Customer Reviews


18 Reviews
5 star:
 (15)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A supreme set!
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...
Published on 29 April 2012 by R. C. Ross

versus
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 16 months ago by Dissily Mordentroge


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

25 of 26 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
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 20 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
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 1 May 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein on Mahler, 12 Aug 2013
By 
Mrs. H. R. Shandor-hatfield "Zeli" (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 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
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein, 11 Mar 2014
By 
Noel F. Lowe "le pere noel" (dublin irelande) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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 .
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein Bargain, 1 July 2013
By 
Philip Watts (Holmes Chapel, Cheshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Landmark Mahler- and Bernstein, 2 Jan 2013
By 
Graham Mummery (Sevenoaks, Kent England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies & Kindertotenlieder (Audio CD)
Leonard Bernstein's New York cycle of Mahler Symphonies was a landmark. It was the first released commercial recording of all Mahler Symphonies (excluding the Tenth) and perhaps, Bernstein's greatest recording achievement from his New York period. These recordings are also important in my appreciation of Mahler. I was given them many years ago on LP. As I replaced them with CDs, I bought the symphonies individually, often from Bernstein's later DG cycle Mahler: The Symphonies as it unfurled.

The LPs suffered from CBS then habit of keeping microphones too close to the orchestra which created a harsh sound. This Sony remastering has cleared this up giving a cleaner, more natural sound which makes the orchestral detail so much clearer, showing just subtle Bernstein was in this area even his approach was dramatic. Each CD is in a reproduction of original LP sleeves, though reading them is difficult without a magnifying glass. There's also a booklet with photographs of Bernstein at the time, plus essay exploring his close, if idiosyncratic, identification with Mahler. My one complaint with this set is that there is no libretto for some of the Symphonies. That said, at bargain price, this set is an attractive package, not least because the performances are outstanding. I rate them as follows:

-No.1 (5 Stars). The New York performance is brilliant and charismatic, though, astonishingly, Bernstein's later DG performance (Mahler: Symphony 1) is even better (the best I've ever heard).
-No.2 (5 Stars). My LPs had a fine, later, performance with the LSO. But the one here with the New York Philharmonic is more spontaneous. Bernstein's best recording of the work.
-No.3 (5 Stars) remains my favourite performance of the work.
-No.4 (4 Stars) I have felt Bernstein's to this symphony needed more lightness of touch. The remastering corrects this. Bernstein also has female singer which works better than the boy soprano in the DG recording.
-No.5 (3 Stars). This performance is OK, but it's completely superseded by the later DG recording Mahler: Symphony No.5 with the Vienna Philharmonic.
-No.6 (5 Stars). Possibly the best recording of this set, and more intense than Bernstein's later one Symphony No.6, Kindertotenlieder again with the Vienna Philharmonic, which I wouldn't want to be without either.
-No.7 (5 Stars). Bernstein holds this schizophrenic work together as well as anyone. The later version was a fine performance, but the generally faster tempi in this version have more dramatic tension and so give the earlier performance the edge.
-No.8 (5 Stars). I know no version of this symphony that is so physically exciting.
-No.9 (5 Stars). The New York performance is less idiosyncratic than the later DG set, though I also have a strong partiality for Bernstein's Berlin Mahler: Symphony No.9 which is available separately.
-No.10 (4/5 Stars). Bernstein only ever conducted the Adagio from No.10. From the performance here, one can only wonder what he might have made of the work as a whole.
-Kindertotenlieder (5 stars). As a "filler" to go with the Adagio from the 10th Symphony there is a wonderful performance of this song cycle with the great mezzo Janet Baker.

Coming back to these performances, I have been pleasantly surprised at how outstanding these recordings are. The enhancement of the sound works in their favour. Though there are great recordings in Bernstein's later DG cycle, the earlier performances are often more exiting, hence I rate more of them higher. Indeed, with two exceptions, I would go as far as to say none of the later recordings supersedes what is here. I would be more than content if this New York cycle remains my sole recording of Mahler's Symphonies.

The obvious drawback of this set, as with those by great Mahler conductors of the same generation (e.g. Haitink, Kubelik, Solti and Tenstedt) is the need to purchase a separate disk for a complete version of No 10. Despite Deryck Cooke's "completion" of the work being more authentically the composer than in many similar projects, these conductors strangely refused to perform it. Simon Rattle's brilliant Berlin performance of Mahler: Symphony No.10 shows there is no longer any excuse for this, and is my recommendation to supplement this omission. None of this, however, should detract from the achievement here: it's an outstanding monument to Bernstein's conducting and well as Mahler's music.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews