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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid reading of Mahler's 1st,
This review is from: Mahler - Symphony No. 1 (LSO/ Gergiev) (Audio CD)Mahler's Symphony No. 1 is a work that is full of youthful zest and spirit. As the very first of his nine (or ten) stunning symphonies, it already shows an unprecedented skill of symphonic writing, beginning the Mahler tradition of using huge orchestras in an attempt to incorporate the whole world into a symphony. Interpreters who try to tackle this work should have a feel for the great underlying structure in this symphony. But, equally important, they must pick up on the exuberant love for life and nature that is all throughout this symphony.
How did Valery Gergiev fare in his reading? Well, first off, I'll have to say that he is very successful in recognizing the great symphonic structure in this work. His reading doesn't lack bigness in tone, and there is always a sense of the strong structural backbone present in the symphony. I'm particularly pleased at how well the LSO fares in producing a big tone that can handle the big climaxes in this symphony with a surprising dexterity, something which isn't always present to this extent in other LSO Live albums. The LSO's percussion section is better than I've ever heard it before and the basses dig deep into their passages with a wonderful snarly tone.
But what I find somewhat lacking in this reading is a sense of blissful contentment and love of nature I feel Mahler has sprinkled throughout this work, particularly in the 1st movement. While the LSO woodwinds play the bird calls that start out this symphony with a clear, precise tone, I'm not swept off my feet in the way that I would like to be. And, in general, Gergiev has a tendency to be so caught up with bigness of sound that he misses the charm. This isn't true everywhere: the 3rd movement is full yearning sentiment and a love that makes it a decided success for Gergiev. But elsewhere, I can't quite say the same. The 2nd movement is hardly very folksy and fun, as grand as Gergiev makes it. I'm a bit more sympathetic with Gergiev's look at the finale, as the orchestral thunder he unleashes is so terrifying. Even there, though, I find it a bit impersonal.
Despite this album's setbacks, it is still a good, solid reading. It just doesn't send me into the raptures that one might hope it would.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mahler 1st Symphony Of Great Clarity and Emotion from Gergiev & LSO,
This review is from: Mahler - Symphony No. 1 (LSO/ Gergiev) (Audio CD)Having demonstrated that he is among our foremost interpreters of Shostakovich, eminent conductor Valery Gergiev has embarked on a potentially great Mahler symphony cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra as its new principal conductor for the orchestra's LSO Live label. A musical journey that shouldn't surprise long-time listeners and admirers of Gergiev's conducting, especially when Shostakovich expressed his own artistic debt to Mahler's genius for melody and orchestration throughout his fourteen symphonies. Gergiev's exceptional interpretation of the Mahler 1st Symphony is one that shall be remembered for its great clarity and emotional depth. All Gergiev asks of his new orchestra is superb intonation and fidelity to Mahler's intentions; needless to say we are treated to a sonic spectacular quite removed from the overwrought emotional richness of a late career Leonard Bernstein; instead, in its crisp, steady unfolding, Gergiev's interpretation most closely resembles Bernard Haitink's in its clarity, sonic richness and fidelity to Mahler. Under the exceptional technical stewardship of LSO Live producer James Mallinson and his team, live Barbican concert performances recorded earlier this year (January 2008) truly resemble most closely a well-miked studio recording.
Gergiev adheres to brisk tempi throughout the score, emphasizing the vibrant qualities of the lieder melodies which Mahler borrowed from his own songs, especially heard in the main theme of the first movement, which is taken from the second song in Mahler's "Songs of a Wayfarer" four song cycle. The second movement is a brash, bold landler (a close, but coarse, country kin to the refined Viennese waltz) that borrows a theme from an earlier song. In stark contrast, the third movement is a triumphant funeral march, whose core melody is the familiar Frere Jacques tune from childhood. Finally this too passes in a concluding fourth movement that briefly revisits the main themes from the preceding three in a musical maelstrom, before concluding in a hopeful brass fanfare of almost Wagnerian proportions. It is truly one of Gergiev's great gifts as a conductor that he coaxes refined, quite elegant, playing from the winds and brass, as well as the strings. Without a doubt this latest recording of the Mahler 1st Symphony promises to be a serious contender as a definitive recording for classical music fans, worthy of comparison to relatively recent recordings made not only by Bernard Haitink, but Pierre Boulez, David Zinman, and Claudio Abbado too.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful performance - the best disc of Gergiev's Mahler cycle,
This review is from: Mahler - Symphony No. 1 (LSO/ Gergiev) (Audio CD)Every time, when I listen this disc, I see the love story in my mind. Fight, death and victory. The last movement tells it to us. I love this disc - this is absolutely the best performance of this work. London Symphony Orchestra plays gloriously. I haven't heard this disc in SACD format, but I believe, that then this review is useless - I need to give six stars to this disc. Highly recommend, absolutely. BUY THIS DISC, RIGHT NOW!
1. Langsam. Schleppend - Im Anfang gemächlich (14"40)
2. Kräftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell - Trio: Recht gemächlich - Tempo primo (8"14)
3. Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu scleppen (10"32)
4. Sturmisch bewegt (19"15)
Total time: 52"42
Recorded live January 2008 at the Barbican, London
Hybrid SACD - Includes multi-channel 5.0 and stereo mixes
Published by Universal Edition AG.
8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lightning strikes once,
This review is from: Mahler - Symphony No. 1 (LSO/ Gergiev) (Audio CD)Valery Gergiev and The LSO Live give us a dramatic (and that's how Mahler would have liked it surely?) performance of the 1st symphony, which is the second CD release in a complete Mahler cycle planned for completion in 2009. The deft playing matches that of the LSO's Beethoven cycle of 2006, which I believe deserves greater recognition, and no doubt this Mahler series will also be released as a complete box set once all the recordings have been made.
The opening is restrained, while the finale provides all the expected nightmarish angst which typifies Mahler's life and music. Gergiev's LSO promises to provide a cycle which is as inspirational as Haitink's and LSO's Beethoven set.
Great listening which hints at more to come.
8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Horenstein's best,
Nonetheless, this disc is a must for every serious collector.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stereo Recordings from the late Sixties,
Unicorn are to be congratulated for capturing the currently unfashionable Horenstein in (then) up to date stereo, since he did indeed make his name , and make Mahler's name in the fifties with mono recordings (such as the Ninth on Vox).
Horenstein's performances stand alongside the best from any period, though I have sympathy with Bernstein's approach in most of these symphonies. The music is so titanic that it can emerge victorious from many different manners of approach.
Two words sum up this performance. Concentrated and considered; perhaps with the adverb 'deeply' preceding each word!
If you are building a library of 'significant' recordings then this is certainly one of them
7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE version of the first,
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