1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This twofer has the status of a classic bargain recording, in that it combines a superlative performance of the Ninth with recordings of two seminal Mahler song cycles by the only mezzo-soprano to rival Janet Baker for beauty and intensity of voice.
I do not have a lot of Karajan's Mahler in my collection but I do have half a dozen recordings of the Ninth symphony by other eminent conductors and I find something valuable in them all; it is unwise to make definitive statements about the "best". Interms of mood and tempi, Karajan comes closest to Tennstedt and Maazel; indeed the latter's complete set of Mahler symphonies is, I think, greatly undervalued in some quarters. It is also the case the both Maazel and Karajan have the greatest Mahler orchestras at their command - with all due respect to Tennstedt and the LPO at their finest.
Indeed it is the sheer beauty of the playing that marks out this version: the silky, singing steadiness of the strings in the opening of the Adagio is a marvel, as is their control in providing what seems like an endless diminuendo as the sound fades imperceptibly into nothingness at the close of the same movement. Their legato and intonation are extraordinary, too; even when playing on a thread of sound with a minimum of vibrato the note is true.
The BPO made a more controversial but fascinating recording of the same work with Bernstein just before this 1979-80 recording with Karajan - imagine: two recordings of the same work with two of the greatest 20C conductors within a few months - and I like it very much but acknowledge its eccentricity and must concede that Karajan's patrician restraint is a far safer recommendation - "safe" without being in the least boring. Karajan rarely changed an interpretation once it was fixed in his mind and by all accounts this studio version differs little from the live one.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This stereo recording can not match Karajan's later live performance of the 9th, but still sounds pretty impressive compared to many dull performances of our time. Karajan certainly knows how to draw the luxurious sound from orchestra and to brings out awe-inspiring inner beauty and sublimity of the music.
If you are after more profound performance of 9th, I recommend Karajan's Live version on DG, alonside Giulini, Maderna, Bertini, Svetlanov and Horenstein's powerfully moving performances, not to forget James Levine's super-profound account on RCA.
1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2012
"The Best of Soeur Sourire": I'd like to have got the CD of the original Singing Nun, but it was too expensive. The one thing missing from the Shetland Fiddles CD was the iconic "Hens' March ower da Midden",otherwise I'd have given it 5 stars. Mahler's 9th Symphony: I've been looking for this version of the Mahler 9th since that ill-fated day that I put a scratch on Side 2 of my treasured vynil version! All I need now is an indisturbed hour and a half to enjoy it.