording; however, it was hard to tell how much of the sonic difference was attributable engineering and how much to the performances themselves. The "Boulez sound" seemed slightly warmer, with more layers to the soundstage and better articulation. My guess is that the majority of this difference is attributable to the performance. Countering this slight advantage to Boulez and the Vienna musicians, however, was the more palpable sense of excitement in the performance by Abbado and his Berliners (the musicians, not the pastries). Based on the first movement, this is going to be a tough choice.

In the vehement second movement, I found the sound and the performance of the Boulez recording significantly clearer. There seemed to be some slurring and blurring of lines in the Abbado that I had never really paid any attention to until I heard the outstanding precision of the Boulez.

In the third movement, a scherzo, again there was more clarity in the Boulez recording. This time, however, I felt the difference was more attributable to engineering than to performance. Again, I must stress that both versions were excellent, but I did prefer the slightly more focused sound of the Boulez version. Boulez is starting to edge ahead.

On to the famous Adagietto, a meltingly beautiful piece of music that for many listeners is the highlight of this symphony. From the stereotypes, one would expect Abbado to play this movement slowly and emotionally and Boulez to dispatch it with quick, clinical precision. If so, one would be half right. Amazingly enough, it is Boulez who times out much slower, a mere second below eleven minutes, while Abbado gets through the movement just a mere second above nine minutes. Although the Boulez has great clarity, it is the "singing" quality of the Abbado that makes the stronger impression. This is the movement that brings out the greatest contrast between the two recordings, and for me at least, was the one movement where Abbado was clearly preferable.

The final movement was again very close for me, but in the end, the slightly greater clarity of sound and precision of performance in the Boulez version gave the Frenchman's recording a narrow advantage.

Overall, then, I have slight preference for Boulez/Vienna. But I will definitely keep both recordings, because the Abbado/Berlin is also quite excellent, and has a better Adagietto. You can't go wrong with either recording.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dry-eyed, analytical Mahler 4 Nov 2005
By Pater Ecstaticus - Published on
Format:Audio CD
I now own a couple recordings of Mahler symphonies conducted by Pierre Boulez, but not all of them (yet). And I must say that in general I like his approach, especially in for example the rarefied musical textures of 'Das Lied von der Erde'. Boulez' vision, in his modern recordings of Mahler's symphonies with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Wiener Philharmoniker, is indeed very consistent along the whole line, mainly in wanting to clarify the complex musical textures (emphasizing their quality as Modern music) and wanting to avoid any excess, especially on the emotional level. Sometimes, to my idea, this works wonderfully, but at other times, like in this recording, it is less successful (at least to my ears).
This Mahler Five by Boulez and the Wiener Philharmoniker is to my idea as dry-eyed a performance as it can possibly get. Maestro Boulez almost seems to be telling: forget this Mahlerian idea of the symphony reflecting a whole world of experiences, the result of which has often been the conductor (unwittingly) coloring the music with all possible kinds of emotional inflections, and, as a result of over-indulging by the conductors, excess.
The overall result here may be the feeling of this recording just being an exercise in Modern music-making. Pierre Boulez' commonly known dislike of tradition and mannerisms, combined with an analitical view and keeping a tight rein on the orchestral forces, has here resulted in a detached kind of Mahler which is kind of strange to the ear, but, I would like to say, as legitimate as any other view. But still I miss a certain involvement with what one could call the meanings behind the notes.
Anyhow, Boulez sometimes seems to be totally immune to the often all too human (emotional) peculiarities of Mahler's music, (purposely?) out of touch with the worlds of feeling that one could (and should) expect behind the notes. This can sometimes be a blessing, injecting the music with a kind of new freshness, but here, in this particular music, which can indeed be directly connected to specific circumstances in Mahler's own life, it feels not quite right, I believe.
There are other performances which I do rate higher, mainly because of their being more 'charged' with both power and emotion. Take for example Bernard Haitink's 1986 live Christmas Matinee Concert performance (Haitink is often said to be 'better' live), Benjamin Zander's recording with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and Eliahu Inbal's recording with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Nonetheless, evaluating it in one sentence, this album by Boulez and the Wiener Philharmoniker, although often missing the verve and feeling necessary for this symphony, is a fine, beautiful-sounding recording in its own right.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Performance Nonetheless... 3 Jun 2005
By Shota Hanai - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Bernstein, Boulez, and Abbado are probably the Big Three on the DG conductors on Mahler. Among them, Boulez is the most technical, and to the cynics, the dullest.

Listening this piece at a casual level this is a great performance nonetheless... The Vienna Phil under Boulez has done a magnificent job. It is so focused on individual notes, however, that the emotional aura is lacking in comparison to the performance done by the same orchestra under Leonard Bernstein. There is also lack of dynamics, including change of tempi, as in the trio of the first movement.

This seems recommendable to a Mahler beginner, to get his music started.

Personally, I completely prefer Bernstein with the Vienna Phil than this one, but I do enjoy listening. My best impression was the trumpet solo in the first movement. It sounded very calm compared to most others. It sounded as if it emerged from the middle of darkness/space, while other were as if they emerged from the bottom. Maybe if you listen to the solo and compare with others you'll probably get the idea how it is very unique. The Adagietto is lush and warm. While Bernstein treats it like a moment of nostalgia and yearning, Boulez treats it almost like an innocent lulluby.

Very impressive cover pictures by the way. Being a symphony based on man's struggle, the dark abstract images, including a skull-like figure, seems appropriate.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth it for the Adagietto 27 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Those of you who shy away from Boulez will probably find this a bit odd, but by far the most affecting portion of this disk, and which is in my opinion the most overwhelming version ever recorded, is the stunning rendition of the famous adagietto. It is one of the most profoundly moving symphonic movements ever written, and Boulez captures both the romantic and religious elements of this movement in a way I had no idea was possible until I heard this disk. The rest of the disk is wonderful as well, although there is nothing overwhelming to distinguish it from its competition in the way the adagietto does. Even if you hate the rest of the disk, it is most definitely worth it for the fourth movement. I've nearly worn my disk out from playing it so often.
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