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Mahler: Symphony No.8 & 10 (Andante-adagio) [Import]

Gustav Mahler , Leonard Bernstein , Wiener Philharmoniker Audio CD
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 34.92
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Mahler: Symphony No.8 & 10 (Andante-adagio) + Mahler: Symphony 7 + Symphony No.9
Price For All Three: 85.73

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  • Mahler: Symphony 7 33.86
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (1 Oct 1999)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B0000012UZ
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 185,032 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It should never have ended like this 17 Oct 2009
By rjmcr
Format:Audio CD
When Bernstein died in 1990, this was the only symphony he hadn't recorded as part of his second historic Mahler cycle. I learned my Mahler from almost every one of those recordings and many remain my personal favourites. I remember feeling a real sense of loss that the fascinating journey I had started with him would never be completed. We can only imagine the kind of performance he would have given us, had he lived long enough to step in front of the NYPO one last time.

It certainly would have been preferable to this dreadful Austrian Radio recording taken live from 1975's Salzburg Festival, pressed into service by DG in a somewhat cynical attempt to plug the gap in their box-set. Perhaps, live in the hall, this was as thrilling an occasion as any other Bernstein Mahler concert and there are tantalising flashes of the magic he possessed in this repertoire, but this should never have been released commercially, especially at full price and dressed in the artwork of the rest of his DG Mahler.

The problems are apparent right from the off. That great organ chord should blast the symphony into orbit but the instrument here sounds almost comically small (you may remember a kids' toy from the 70s called 'Major Morgan, The Electronic Organ'...?) and remains so throughout, symptomatic of the bizarre balances that afflict every bar. The vocalists, both massed and solo, bear the brunt of it. The choirs sound like they're in your living room one minute and gathered outside the concert hall the next. Soloists suddenly drop out of the ensemble only to reappear with a startling prominence, although I'm not entirely sure that this is always the fault of the recording! The orchestra fares slightly better, but not much.

A far more serious issue is the performance itself.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm the first to review the VPO version? 7 Nov 2007
By Michael - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I've lived with the London SO/ Bernstein performance of the "1000" Symphony since 1962, and though it contains some astounding playing and singing I've never quite been satisfied with it. I suspect that Lennie wasn't that satisfeid with it either, if comparisons with this later VPO performance is any indication.

(1) The notorious slow-down at the beginning of the recapitulation of Mvt. 1 in the LSO version is justly notorious, because it doesn't work to do what apparently Bernstein intended it to do. Looking at the score leads one to think that Mahler was determined to take the hell-bent tempos of the incredible development section riding straight and undiminished into the recap as its triumphant climax, with a slow-down coming shortly after. Bernstein keeps the deliberate thwarting of Mahler's indications in the VPO, but this time it works. What you get is a frantic run-up to the end of the development section--which has been taken at break-neck speed--with the recap coming as a sudden relaxation of tension. I will say that it worked for me, and Bernstein convinced me that the music can justifiably be played that way.

(2) The song-cycle 2nd movement is taken with on balance with an intensity that I'm not use to--certainly more passionate that the same movement done in London. I will say that Solti's way with the mysterious pizzicati at the beginning of the movement has no parallel here or anywhere else either, to my knowledge. (Parenthetically the children's chorus is stellar--heroic kinder if there ever were such).

Too often, conductors tend to make the 1st movement the whole work's center of gravity, leaving the episodes of the 2nd to unfold leisurely. Bernstein understands that the 2nd mvt is Mahler's replay of the 4th symphony--with this time a marvelous and marvelously incongruent mix of Goethe's tortured Part 2 of Faust, and a child's vision of heaven. I personally suspect that the spiritual model for Mahler's "plotting" here is Wagner's "Parsifal," which a recent director of the opera at Beyreuth--Boulez conducting--said ends with a near-death exeperience: a vision of a heaven of life, light, and joy.

In any case, this version for me goes up to the top of the list along with Solti's version, and the now legendary Eduard Flipse 1950s Holland Festival performance, recently put on CD as I recall.
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