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Mahler: Symphony No. 6

Wiener Philharmoniker Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 10.58 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Mahler: Symphony No. 6 + Mahler: Symphony No.9 + Mahler: Symphony No. 5
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Gustav Maler
  • Audio CD (10 Aug 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001GOZ
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,852 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.6 In A Minor - 1. Allegro energico, ma non troppo. Heftig aber Markig23:07Album Only
Listen  2. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.6 In A Minor - 2. Scherzo (Wuchtig)12:19Album Only
Listen  3. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.6 In A Minor - 3. Andante moderato14:47Album Only
Listen  4. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.6 In A Minor - 4. Finale (Allegro moderato)29:10Album Only

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly 10 Nov 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I concur with A Customers sentiments . There is something lacking in the final mix , call it "emotion" if you will .
It is very nearly right up there , but in comparison with Kubelik/BSO - both studio and live , Solti/CSO , particularly , and others by Haitink/CSO , Abbado/BPO , it just falls short .
It reminds me of Ivan Fischer/Budapest Festival Orchestra ( his Fourth Symphony is outstanding , however ). Accuracy , and a good sound , don't quite make up for the intangible "feel" that a top-notch Mahler performance should have .
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Mahler is very much about two things. Brilliant musical and orchestral details, and deep emotions. The former are all in the score, but the latter has (in my opinion) to be shared by the conductor to a certain extent. The reading by Pierre Boulez is exactly what one would expect it to be. The details are nealy perfect (only Karajan outshines Boulez in some places) and the tempos seems very "right". Especially in the last movement, which he does uncommonly fast, he manages to bring the music to life without adding anything. On other occations, notably inte first movement, his lack of anything that isn't inte score is irritatingly obvious. There is no suffering, only sounds. The bottom line is that although this might not be the only Mahler 6 to have, it is a good place to start with it's immaculate playing and sonics, and a "middle of the road"-reading. Then you can always add a Barbirolli or a Tennstedt for a reading with all the emotion and power you can shake a stick at, but without any traces of finesse.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A refined reading of the sixth well recorded 22 May 2014
Format:Audio CD
This remains a powerful reading of the sixth but I tend to share the view expressed that there is much to admire but there is a slight emotional detachment when I listen in that I am not fully pulled into this score at times as I would expect and yet it is not clinical conducting and not without feeling. With Boulez I find myself admiring beautiful detailing and wonderful sounds and orchestral colours. The same was true years ago when I saw him conduct this score in a concert as I came away being very impressed by the experience but feeling that somehow the emotional currents in the score had not been as powerfully realised as in other more memorable live and recorded performances.

The sound quality on this CD is superb and a tribute to DG recording engineering and that helps to add something to the richness of the conductor's approach here which makes me in the end give it the full five stars instead of the four I probably would have when I purchased the disc when it was first issued in the U.K.. I value this disc but Bernstein with the same orchestra recorded live on DG digitally a few years earlier is not as richly recorded but brings a degree of intensity, as one might expect, that sets his reading apart. Clearly, this is not Boulez's way and the differences make for fascinating listening. Over several years I have come to value the Boulez reading far more than my initial overall response and although it is not my primary choice it is a reading which adds greatly to my understanding of this amazing score. Even so I can fully appreciate why for some listeners the view holds that this is a nearly great recording lacking a degree or more of essential Mahlerian passion.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the better efforts in Boulez's cycle, but... 30 Sep 2001
By The Man in the Hathaway Shirt - Published on
Format:Audio CD
My desert island would be crowded with Mahler 6ths...Barbirolli, Karajan, Bernstein, Szell--the piece is well-served on disc. This Boulez recording with the Vienna Philharmonic is up there with the best of them, though curiously it's a bit empty, emotionally, in the finale. Maybe I'm just spoiled by Karajan, who steamrollers you in the last movement (I think it's one of the greatest testaments to his conducting on record) but Boulez, while he gets everything right, doesn't pull me along the same way Karajan does. But interesting, Boulez *is* at his warmest and lyrical best (yes, Boulez, warm and lyrical1) in the "Alma" theme of the first movement. He pulls this off as I've never heard it before, with a natural effortlessness, without really doing anything differently than any other conductor I've ever heard. The first movement overall is broader than I'm used to hearing, yet this very quality makes it more relentless, though at times in the development I feel the tension sags a bit. One of these days I must play again the Barbirolli recording, which is even slower, and see how (if) tension is sustained there. The second movement, which I've never found one of Mahler's more satisfying creations, is given a straight-ahead stop here. But to me this is always just a transition (and not a very successful one to my ears) to the magnificent third movement. It's a great effort, but to me Boulez, who supposedly analyzes every micro-marking in scores, takes it all a little too slowly. Either that or he is slowing down as he ages, for this is hardly a "walking tempo." Others have taken it slower, however (Barbirolli for one), but still, I prefer an honest-to-God Andante. (The same problem exists with the Beethoven 7th--so many conductors like to take the Allegretto as an Andante, or in Bernstein's case with his last recording, an Adagio.)

This brings us to the finale, a movement that truly is a *finale,* a whole symphony, a whole opera, in itself. Can the cool and calculating Boulez surpass the imperious and epic Karajan? No. No one can. But this *is* a great performance, that illuminates the "vertical" (textural) qualities of the score more than the "horizontal" (structural, dramatic). The climaxes are loud (the pictures will shake on your wall), but I'd like to hear a little more drama. For example, Karajan makes the strings smile (you've never heard Herbie so sunny) only to have them smited by the hammer blows. Here the hammer blows don't change the mood so much, so to my ears the movement, and symphony, aren't as tragic.

Having said all that, however, I will add that, well-played and recorded as it is, there is little here that is new, an insight--there's just crystaline clarity. After being away from both the podium and Mahler for so long, I would expect Boulez to have gained insights into this work, but this is pretty mainstream. And that's been true of most of his Mahler cycle so far, which has been uneven to my ears: I don't hear a master with a ripened view of the works laying down his ultimate statement. I hear performances that are cleaner and clearer than before, but that is all. I have to admit that, overall, I am a little disappointed by this cycle, though I eagerly await his recording of what is probably my favorite Mahler symphony, the Second.

(Post Script: After listening to Barbirolli again I've discovered the way he sustains the tension--accents and dynamics. His Mahler 6th--which I hadn't played in years--is so much more exicing than this one that I would like to remove a star from my rating here. I need to ask Amazon how to do that. In the meantime I will reiterate that Boulez's performance, fine as it is, sounds more like *re*creation than creation, and lacks a personal view of the music as anything more than notes and chords that have to be sounded cleanly and clearly. "Clinical," in other words.)
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely astonishing and stunning musical experience 31 July 2000
By Zaroff - Published on
Format:Audio CD
I started my discovery of Mahler's music with this symphony, in this recording. Suffice it to say that it has marked my musical life in a way I hadn't experienced before, and never have felt since. Of course, since then, I have listened to at least six different other versions of this work, nothing comes close, even by the big names (Bernstein, Haitink, Solti, Barbirolli don't touch it, in my opinion -as per a reader's comment, I indeed stand corrected: Bruno Walter never recorded this opus). Boulez has a majesty here, a so perfect understanding of this work, that it won't probably ever be topped. The tempi are incredibly precise, and the music flows at exactly the right pace. The march-like feeling of the first movement is quite implacable, and all the textures and layers of sound are clearly marked, yet I've seldom heard anything that coherent in an orchestral piece. The coup de grace, for me, was the Andante, which, quite simply put, defines beauty in music. It touches genius, on part of both Mahler and Mr Boulez, which, as this cycle goes on, happens to be the most pertinent Mahlerian conductor out there.

Those that say Mr Boulez is cold and shows no emotions are simply off course, they didn't get it. There's a rather large nuance between "dry and analytic" and being precise. Precision is something to wish for if we are to understand the work to the last of its intricacies and subtleties...

Buy this record without hesitation. There's no chance you'll be disappointed.
37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It has so many things going for it. 29 May 2004
By Moses Alexander - Published on
Format:Audio CD
I've listened to all the usual suspects in those competing for "Best Mahler 6th" and this one is the one that I prefer after repeated listenings. I love Karajan's reading of the opening movement, it is big and powerful (probably a bit more than Boulez's) and you can't argue with saying that Bernstein's is certainly among the finest either.

Boulez does an excellent job here, it is meticulous reading as others have said. At times in the first movement, I wish the brass was a bit stronger, but that is really just a minor grumble. One of the other things that makes me come back to this one more often is the fact that it is on a single disc. I can listen to it all the way through without having to change CDs or have a huge gap in between movements waiting for the CD changer to kick in. When three recordings are as neck and neck as Bernstein, Boulez and Karajan, the single disc (for price & convenience) pushed it over the top for me.

I'm sure a lot of people will grumble, moan and roll their eyes at this, but let's be honest, how many people besides those with music degrees or listening to the recording with a copy of the score in their lap are going to miss a few seconds here and there? I'd rather here it tightened up and put it all on one disc.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mandatory Mahler #6 31 May 2000
By nctomatoman - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Boy, do I have a lot of recordings of this symphony, perhaps my favorite in all of classical music (along with Mahler #4, #8, #10, Shostakovich #4, and Bruckner #8...and Rubbra #4!). Everything works in this rendition and this recording - tempo, detail, impact (the ONLY disappointing aspect to me is the wimpy hammer blows - Barbirolli knew how they should sound). Others that I would put in this class are Tennstedt (studio, not live, which I have yet to hear), Berstein on DG AND Sony, and Chailly - and maybe Karajan). I am impressed with most of Boulez' recent Mahler cycle, but I think that this, along with #1, are his best so far. This is essential listening for all Mahler fans.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moments of greatness!! 18 Nov 2000
By Timothy Mikolay - Published on
Format:Audio CD
This recording by Boulez is in my estimation one of the great moments in classical music recorded history. It is one of those performances that I feel has achieved a place with such legendary moments as Karajan's "Der Rosenkavalier" and Walter's Beethoven 6th. Yes, the typical Boulez dissection is there, but what style! The tender moments as well as the terrifying are superbly conveyed by the Viennese and Deutsche Grammaphone's engineering is absolutely flawless. This album is a triumph of this century as far as classical recordings go. Anyone who buys it will not be disappointed.
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