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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a Rattle Mahler recording from Berlin of real stature!
I find my self surprised to be writing a review of this recording in such favourable terms, as I was never as enamoured of Rattle's CBSO recording as many, and I have been distinctly unimpressed with the majority of Rattle's Berlin output both in terms of performance and recording. In the case of the first recording, while it was very good, the critical over-hype...
Published on 3 Mar 2011 by D. S. CROWE

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12 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the most dramatic 'Resurrection'!
I have over the years listened to dozens of recordings of Mahler's cataclysmic 'Resurrection' symphony and have a fair number of versions on my shelves. Seeing this new recording I immediately bought it without hesitation; Rattle's earlier foray with the CBSO was very good indeed and with the Berliner's on this one I had high hopes. What a disappointment!! Tempi are at...
Published on 17 Feb 2011 by SteveH


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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a Rattle Mahler recording from Berlin of real stature!, 3 Mar 2011
By 
D. S. CROWE "Music Lover" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection' (Audio CD)
I find my self surprised to be writing a review of this recording in such favourable terms, as I was never as enamoured of Rattle's CBSO recording as many, and I have been distinctly unimpressed with the majority of Rattle's Berlin output both in terms of performance and recording. In the case of the first recording, while it was very good, the critical over-hype especially here in the UK was extraordinary! I have always felt that there was an element of Dr.Johnson's dog dancing on its hind legs about the reaction, especially from those who recalled the dire, dead days of this orchestra under Hugo Rignold when standards seemed to have sunk beyond redemption! The recording was rather muddy, and both soloists were in truth past their best.
Since moving to Berlin, I feel that Rattle has too often succumbed to "Mercedes-Benz" syndrome-performances are beautifully polished, sleekly played-and rather dull. EMI has not triumphed in catching the full impact of the Berlin Philharmonic and STILL have problems with the Philharmonie's acoustic.
I have in particular found Rattle's Berlin Mahler to be particularly dull-I actually gave away my copies of 5 &10. I had not expected to like this recording either, but I was "persuaded" (bullied!) by a friend from Germany to expend the paltry sum for this recording-and I am extremely glad I did. It now joins the pantheon of my favourite "Resurrections", recordings of which I have too many to admit to. Yes, it is softer-grained than some, and if you think that this symphony should be a breakneck adrenaline rush in the manner of Solti, you are not going to like this performance. If, like me, you are looking for something more profound and sensitive, then this recording is a strong contender. Rattle's tempi are on the broader side, but well chosen and his interventionist approach ensures plenty of ebb and flow with apposite changes of tempo, and extreme gradation of dynamics. I love his use of portamento, and there is no shortage of rubato either.
I am at a loss to understand the carping about the soloists-maybe because one is Mrs Rattle?-as they sing beautifully and sensitively at all times. Chorus and orchestra are magnificent, and finally EMI have produced a wonderful sound picture, very accurately reproducing the experience of being in that hall. The climax is floor-rattling and speaker blowing-but offstage brass is a tad too offstage for my preference, though it is audible.
So, for the first time in my view, Rattle has given us a much improved performance of noble, heroic and moving proportion, and I urge you to ignore some the sideswipes that have been launched at it and hear it for yourself.
A most unexpected and welcome pleasure that I recommend unreservedly with 5 stars, a first for me where Rattle and Berlin are concerned! Stewart Crowe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great work, great performers, 23 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection' (Audio CD)
I heard Mahler 2nd Symphony live in Berlin last february. This recording allows to share that wonderful experience. Conductor, singers, orchestra, chorus: all performers are at its best
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mahler by Rattle, 26 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection' (Audio CD)
I have two other recordings of The Resurrection. This is immeasurably the best and will give us great pleasure over the years
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rattle asks the listener to take more time, but it's well worth it--beautiful Mahler that touches the depths of the soul, 1 Mar 2012
By 
Andrew R. Barnard (Leola, Pa United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection' (Audio CD)
For Sir Simon Rattle, Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony is sacred ground, as it was the piece that first inspired him to become a conductor. Not only did he go on to become one of the world's most extraordinary musicians, but he developed a long history interpreting the symphony. Now that he is at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic, arguably the world's greatest orchestra, he must be almost in a daze, conducting a piece that evokes strong memories for him with an orchestra that can shock listeners with its skill--and Mahler is a particular strength of theirs. For many, the concern is that everything is so ideal for Rattle that he'll wallow in the strength of the orchestra without adding much new interpretive value.

The very opening of the first movement lets us know that Rattle is at least trying to say something new. It's his slow tempi that will instantly catch the listener's ear. If you want the opening movement to push and pull with fiery intensity, you've come to the wrong place. I'm not sure if Rattle's approach is the most desirable, but within minutes I'm surrounded by sounds that are achingly beautiful. No one can voice like Rattle, certainly not in Mahler. If you're willing to take the time, there's a world of amazing detail waiting. And while Rattle isn't aiming for excitement, he's terrifying; just listen to the climaxes and you'll be knocked off your seat.

Rattle seems to know that balance is important, quickening his pace in the 2nd movement. He's completely satisfying, digging into the music with vigor. This movement provides relief after the portentous preceding movement; Rattle lets it soar. The Berliners are captivating, responding to Rattle's every move with grace and an incomparable expressivity.

After the timpani rudely awakens us from our dreams of blissful contentment, we're back to tossing and turning again. But Rattle is poised, choosing wit over outright agitation. By this time it has become clear that Rattle wants us to love this symphony, not fear it. In the 3rd movement that doesn't mean he's timid (the big climaxes couldn't be more chilling) but he takes time to show forth Mahler's soft side--and voice with an unrivaled mastery. It's emotionally gripping, to be sure, though some will wish he would quicken his pace. I for one am perfectly content, mesmerized, in fact.

One would think that Rattle would have no beauty left for the 4th movement. But, no, he shows more tenderness than ever before. Magdalena Kozena, his wife, sings with unquestionable poignancy. I was moved to tears. Rattle finds a way to combine tragedy and optimism that is spell-binding. Once again, I'm thoroughly impressed.

Rattle launches us into the massive finale with the full strength of the Berliners. This movement goes through a wide range of changing episodes, the kind of material that finds Rattle in his element. The music is wrought with anticipation; while preparing us for the unforgettable conclusion, Rattle wants us to enjoy the journey all the way through. When the brass make their entrance after several moments, it's with passion and astonishing power. As the movement progresses, Rattle becomes fiery and lets the Berliners play as if though their life is at stake but it never becomes slightly chaotic. When the Berlin Rundfunkchor enters, it's with haunting beauty. Kate Royal sings her part with sincerity and Rattle conducts with trustful expectation. There's good reason for expectation; after several moments of blissful sounds, it's time to experience the true power of resurrection. For many listeners, including myself, this is when Rattle is going to be tested the most. But he blossoms here more than ever. I'll just say that it's glorious, expansive, enough to lift one above the clouds. Rattle finds a way to express hope and love while still letting the music catch on fire. The last closing minutes leave me shouting with excitement. But when it's all over, I catch myself wiping away tears. That's something only the most genuine conductor can accomplish.

In closing, this isn't a "Resurrection" for those who want the most dramatic Mahler on the market. Rattle takes a deeper approach, one that asks us to come to the work. But if you don't mind taking extra time, Rattle has achieved something extra special, wholly musical. While the orchestra is stunning, I don't think Rattle is guilty of relying on the Berliners to a fault; this is intimate Mahler that speaks to the heart. I owe Rattle my sincerest gratitude for making this symphony so touching.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'll stick with Rattle and the CBSO, 12 Feb 2011
By 
Benjamin (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection' (Audio CD)
Having been really moved by Rattle's Mahler 2 with the CBSO Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection' I was looking forward to this recording, however now that it has arrived and having listened to it I am not so sure. The first thing that strikes is the slow tempi, although overall this recordings is only a little longer than the earlier CBSO, at times this seems ponderous and mannered, even self-conscious.

There is no doubt this is a very polished performance, and the recording quality and the playing are excellent, even more so considering this is a recording of a live performance, but this polish almost seems to count against it, it lacks the bite and thrust one ought to expect from Mahler; it is just a little too comfortable, a little too refined; where is the struggle, the bite? - this is music that in its day shocked, it is hard to imagine that being so on listening to this performance. Furthermore, while the Berlin Philharmonic is excellent, I am not overly impressed by the two soloists.

When I first heard Rattle's earlier performance with the CBSO I was absolutely astonished by it, it came as a revelation, maybe I was expecting too much of this new recording, but it seemed to add little or nothing to the earlier one.

An interesting performance, but for me it will not be taking precedence over Rattle's earlier CBSO recording.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 1 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection' (Audio CD)
Great CD , great recording
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grows on you!, 9 April 2011
By 
John Moyes "JRM" (Cyprus) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection' (Audio CD)
I looked forward to this CD. But when I first played it - ouch! The tempo of the first bars - the most exciting of symphonic openings in my view - seemed far too slow and almost shocked me it seemed so disjointed. No other performance, concert hall or CD, that I had heard had had the same adverse effect on me. I admit that probably prejudiced me against the whole performance the first time round. However, I persevered and after listening carefully to the CD three or four times over a period of days changed my opinion entirely. So, my advice would be to buy it and be prepared to listen to it a few times before you make up your own mind. I see that others commenting on this disc have drawn comparisons with the earlier Rattle/CBSO recording, mainly favouring that one. I am not so sure. I listen to the CBSO disc quite often and rate it highly. But I think that the BPO produce a much more pleasing sound, especially in the second movement.
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sir Simon's New Resurrection Outclasses Its Famous Predecessor, 10 Feb 2011
By 
Philoctetes (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection' (Audio CD)
I could see this new live recording of Mahler's Second Symphony becoming my absolute favourite. Time will tell. At the present moment, all I can say is that it really is quite magnificent: a triumph.

You've got to hand it to Rattle & EMI: all the remakes of his Mahler recordings have been improvements. The Seventh, the Ninth, the Tenth and now the Resurrection as well. With any luck they'll give us a new Titan to replace the dreary Birmingham recording. I had been trepidatious as I waited for my pre-order to arrive. So cheap, live in the awkward recording acoustic of Philharmonie and with none of the visual splendour of Rattle's award-winning CBSO recording (c.1986, with an awesome reproduction of a dies irae on the front).

I have heard more in this recording, courtesy of the Berlin Philharmonic, than I ever guessed was in the score beforehand. So wise to put the first movement on a separate disc; it needs a break afterwards, for more than before this new version from Rattle is tone-poetry of the most uncanny and expressive kind. Once again, a new Rattle recording makes one sit up and take note. I was never happy with the older version - it always sounded a bit dull and the orchestra a bit distant. In my opinion this is sonically superior as a recording, right down to the offstage band, the organ, the hushed choral entry; even a touch of humour to the introductory timps of the Wunderhorn scherzo. There is more corporate excellence to this orchestra and if the choir do not exactly eclipse their Birmingham forerunners they certainly don't fall short.

Above all, there is the conductor, seemingly more in love with the symphony than ever before. It was his first Mahler. Mine too, and mine was with a conductor I believe Rattle admires: Rafael Kubelik. In the superb essay accompanying this CD the influence of Beethoven's Ninth is discussed and once or twice I felt a hankering after Kubelik's sense of line and momentum; his determination not to over-indulge Mahler's neuroses. But does he then underplay them? Anyone who has heard the live 1980s Kubelik recording on Audite will know that his interpretation became bolder and more expansive over time, just as Sir Simon's has.

A more fitting comparison might be made with Bernstein (NYPO, also late '80s). There is equal beauty in this Berlin Philharmonic recording, though less voluptuous beauty. There is no lack of theatricality either, but what really tells is the time saved as Bernstein's helter-skelter reading adds maybe another six minutes and he goes way over the top for the choral outburst at the end. The crash, when it comes in the third movement, is way more terrifying with Rattle and the closing bars more revelatory at the symphony's ecstatic peroration. Rattle also has the better contralto, although neither on this form can approach Janet Baker.

So to sum up, I think this is way more exciting and more beautifully executed than Rattle's CBSO version and when you can say you heard new things in a familiar piece of music - and that they were good things - then there really is no argument. At an unbelieveably affordable price and with an excellent booklet, you cannot afford to ignore this masterful Mahler 2nd.

UPDATE (JULY 2013): listening again and one cannot fail to apprehend the sheer beauty, the colossal power, of this Berlin Philharmonic performance. It really is a great live recording from EMI and no matter how taken the critics were with Jurowski or Tennstedt, the new Rattle should not be ignored.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, 23 April 2013
By 
T.R.SULLIVAN (OXSHOTT, SURREY United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection' (Audio CD)
Rattle knows and understand his MAHLER. If you are a Mahler fan, you simply have 2 choices, and neither will fail you. Karajan (conducting the same orchestra) and Rattle. It is simply a matter of personal choice. They are both exhaustive in their attention to detail and far superior to, say, Furtwaengler. Rattle is clearly the more contemporary and perhaps wins on points with the quieter, more gentle moments, where Karajan is sometimes tempted to "up the tempo" when this isnt called for.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mahler symphony no 2, 24 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection' (Audio CD)
A fine performace of the symphony and very reasonably priced. I particularly noticed crisp persussion providing the necessary sudden jolts. Also the excellent sound quality added to the enjoyment.
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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'
Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection' by Gustav Mahler (Audio CD - 2011)
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