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3.9 out of 5 stars14
3.9 out of 5 stars
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For me this recording is great on many levels. Yes there have probably been better recordings since this was made back at the beginning of the 1970s but lets face it that is just subjective. You either like something or you don't. And if you do like it then it is a good recording. I like it.

The recording is a classic now and although there may have been problems with the sound when compared to a modern recording I don't feel that this is any longer the case with the brilliant re master digital 24 bit sound restoration.
Here on this edition is the most fabulous sound that keeps the warmth that some may like about analogue recordings but also brings out clear sharp and well balanced tones and levels. If anything this edition does the recording more justice.
Solti offers a Big sound that gains the full use of the mighty Chicago Symphony Orchestra and singers. They all sound terrific on this edition. Solti gets a great balance between the chorus and orchestra that helps to highlight the focus of the composition and once again this is also notable with the actual sound engineering and balance mix.
The chorus sounds full of power and emotion and really does get to grips with the beauty of the subtle emotions and the intensity within the composition.
The Symphony 8 is not my favourite Mahler symphony anyway so it wouldn't matter who performed it. It would not make me like the symphony more. But this recording is an excellent one and if this is your favourite Symphony by Mahler it is still worth having this recording even if it means duplicating the Symphony with more than one version.
For me this is the version that I am completely happy with and it is a great classic recording that sounds better than it ever did originally.
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This latest reissue of the classic account of 8th sounds great! I don't know very much about the 24-bit Super Digital Transfer, but is it my illusion that vocal and choral part sound more detailed and enhanced compared to the earlier issue? It adds to the sense of space and atmosphere towards the awe-inspiring finale.

As for the performance itself, it never looses its freshness, and it gives me the same impact and the transcendental experience as I listened to it for the first time. Lucia Popp and Arleen Auger's intensely beautiful singing still sends shivers down my spine. Solti conducts the both parts masterfully to let the music speak for itself most eloquently, without resorting to vulgar exaggeration and without losing the driving force of the whole symphony while, at the same time, letting every detail of the orchestration hang together seamlessly. The result is the truly heaven-bound listening experience (Das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan)!
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VINE VOICEon 30 March 2007
Gustav Mahler composed this extraordinary work in only six weeks during the summer of 1906. Standing alongside his monumental 9th Symphony which he composed the following year, it remains one of THE symphonies of the 20thC. The work is broken down into two movements; Veni, Creator Spiritus, and the closing scene Part II from Goethe's Faust. Despite two rather different movements, they both work superbly. After listening to this version since I first purchased it during the spring of 1973, I still consider it to be the best currently available. Of course, other listeners will have their own favourites, and I would imagine Klaus Tennstedt's version recorded with the London Philharmonic wouldnt be far behind as regarding performance and sound.

In this version however, Solti succeeds admirably in maintaining a perfect balance between chorus, vocalists and orchestra. The playing by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is first class. The singing by vocalists Heather Harper; Lucia Popp; Arleen Auger; Yvonne Minton; Helen Watts; Rene Kollo (who sounds at his finest here) John Shirley-Quirk and Marti Talvela is so consistence throughout. And the chorus of the Vienna State Opera; Singverein Chorus and the Vienna Boys Choir enhanced the profound emotional aspect of this monumental work. The sound engineers must be mentioned as well for the sound quality throughout this fine recording is absolutely superb helped of course by the acoustics of the Sofiensaal, Vienna.

Mahler himself was pleased with the triumphant reception he received after its first performance in 1910 in Munich. Probably because he may have been aware that his own life was coming to its close, (he died the following year, 1911 not having heard his 9th Symphony performed in public)and that he perhaps felt that he through this work, was becoming closer to God. Many admirers of this work such as myself, feel that listening to this version can be an emotional experience. Listen for example to the section when Mater Gloriosa appears with the words "Komm! Hebe dich zu hohern Spharen!", and the extraordinary musical interlude before the very final choral section dominated by the sound of harmonium, pianoforte, celesta, and then the organ, harps and woodwind as this profound work is brought to its conclusion amidst the soaring sound of brass.

One of the great works of the 20thC.
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on 21 June 2010
Still the BEST ever recording available of Mahler's masterpiece. Orchestra,soloists and chorus all at the top of their game led by the genius (sadly missed) Georg Solti. At this price an absolute steal.
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on 4 July 2011
Like many others here, this was my first Mahler 8th'. I tend to revisit this symphony every couple of years, having over-done it on each occasion and needing recovery time. But I always come back to it and it always sounds even better, each time! Half the fun with Mahler is comparing versions. Typically, there are several to be recommend of the eighth: the Tennstedt and the Rattle for example. However this one is my preferred reading. The timing, the sense of 'big picture' Solti has (a result of his vast experience of opera conducting?) and the beautiful balance and dynamic of the Decca recording makes this, for me, the clear winner. Typical of Rattle, his version seems superficially more incisive and revealing, but after a few playings it tends to lose its freshness - and the recording is a tad aggressive (even on my valve / Sonus Faber system!). An amazing bargain; don't hesitate!
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on 10 July 2011
This famous recording has many strong virtues. The Chicago orchestra plays gloriously, the recording is superbly clear and vivid. Most of the soloists - especially the women - are simply the best available in recordings of this symphony. Solti's dynamic direction makes a magnificent success of Part 1, which comes across far more excitingly than in most recordings. In Part 2 I was less convinced. The long orchestral introduction goes splendidly, with playing of the utmost beauty and precision. With the entry of the voices, however, I began to have reservations. Kollo's scooping is completely unbearable and made me wince repeatedly. The main flaw, though, and the one which robs this recording of two stars, is that Solti seems very lost in Part 2 - his conducting feels directionless, making the already rather ramshackle music seem more incoherent and episodic than ever. The result is that the music fails to command attention as it should, and boredom quickly sets in. The recording I recommend instead is Sinopoli's - it has all the beauty of Solti's plus all the long-term vision to hold the music in Part 2 together.
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on 6 February 2011
Solti's was my first ever Mahler 8 on LP, much loved and played a thousand times. But the MP3 download is quite unplayable. There are huge gaps between every track often with several bars missing altogether. When I complained, Amazon refunded me straight away and said yes it is definitely faulty and will "probably have to be withdrawn from sale". This was a couple of months ago yet it's still here for sale. Maybe they have corrected the faults. Maybe they haven't.
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on 16 February 2010
No doubt I will be shot down in flames and negative votes for the comments I am about to make on this vastly overrated recording of Mahler's Eighth but I have persevered with it on and off over several years and my perception has never changed.

Mahler's Eighth used to be thought of as a blaring, vulgar monstrosity and anyone who holds that view today will find plenty to support their argument on this disc. Solti makes no attempt whatsoever to look beyond the notes on the page and unearth the wealth of musical detail or meaning that lies just beneath the surface. At no point do I get the feeling that he even 'gets' this work, let alone loves it, and we merely lurch from one climax to the next. The prelude to Part II is always a good test and here we find leaden and heavy-handed pizzicato almost drowning out the melancholic woodwind; try Tennstedt, Abbado or Rattle to hear how it should be done. To be fair, Part II is more tolerable than Part I where Solti's drive is relentless and leaves me, at least, glad when it's finished.

With the exception of Shirley-Quirk's overparted and frightened Pater Ecstaticus, the soloists are a great asset, no question, but they're not handled particularly well by the recording engineers. Rene Kollo sounds as if he sings much of Part I out in the foyer while Harper and Popp are far too close for my liking. They have all been matched or even surpassed individually (if not in ensemble) on other recordings, although you won't hear a better high C than Popp's just before Alles Vergangliche launches in earnest; Harper's just sounds tense.

I always think English-speaking choirs sound better in this work, especially in the Latin of Part I, and I hear nothing here to change my mind. Diction, attack and ensemble are all less than sharp and the back end of Accende lumen sensibus, for example, sounds terribly messy. The Viennese boys are also far, far too plummy.

The sound engineering is a bit of a pig's ear, quite frankly. When you consider the sounds Decca got from Solti and the VPO when recording Gotterdammerung in the same hall seven years earlier, one has to wonder what they were all playing at here. I always get the sense that there's a huge amount of knob-twiddling going on at the mixing desk as the engineers frantically try to contain the loudest passages and emphasise the quieter ones. There's a particularly noticeable volume adjustment in the final chorus, to cite just one example. The organ is also rather crudely managed, particularly in Hostem repellas where it leaps out of the soundscape in a very artifical way.

I won't be listening to this recording again as it really is akin to being beaten around the head for an hour. Far better Mahler conductors have made far better recordings of this symphony and have far more to say about it than Solti. Tennstedt is quite superb and very reasonably priced on its own [ Mahler: Symphony No.8 ] or coupled with a charming account of the Fourth [ Mahler - Symphonies Nos 4 and 8 ]. Abbado takes a similarly romantic view although it is still rather more expensive [ Mahler: Symphony No.8 ]. Bernstein's old LSO recording on Sony is worth a look and has Mahlerian credentials that outweigh the occasionally dated sound [ Mahler - Symphony No 8 ]. Finally, consider Rattle with a superb cast but slightly dry sound [ Mahler: Symphony No. 8 ].

On the other hand, if you want a recording that sounds like the hall was being charged for by the minute, stick with Solti.
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on 18 November 2010
Although I'm sometimes a little wary of Solti - he often takes a hard and brutal approach - this work can really take his 'style'. Not that the work is hard and brutal - but it IS monumental and has an almost other-worldly quality and architecture. The conducting (and therefore the performance as a whole) is absolutely tightly controlled - the build-ups are earth-shattering, and the quiet, reflective moments have an almost spooky, twisted intensity, as is often Mahler's way. The singing, from soloists is top notch and the choir is perfectly controlled by Solti. In comparison to, say, Rattle's recording, this, Solti's, is leagues ahead both artistically and technically. An absolute thumbs up for a stunning recording.
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on 18 March 2016
This arrived on time and is one of the 20th century's greatest symphonies.
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