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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Mahler 8
The instant the credits appear on screen it is clear that both sound and picture quality on this blu ray are going to be state of the art. The production team at Accentus {largely responsible for the acclaimed Abbado/Lucerne Mahler cycle) seem to have perfected the art of recording these works. If there are problems, they are likely to arise from your reaction to the...
Published on 28 Sep 2011 by Charles Eccles

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3 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money - get Tennstedt or Inbal
This conductor hasn't got a clue how to interpret Mahler or how to pace the 8th.

Fine sound and visuals (and that's all it seems to take to sway the other reviewers on here) can't compensate for such a shockingly bad interpretation. And why is the tenor soloist off? Of all parts!!!! Mahler would have kicked this shambolic lot out!

Get Tennstedt...
Published on 29 April 2012 by Amazon Customer


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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Mahler 8, 28 Sep 2011
By 
Charles Eccles (Bedfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
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The instant the credits appear on screen it is clear that both sound and picture quality on this blu ray are going to be state of the art. The production team at Accentus {largely responsible for the acclaimed Abbado/Lucerne Mahler cycle) seem to have perfected the art of recording these works. If there are problems, they are likely to arise from your reaction to the symphony itself, and, to some extent, Chailly's interpretation.
The playing of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is uniformally excellent, and the soloists are all beyond reproach, rarely the case in recordings of this symphony. It seems invidious to single out any of them for special praise but the the two main sopranos, Erika Sunnegardh and Ricarda Merbeth in particular, are stunning. The important tenor part is beautifully sung by Stephen Gould, though in one or two places he has to strain a little to reach the high notes. The choirs too are excellent,producing a veil of sound, audibly {and realistically) placed behind the orchestra.
But here we come to the first problem: Mahler's contrapuntal writing in the first movement is so dense at times that the resulting sound lacks the sharpness we may be accustomed to in other works. Having listened to other recordings and in concert, I have however had to conclude that this is actually what it does sound like. I do not think even the Accentus sound engineers could make these passages sound clearer. Overall, however, the orchestral and choral sounds are clearly and crisply caught, with indivdual thematic threads coming over with remarkable clarity. The climactic finale of the first movement is thrillingly caught as is the finale of the symphony. I have never "felt" the percussion cut through the orchestral texture so clearly before.
Ricardo Chailly plays the work pretty much "as written", and might appear slightly cool to some listeners compared to,say, Tilson Thomas. I would have liked a little bit more "schmaltz" at times, particularly in the "Dir, der Unberuhrbaren" section (20), where I would have preferred a bit more luscious sliding on the strings and heart-stopping "holding back" within phrases. But this is a matter of taste - it is beautifully played.
To sum up, this is probably the best Mahler 8 currently available and, as it seems unlikely that Abbado will record it with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, is likely to remain so for some time. Very highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Majestical Mahler, 20 Jan 2012
Long being a favourite work of mine the thought of this massive work in pristine quality blue-ray picture and surround sound was to tempting to resist. This was also assisted by some more than favourable reviews. Starting with the picture this is as about as good as you can get from deep blacks to the glint off the brass, every facial expression is captured with amazing clarity. The camera work and editing are also state of the art with nothing missed from the showers of perspiration flying off the conductor to the mezzo soprano taking quick drink (of water) before the tenor solo and a possibly amusing comment between members of the violins.

The sound (I can only base my opinion on plain DTS) more than matches the picture. The balance is as close to perfect as i have heard for a recording of this complex work. The weight of sound at the closing of PartI and in the closing pages is overwhelming with a powerfull depth of bass. Every instrumental solo is well defined with telling contributions from the piano,celeste,harmonium and mandolins in the many chamber like eposodes in Part II. The only complaint would be I felt the contribution from the organ particularly the opening was rather weak It more than makes itself felt in the closing pages of the work. The soloists are all excellent in their various solos and ensembles and it is a difficult work to cast. To my mind there are strengths and weaknesses among the soloists in all the available versions on CD/DVD. The tenor Stephen Gould deserves a particlar mention for his heroric singing.

The choral singing is first rate with some beautiful hushed singing at the start of the Chorus Mysticus. Splendid contributions from the choir of the StThomas Kirche choir and the boys choir. The playing of the Gewandhaus Orchestra is sublime. The conducting of Maestro Chailly shows a true grasp of structure and although the opening movement starts off rather cooly and detatched it grows in intensity and power leading to a thrilling conclusion to Part I. Part II is more episodic starting with an orchestal intoduction followed by various sections for chorus and solists before the final closing chorus, Mahler leaves the final word to the orchestra. Again I felt this was all wonderfully handled with particularly sensitive tempi in the chamber like sections and a nicely paced final chorus (not too rushed)The final sections I found profoundly moving (as they should be) Top marks to Accentus Music.

Just a little dissapointment should be directed to the box. I dont feel the cardboard slipcase will be as durable as the standard blue plastic case, mine has already split where it holds the booklet. This should not though detract from a stunning example of state of the art sound and vision and one of the high points of late romantic music.

I will have to seek out the Mahler 2 and look forward to the rumoured Abbado 8 and top priority invest in a new AV amp with DTS HD
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real performance, 18 Feb 2012
This is the best Mahler 8 I have seen...and heard. Chailly wips his players, singers and the audience into stratospheres of excitement and shows off the tender moments wonderfully. The finales to both part are simply thrilling. This video in Bluray is magnificent.
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3 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money - get Tennstedt or Inbal, 29 April 2012
This conductor hasn't got a clue how to interpret Mahler or how to pace the 8th.

Fine sound and visuals (and that's all it seems to take to sway the other reviewers on here) can't compensate for such a shockingly bad interpretation. And why is the tenor soloist off? Of all parts!!!! Mahler would have kicked this shambolic lot out!

Get Tennstedt Festival Hall or Inbal's denon recording to hear two very great 8ths. Leave this in the bluray dustbin where it belongs.
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Mahler Symphony No.8 [DVD] [2011] [NTSC]
Mahler Symphony No.8 [DVD] [2011] [NTSC] by Riccardo Chailly (DVD - 2011)
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