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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Live performance gets better as it goes on
This is a live performance that gets better as it goes on. While conjuring a beautifully balanced introduction with wonderfully balanced horns within the string harmonics, the main theme of the first movement is a little four-square. It seems that Rattle is determined to make it a real first-subject tune, worthy of its symphonic context, rather than indulge its...
Published on 22 Aug 2005 by Klingsor Tristan

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars slightly disjointed Mahler by Rattle
i brand new amazon on the cheap as always eager to hear different versions by established conductors. Rattle here recorded Mahler's first symphony in a live version with the Birmingham SO before he moved on to his role as comductor with the Berlin Phil. recorded sound is fine, booklet notes are quite detailed + the artwork is attractive and of the era the work was...
Published 11 months ago by simon mack


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Live performance gets better as it goes on, 22 Aug 2005
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Klingsor Tristan (Suffolk) - See all my reviews
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This is a live performance that gets better as it goes on. While conjuring a beautifully balanced introduction with wonderfully balanced horns within the string harmonics, the main theme of the first movement is a little four-square. It seems that Rattle is determined to make it a real first-subject tune, worthy of its symphonic context, rather than indulge its fahrenden Gesellen ancestry with the more relaxed, gemutlich feel that, say, a Barbirolli gives it. This desire to emphasise the classical strengths of the movement leads Rattle into more exaggerated speeding up and slowing down than we expect from him in Mahler, usually in an attempt to point up the architectural structure of the music. It ends up feeling a bit too pulled about and a little flat.
The second landler movement sounds as if it is going to go on in the same vein. The main section here is bit plain-Jane, too - neither the energy of a Horenstein or a Bernstein nor the wonderfully Breughelian pesante stomp of Barbirolli (either with the Halle or, especially, with the NYPO). But then we get lift off. The trio suddenly starts to sparkle with wonderfully lifted waltz rhythms. It's as if the gears have all suddenly engaged. Rattle's slow movement is alive to all its startling changes of mood - the heavy tramp of the Huntsman's funeral (it's said to be based on a Caillot painting of the woodland animals burying their persecutor, set to a dirge-like minor-key Frere Jacques or Bruder Martin): then Austrian town-band oom-pah: then wild, excitable klezmer-style dance music: and then the sad but beautiful sounds of the heartbroken lover from the second fahrenden Gesellen song in this symphony, 'Die zwei blauen Augen'. All these elements work together by setting off flashes and reflections of each other from their close juxtaposition.
The funeral march treads to its tam-tam coloured end and, with a great shriek from the orchestra, we're off on the finale (Rattle is always very good at getting his producers to obey Mahler's instructions for the pauses between movements). Like many Mahler finales (e.g. 2, 6, 7, 8) this can sound diffuse and unstructured in the wrong hands. Here Rattle's ability to hold things together with real symphonic cohesion does work. The second subject soars on the strings as it should, the return to the very opening of the symphony seems absolutely right in context and the peroration is suitably triumphant. This is as fine a reading of this movement as you'll find.
On this disc, you also get 'Blumine' for your money, the movement that Mahler borrowed for the symphony from his incidental music for Der Trompeter von Sakkingen but later rejected. It is first on the disc, but you can obviously progamme it into context if that's the way you want to hear the symphony. Personally I think Mahler was right, charmingly sentimental though the movement is. It gets a suitably atmospheric reading from Rattle here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars slightly disjointed Mahler by Rattle, 11 Aug 2013
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i brand new amazon on the cheap as always eager to hear different versions by established conductors. Rattle here recorded Mahler's first symphony in a live version with the Birmingham SO before he moved on to his role as comductor with the Berlin Phil. recorded sound is fine, booklet notes are quite detailed + the artwork is attractive and of the era the work was written in .

however , this version for me just doesn't gel - as Rattle offers a cautious , disjointed reading of this marvellous work. there is a surprising lack of excitement or fervour considering this is a live version. Kubelik offers a far more satisfying experience as tempi are better judged, dynamics are less exaggerated when compared Rattle , and Kubelik produces from the Bavarian Radio SO, a deeper sense of wonder than here. Kosler + the Slovak Phil on naxos is a better, less mannered, more powerful version also. as is Abbado on DG.

Rattle's version simply fails to work for me. Kubelik's earlier version on DG is far more satisfying. re-assuringly the Penguin guide to classical music felt the same way at the time commenting that Rattle produced far better reading of Mahler's other symphonies than here. so - a missed opportunity for Rattle here.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ... music and anyone who enjoys his approach will be happy with this disc, 3 July 2014
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Simon Rattle has always had an affinity with Mahler's music and anyone who enjoys his approach will be happy with this disc. It doesn't reach the heights of his CBSO recording of the mighty Second Symphony, however, and wouldn't be my library choice. For that I'd turn to Kubelik or Bernstein, both of whom do a better job of bringing out both the darkness and the charm of the work. Bernstein in particular has great fun with the klezmer sections. The Rattle recording has much to recommend it nevertheless, not least the inclusion of the Blumine movement which Mahler deleted from the final version of the symphony and which most conductors omit.

The recording quality is good but you'll need to turn the volume right up to hear the quieter passages. The first time I played the disc Blumine was almost inaudible. Be warned, though - this performance contains 'highs' and with the volume cranked up your speakers could be in grave danger during the louder bits!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rattle's poignant and colourful performance of Mahler's 1st Symphony with the CBSO is marvellous, 19 May 2014
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Rattle's recording of Mahler's 1st symphony with the CBSO was a live recording and I think it is wonderful and unique and it has never received the credit that it deserves.
The first movement opens slowly and the wayfarer theme is presented in a new and fresh way - something that a lot of recordings don't do.The atmosphere of calm and beauty and magical freshness is continued throughout the movement and the climax is hair raising in its excitement. I actually think Rattle reminds me of Karajan's conducting in quite a lot of this performance in that Rattle has an ear for how certain orchestral parts should sound; and the drumbeats at the end of the movement are truly threatening.
The second movement is great too and a lot of excitement is generated by the orchestra. The third movement once again shows just how talented Rattle is in that he can achieve a dark sound from the opening in a way that some other recordings do not. The village band players or Jewish wedding episode is introduced subtly and the final song from the Wayfarer song is a beautiful contrast to the gloom and triviality of what is going on in the movement.
The fourth movement is a brilliant performance by Rattle showing fury against Fate and then bravery in carrying on despite it.The final apotheosis is truly glorious and so uplifting and the symphony ends on ecstasy and no wonder the audience went wild at the end.
The performance of Blumine is heartfelt and fits in nicely with the mood of the symphony.
This is a truly marvellous performance of Mahler's1st symphony.Well Done Sir Simon and the CBSO!
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