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Mahler Symphony No. 4
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2010
This may indeed be the slowest modern recording of this work (see Mr Meldon's review), but it an is astonishingly beautiful one. And with all respect to the previous reviewer, I feel that verbs such as "ambles along" and "slouches along" fail to do justice to the way Welser-Möst, here at his finest, allows the music to breathe freely and naturally.
Excellent performances of this lovely symphony abound: my own personal favourite, amongst many others too numerous to list, is probably Honrenstein with the LPO (also on EMI, and now part of their complete Mahler edition, I think). While there is, of course, no such thing as a definitive performance of this (or any other) work, unless one must have the cool, analytical approach to Mahler's music that seems to be increasingly popular today, this is definitely a performance to listen to and to savour - and, indeed, to live with. Five stars, most definitely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2013
Mahler's 4th is a favourite symphony & I'm fortunate to have a number of classic recordings of this lovely work. Being a fan of the American orchestras of the 50s & 60s, with their Hungarian conductors, I've been listening to the Szell / Cleveland & Reiner / Chicago accounts, both splendid in their different ways. However, I thought I would compare this more recent version which has been nestling in my collection for some years now. I listened in rapture from start to finish. The Ruhevoll movement has to be the longest on record but the concentration is wondrous and the climax explosive. Buy a copy, you won't be dissappointed.
PS. The Maazel / VPO does nothing for me but I'm looking forward to hearing the Levine / CSO version when I order the RCA bargain box.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2012
Mahler's most accessible symphony is given ample room in which to breathe and is delivered with a Celibidacheian-like emphasis on slow tempi by a young Welser-Most. I have many, many recordings of this symphony and pick of the crop is Szell's CBS/Sony Cleveland recording, but this Welser-Most performance is as compelling and convincing as any in the current catalogue. The First movement is spacious, the conductor having a clear understanding of structural relationships which allows the central development section a natural evolution which flows effortlessly and inexorably. Perhaps the movement is lacking a little in Mahlerian rusticity and earthiness, but the dance rhythms register well enough. The Second movement ought to unsettle the listener and that sense of unease is not quite realised by Welser-Most and his orchestra - the solo violin, "Freund Hain"
, lacks edge and doesn't threaten to bite in quite the way Mahler intended, but there is no questioning Welser-Most's grip on the lyrical central episode and the strings sing beautifully.

The Third movement is sublime and there are moments when time seems to stand still - the build up to that climactic moment where worlds collide and new - heavenly - vistas stretch out to infinity with achingly beautiful suspensions defying the laws of physics... Welser-Most's slow tempo and masterful control allows the notes to breathe bringing each musical phrase to life, shimmering and pulsating with a radiant glow. Felicity Lott gives a somewhat understated performance in the Finale, which in my opinion is no bad thing! And the balance between soloist and orchestra is spot-on, in my opinion - too often the soprano is recorded too far forward and dominates the whole orchestra! Speaking of the orchestra; the London Philharmonic - all sections - acquit themselves well... the agitated sleigh bells jingle along with sufficient urgency, the strings sing sweetly - all is right with the world - and Welser-Most propels the music along with vigour where necessary and conveys a raptness and deep spirituality which brings the symphony to a suitably peacful conclusion as the listener enters the gates of paradise.

It has taken over twenty years for me to add this splendid recording to my collection... and it was worth the wait! This level-headed account of Mahler's Foutth is the antithesis of, say, Bernstein's heart-on-sleeve approach to Mahler's score and is more in keeping with Szell's taut objectivity, but on a grander scale. That makes it irresistible in my book! Any Mahler-phobes out there would do well to expose themselves to Welser-Most's Fourth - it may well elicit a cure! And Fritz Reiner's excellent Chicago recording is medicine of similar strength and healing powers... Then consider Klemperer's "rough and ready" recording or Karajan's "smooth as silk" traversal or Kubelik's "soft and gentle" approach - all are worthy of serious consideration. The list is endless... and of course, Bernstein's "edge of the seat" recordings are required listening. That Welser-Most's recording can be considered alongside such esteemed and illustrious company is praise indeed. A fine recording for the more, ermm, discerning Mahlerian.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I can't remember where, but I recently came across a reference to this recording of Mahler's fourth symphony that suggested that it was worth a listen. I managed to track a copy down from a marketplace seller who sent it to me by return.

The fourth is Mahler's sunniest symphony and I have a few versions in my collection. From these, I most often listen to Gielen on Hanssler or Boulez on DG, so you can tell that I prefer the "modernist" type of conductor (well, most of the time). This performance was recorded in June 1988 by EMI for, I believe, the budget "Classics for Pleasure" label; my copy is on the EMI Eminence label, sponsored by a tobacco company.

The orchestra is the London Philharmonic conducted by the then rather young Franz Welser-Most. Felicity Lott is the soprano in the closing fourth movement.

My forgotten reference made mention of the slow speed of this performance. It's true:-

Boulez takes 15'17 in movement 1, Gielen 16'56, Welser-Most an astonishing 18'12!

Movement 2 is fastest with Boulez at 9'31, then Welser-Most at 10'06, followed by Gielen at 10'31.

Movement 3 (Ruhevoll) comes in at 20'00 under Boulez and a similar 20'54 under Gielen. Welser-Most ambles along at 24'35!!

The final movement rushes past in 8'12 under Gielen and 8'44 under Boulez. Welser-Most slouches along in 10'06.

So, you can see (hear?) that Welser-Most's performance is very slow; but I think it works quite well.

For anyone who loves this symphony, it is worth tracking down Welser-Most's 1988 recording in order to hear a different view of this often recorded work. Maybe this is the slowest modern recording?

Good sound from the Andrew Keener/Mike Clements EMI team all those years ago, perfunctory notes (none from the conductor); recommended.
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This recorded performance recorded by the LPO with the Franky worst than most is a surprising revelation. In terms of recorded sound quality, production, performance and playing by the orchestra, makes this recording a marvel. Frankly it's worse than most better recordings, he does nothing wrong in the performance of Mahler's 4th. One to be treasured, it's slower then most other recordings, but none white match the beautifull preformance as recorded here. Highly recommended and one to keep for life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2014
A very beautiful version of my favourite Mahler symphony. The 24 minutes of the 3rd movement is just perfect. Lott is amazing and enchanting.
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on 13 July 2015
Mahler !
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