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Mahler: Symphony No. 9

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£16.78 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 Feb. 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CLASSICAL
  • ASIN: B000LPRO2Q
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 237,280 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Mahler: Symphony No.9 In D major: I Andante commodo
2. Mahler: Symphony No.9 In D major: II Im Tempo eines gemächlichen Ländlers
3. Mahler: Symphony No.9 In D major: III Rondo-Burleske
4. Mahler: Symphony No.9 In D major: IV Adagio

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Colin Fortune VINE VOICE on 24 Mar. 2007
Format: Audio CD
There is no doubting the passion and commitment in the conducting and playing on this disc and one marvels at the precision and discipline that the orchestra manages in the Scherzo and Rondo-Burleske (movements #2 and #3. All the movements are fast and highly-coloured: a friend listening to the disc with me remarked (approvingly)that the Andante commodo movement (#1)was the most disturbed and nervy that he had ever heard. The great final Adagio, with some wonderfully rich string playing, takes just over 22 minutes (as in Walter 1938 and Barbirolli 1965) and has a flowing sense of momentum. The exception to this is the endings of the two outer movements, where the bustle and brilliance subside into wraptly gorgeous and sensitive playing.

So this is a performance that takes a highly expressionistic view of Mahler 9 from the very outset, and sticks to it relentlessly for about 78 minutes, fitting easily onto one CD. My friend was overwhelmed by it. I disliked it intensely.

The four-star rating I have given reflects the quality of the playing and the dedication of orchestra and conductor rather than any personal liking on my part, whilst also recognising that many people will be deeply thrilled by this particular approach to the symphony. But even had I liked the interpretation I do not feel that the disc deserves five stars because of the very close-up recording, made in the difficult sonic venue of the Berliner Philharmonie hall. In fairness the hall sounds like a hi-fi recording when you are at a live concert - a view first expressed by the friend with whom I listened to the disc and who really liked it when we were there together three years ago.

I wonder how "live" this performance is?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Bravo, Maestro Barenboim! 20 Mar. 2007
By L. Johan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is the second Mahler recording that we have from Daniel Barenboim and his Staatskapelle Berlin - the first was a widely acclaimed recording of the seventh symphony. Now we have the opportunity to enjoy an equally fine recording of the ninth symphony.

The catalogue of Mahler ninths is not short of outstanding recordings. But most of the great ninths are at least 30 years old or even older - I think of such recordings as Ancerl's (1966) Kubelik's (1975), Giulini's (1977), Walter's (1961, 1939), and Klemperer's (1967). One exception is Gielen's recent recording (2003).

The present recording can now be added to that collection of great ninths. Recorded live in Berlin in November 2006, it is one of the best recent interpretations I have heard of this symphony. It challenges both Abbado (DG) and Boulez (DG), and it is a strong contender to Gielen (Hänssler). In my view, Barenboim's reading is better than all these three late recordings.

Here is the reason: Barenboim's reading is similar to Kubelik's and Ancerl's, and not only in its flowing tempo. That is, it is the antithesis to the sort of extravagant interpretations we have from Karajan and Bernstein. It is straightforward, sober, and carefully balanced, with great attention to details in the score - but nonetheless passionate, personal, and bohemian.

The Staatskapelle Berlin contributes to the pleasure. Woodwind and brass are exceptional, and the string playing is simply outstanding.

Sonic aspects are also spectacular, and - with a few, minor exceptions - you can hardly notice the audience.

If you only buy one record this year, then make it this one. Strongly and warmly recommended!
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
a fine single disc M9 that's now been surpassed (06/12) 4 May 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
After having listened to my friends' somewhat tepid reactions to this recording, I was expecting to like Barenboim's Mahler 9th less than his truly solid Mahler 7th. Fortunately for me, they were wrong - at least in accordance with my own thoughts and tastes on the work. In no way is this a let-down. I like the full bodied sound, combined with Barenboim and Warner giving the woodwinds a much more front and center spotlight than usual. There's no compromising the naturalness of the sound in an effort to illuminate each individual strand of Mahler's dense poyphonic string writing, which DG has done on virtually every recording they've made of the Mahler 9th to date. If you think it's important to follow each individual strand of string detail, you won't like this one. I prefer the aesthetics here.

Bernstein used to say that the Mahler 9th was a work written by a man who wanted to go on living, but needed to say farewell. To that end, I feel that Barenboim is even more successful than Bernstein. In the first movement, there's no sense that this was composed by a dead man walking - until near the end of the movement, that is. After the first big climax, located just about one minute into the symphony (huge timpani roll), Barenboim eschews excess glop and sentimentality by taking the lullaby-like, main theme at an almost swift tempo. But near the end of the movement - after all the heartaches, and getting ourselves dragged through the mud - Barenboim fully wallows in sentimentality at the final return of the same lullaby-like theme. This is an interpretive touch that's as obvious as it is brilliant; leaving one wondering why nobody else had stumbled upon the same solution earlier. There's little sense that we're in for a very long haul from the very start. In fact, I'm very much reminded of the almost Straussian exuberance of Solti's earlier M9 with the London Symphony, except that Barenboim's fourth movement is far, FAR better than Solti's. This is the recording that Solti wanted to make in his earlier days, and the one that - in my opinion - Abbado has been trying to make for years, but just can't stumble upon it. He's too busy getting caught up in the excessively thick string timbres of the Staatskapelle's more illustrious cross-town rivals, the Philharmonic.

From here, things only get better, as the two inner movements are superbly executed, with extremely incisive rhythms displayed throughout. Here's where the strong emphasis on wind detail pays even greater dividends. But in the fourth movement, Barenboim lets his strings pour on the coals - not just in amplitude, but also in permitting the music to push forward in the louder, "heart storming" passages (as opposed to Mahler's usual heaven storming). The main climax of the final movement has plenty of fire and passion, if also just slightly faster than usual (I'm not bothered by that). But the calm and almost zen-like, "other worldliness" of the final pages aren't short changed in any way at all - Barenboim takes his time in the last few minutes. Combined with the clean and audience free background behind his threadbare strings (the ending, I'm talking about), were left with the impression of a composer who refuses to give up the ghost until the very end of the work. I find that both musically refreshing and life affirming.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A powerful and interesting reading 1 Sept. 2007
By MartinP - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
After finding the recording of the Seventh by this team (much) less than satisfying, their Ninth came as a very pleasant surprise. It's a reading that is bold and powerful. To some it may seem extreme in its wildness, and it is rather loud overall, but here, unlike his Seventh, Barenboim operates within the parameters of the score and comes up with an interpretation that is individual and valid. The recording has extraordinary detail, so that the linear writing is revealed in its full complexity, but the overall sense of purpose is maintained nonetheless, and that's a tribute to conductor, players and engineers alike. I loved Barenboim's acute response to Mahler's occasional quirky highlighting of what may seem secondary motifs: little points of interest suddenly flaring up in unexpected places.

Overall, the result is very dramatic and alive; those who want their Ninth valedictory should look elsewhere. The final adagio is not at all slow (Barenboim knocks 4 minutes off my favourite, Zander), and played with lush full string tone, to glorious effect; I found it hard to believe these were the same players that sound so undernourished in the Seventh. Sometimes tempos are exaggerated, especially in the Tempo II of the second movement: Mahler wants it `poco piu mosso' than the preceding landler, `with just a little more movement', but Barenboim launches into a headlong, virtuoso waltz that gives Ravel a run for his money. The result, however, is too exciting to resist. The realisation of the Rondo is simply phenomenal, almost on a par with Chailly and the Concertgebouw. The latter being a reading to which this one bears much similarity throughout, though it would be nonsense to pretend that these Berlin players operate on quite the same level of perfection as their Amsterdam colleagues...

The sound of the recording is slightly dry, lacking a little in bloom, which can make stopped horns sounds somewhat overly abrasive (as witnessed at the very start). Also, the oboe is too penetratingly present in some passages, distractingly so at the very end of the first movement. That said, the sound is also rich in bass and has ample dynamic range, though Barenboim, as said, chooses to stay mainly in the louder end of it. It is, as always, a good idea to have first and second violins seated antiphonally. The recording was made live in concert, but there is no audible trace of the audience at all. In all, an interesting recording that is not a first choice (for me, that remains Zander on Telarc Mahler: Symphony No. 9 / Zander, Philharmonia Orchestra), but which I would recommend to any collector who wants more than one version of this piece.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Great Mahler Ninth 13 Aug. 2007
By Y. Shuster - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Although I own over twenty recordings of the Mahler ninth, because I have taken to listening to Levine's two recordings (with Munich & Philadelphia) and Bernstein's (on DG) over the last few years, as well as heard Levine conduct the piece live twice with the MET orchestra at Carnegie Hall, I have become accustomed to the symphony being played at a VERY slow tempi (in the last of these Carnegie Hall concerts, Levine clocked in at 1 hr 36 min). I was a little jarred at first, then, when I first listened to this recording of the ninth (Barenboim by comparison takes under 78 min to complete the work). Yet even my first listen to this recording revealed exquisite musicianship, impeccable playing by the orchestra, and extremely good recording sound and acoustics. The woodwind and percussion are placed in such a way that one hears every nuance. I was able to discern notes and passages that are buried in other recordings by the strings or just bad recording sound. On repeated listening, as I got more used to the faster tempi of Barenboim's vision, I also came to appreciate that the speed with which he paces the symphony is certainly a valid one.

So, overall this is an excellent recording of Mahler's symphonic materpiece,and a worthy addition to any collection. This is why I have given it five stars. The one minor drawback, perhaps, is that the first movement is still just a little too fast for my tastes.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A robust Ninth paced for excitement but not depth 24 Nov. 2011
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It's surprising that Barenboim seems more natural in Mahler with the middling-good Staatskapelle Berlin than with the great Chicago Sym. The playing on this clear-sounding recording is far form world class, and yet Barenboim, as in his Mahler Seventh with the same orchestra, finds his way through the score with an appealing flow and detailed handling of many touches in a score that is a miracle of orchestration.

But the previous reviewers don't mention - or didn't notice - a good deal of extracurricular activity on the conductor's part. The sudden speedup a minute into the Rondo-Burleske, like a previous one seven minutes into the first movement, is startling and unmissable. I've sat in furious frustration hearing Barenboim conduct Mahler in Chicago, but here the fussing around and deliberate wrong-headedness has been kept to a minimum. It's when Barenboim has "ideas" that he usually gets into trouble with the Austro-German classics.

What appeals to me, getting past a few oddities, is that this is an enthusiastic, often rousing account that takes pains to deliver the dark-and-light contrasts of the score. Many passages are boldly attacked; few are aallowed to sag. Contrary to a previous five-star reviewer, there's nothing astonishing about Barenboim's timing, which fits the Mahler Ninth on to one disc; Barbirolli, who was no speed demon, takes the same 78 min. on EMI, and Bernstein's first version from New York fits on to a single CD. It's true that Barenboim's timing for the Adagio finale (23 min.+) is several minutes shorter than the norm and much shorter than Levine's pacing, especially in his live reading from Munich.

Wherever he can, Barenboim pushes the pace, which is exciting and justified (pace that sudden step on the accelerator at 1:10 in the Rondo-Burleske). There's a good deal of bite in the Landler, here and there, but what keeps this reading out of the top tier, for me, is that Barenboim never moved me; all the gestures were right, but great music-making goes beyond gestures. Clearly, the previous reviewers hear something more impressive than I do. For all that, I'd rate this Ninth just below Barenboim[s impressive Seventh.
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