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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A set of historical and musical importance restored to glorious new lights-THE top ecommendation? It's a candidate!
If the Decca Solti Ring changed the course of modern stereo recording and set the agenda for many years, then this set of recordings made throughout the 1960s changed the course of not just recording but the programming and balance of musical performance for the last half of the Twentieth Century until today. It is not true that there had been no post war recordings or...
Published 19 months ago by D. S. CROWE

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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Amateurish re-mastering of Bernstein's Mahler.
If your first encounter with Bernstein's Mahler conducting was from this set you could be forgiven for thinking him lacking in any appreciation of the importanceof microdynamic expression in Mahler's symphonies. I have the original LP's, and although some of them have an exagerated treble, they are far more communicative than this particular re-mastering. The later Sony...
Published 18 months ago by Dissily Mordentroge


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A set of historical and musical importance restored to glorious new lights-THE top ecommendation? It's a candidate!, 28 Jan 2013
By 
D. S. CROWE "Music Lover" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies & Kindertotenlieder (Audio CD)
If the Decca Solti Ring changed the course of modern stereo recording and set the agenda for many years, then this set of recordings made throughout the 1960s changed the course of not just recording but the programming and balance of musical performance for the last half of the Twentieth Century until today. It is not true that there had been no post war recordings or performances of Mahler's music, but they were few and far between and mostly came about to accommodate the wishes of major figures such as Walter and Klemperer, but there were sporadic outbursts of Mahler recordings and I fondly recall Mono only recordings by Kletzki, Leopold Ludwig, Kubelik with the VPO no less, Charles Adler and Felix Prohaska. Solti also conducted Mahler One with VPO in 1961 in Salzburg, but in the mid 60's a critical battle was raging as to whether the symphonies were the banal doodling of a first rate conductor but a tenth rate composer, or masterpieces by an eccentric genius. Grove's Dictionary still listed them as "of little musical worth."
Bernstein was the ideal conduit to bring these works to a wide audience, with his public persona as a "media figure", and his frequent appearances on TV, where he was an excellent communicator and who attracted an audience as much for his huge success as a popular composer with hits such as "Maria" and Somewhere" being recorded by a gaggle of popular artists.
The resonances between Bernstein and Mahler were obvious-a Jewish Composer/Conductor, Music Director of the NYPO and a master of Schmaltz-and Angst. Some commentators suggested that "Lenny" might even be the reincarnation of Mahler, a proposition Lenny did not exactly dismiss!
The success of these recordings opened the floodgates and enabled concert promoters to fill halls for Mahler, and record companies to record Mahler with the certainty it would sell in droves. The rest is history.
Returning to these recordings has been not just a visit to old friends, but a revelation. I had forgotten how "classical" Lenny's approach to these works had been, and I can say that with the exception of 5 and 6 and the BPO 9, I prefer ALL these reading to his later ones, where self restraint was often replaced by self indulgence.
The NYPO was a crack band in the 60's, with many veteran expat European players and which had been drilled by Artur Rodzinzski into a truly world class orchestra. They responded to Bernstein in this music as if they had been playing it all their lives. The problem was always the recordings, which were thin, muddy and boxy and were improved only marginally by re-mastering for CD-until now.
This set has been newly re-mastered by Andreas Meyer into DSD format, and the results are little short of miraculous. What was previously somewhat of a gritted teeth exercise is now an open mouthed one, as the detail, richness and sonic splendour unfolds as never before.
The result is that this set at its paltry price becomes a MUST HEAR for all lovers of Mahler, all admirers of Bernstein and anyone seeking to explore Mahler's symphonies anew. Even those like me who have had some or all of these recordings in previous releases will enjoy a completely new experience with these recordings, and I can express nothing but admiration for this enterprise. If I had to single out any examples for particular praise, it would be No.'s 3 and 7, and 5 is not a dud as described in another review,with a particularly fizzing and angry second movement. As has been the practice with others in this series, the original LP covers and record labels are reproduced, there is a basic booklet and the dates and venues of the recordings are listed. There is available still a bargain box of his later DG recordings, which makes a perfect companion and gives a wonderful perspective on both the music and the conductor. However, if it's a choice between the two, this is now the one to buy (and I would advise supplementing it with the live BPO M9).
A truly important document brought back to a glorious light. Unlimited stars.
Stewart Crowe.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A supreme set!, 29 April 2012
By 
R. C. Ross (Birmingham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies & Kindertotenlieder (Audio CD)
I've lived with these recordings since they were first issued - that's over 40 years ago!

I have enjoyed and been enriched by many other recordings of these marvellous symphonies. I have a very deep appreciation of the recorded Mahler performances of Sir John Barbirolli, Otto Klemperer and Bruno Walter. In my experience there are few if any later conductors who command the authority, experience and wisdom that that golden generation brought to these works.

As a complete set I consider this first (CBS, New York) Bernstein set to be possibly more satisfying than any other - there are no weak links, only some that maybe a little stronger than some of the others (I'm thinking of the second, third, sixth and eighth as the high points)

(Of course this is not a complete set - Bernstein sadly did not accept the Cooke performing version of the tenth. A great pity, for had he conducted that effective version there can be no doubt that he would have projected its wonders with exactly the right spirit.)

I would emphasise that I am recommending this as a (sort of) 'complete' set (excepting the tenth). I would not want to be without the excellencies of James Levine's (incomplete) set - a set lacking the second and eighth.

A satisfying set, beautifully presented, well recorded (although the spotlighting is not ideal) and at a very attractive price!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 1 May 2012
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This review is from: Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies & Kindertotenlieder (Audio CD)
Leonard Bernstein was the supreme interpreter of Mahler, and these are his earlier recordings from the 1960s, but what recordings they are! The New York Philharmonic was at its peak, and these are all absolutely thrilling performances. Despite their age, the recordings are of exceptional, indeed, astonishing quality. The discs are beautifully packaged in replicas of the original sleeves, and the discs themselves have the livery of the CBS records of the time. My only criticism is that the sleeve notes are too small to read without a magnifying glass. There is, though, a very good booklet included. If you like Mahler, this is an essential purchase, and at an absolute bargain price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars first thoughts generally best, 25 May 2013
By 
M. R. Sammons (Somerset. UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies & Kindertotenlieder (Audio CD)
When you hear Bernstein in Mahler (and in other composers) there are jaw-dropping moments aplenty, either of revelation or willfulness, fortunately mostly the former. These earlier performances are less indulgent, more thrusting, than the later DG set, where greater recorded detail is sometimes offset by an over indulgent approach. His vocal soloists (apart from Janet Baker in the Kindertotenleider) are not always ideally expressive, and the first trumpet of the New York Philharmonic often has too much vibrato, but this set has some electrifying playing. Some interpretations remain constant, and those that dont are rarely changed for the better. This is the one to have, with a sense of freshness, excitement and discovery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mahler's Match, 4 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies & Kindertotenlieder (Audio CD)
A match made in heaven: Mahler, the brilliant romantic iconoclast whose genius in orchestration was scorned by the Nazis and neglected by European orchestras; and Bernstein, the brilliant romantic interpreter who identified himself with Mahler's 'neurotic intensity' and uncovered the twentieth-century heart of these ten symphonies, whose lyrical, emotional, and ironic extremes exploded the conventions of symphonic composition. This collection of the complete symphonies, recorded in the sixties with the New York Philharmonic (with the exception of No. 8, recorded with the LSO) represents one of the finest available: others being Bernstein's second series (for Deutsche Grammophon in the eighties with the NYPO, the Vienna Philharmonic and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw), and Riccardo Chailly's set for Decca with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the RSO Berlin. But this first, freshest excursion into Mahler's symphonic cycle brings to life, possibly more than any other, all of the passion and genius of both composer and conductor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein on Mahler, 12 Aug 2013
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Mrs. H. R. Shandor-hatfield "Zeli" (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies & Kindertotenlieder (Audio CD)
It's a great recording, and the information insert is a fascinating insight into Bernstein's relationship with Mahler's work. The interpretation is typically Bernstein: vibrant and insightful.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a joy and what an investment, 16 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies & Kindertotenlieder (Audio CD)
I need to thank the music lovers who recommended these recordings. I am without proper education in any matter, and certainly no expert in classical recordings, but having heard one of Mahler's symphonies played at the Birmingham Symphony Hall I just wanted to hear more. This set is one of the best investments I have ever made and I shall always be grateful to those of you whose recommendations I followed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein, 11 Mar 2014
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Noel F. Lowe "le pere noel" (dublin irelande) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies & Kindertotenlieder (Audio CD)
Bernstein is famous for his conducting of Mahler and it was great to find all the symphonies in one box set.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A milestone, 11 Feb 2014
This review is from: Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies & Kindertotenlieder (Audio CD)
If ever there was a very special interpretation of Mahler's Symphonies , this is it. Not only was Bernstein a harbinger of Mahler . But almost an unbeatable one .
The playing of The NYPO with Bernstein is spectacular . As a test , just listen to the 1st movement of Mahler's 3rd .
This is musicmaking on an exalted level seldom heard . And the sound is spacious and often spectacular .
Birgir Gudgeirsson .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein Bargain, 1 July 2013
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Philip Watts (Holmes Chapel, Cheshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies & Kindertotenlieder (Audio CD)
Bernstein is a justly acclaimed interpreter of Mahler and this competitively - priced cycle delivers the goods, managing to balance the Romantic and Modernist elements in the scores expansively but unsentimentally.
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