4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2013
Bernard Haitink is one of, if not the most prolific recording artists as far as Mahler is concerned and, in my view, this is his finest interpretation of any Mahler symphony, let alone the Resurrection.
I have registered disappointment that the focus on Mahler (and Bruckner) has taken away attention from Haitink's expertise and inspiration in other orchrestral works. In that respect, I have in mind the magnificent Concertgebouw Tchaikovsky cycle, his version of the Schumann symphonies and his magnificent Schubert 9 (the latter unaccountably never released on CD) .
In this version of the Mahler 2 there is the same element of intense classicism which is a perfectly valid way of interpreting this composer. It shares a lot of the virtues of the roughly contemporaneous Berlin version. However, the lighter quite beautiful string tone of the brilliant Dresdeners, together with a sense of occasion captured by the live recording, make this the better version. Although I don't see the problem with it, Haitink himself did not like his initial Concertgebouw foray of the sixties, dismissing it as cold and preferring a broader initial movement with a higher degree of fantasy. I think this recording perfectly answers that criticism.It ends magnificently, a fitting climax to an intense performance.
The Dresden Staatskapelle is a great orchestra and with Haitink formed a superb partnership. It's at it's best with the more self effacing interpreters ( Kempe in Strauss, Sawallisch in Schumann, Blomstedt in Beethoven and of course Haitink in Mahler and Bruckner ).
A superb release.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2014
On February 13 , 1995, felt the 50th anniversary of WW2 destruction of Dresden, and on that occasion Bernard Haitink led the Staatskapelle in an astonishing performance of Gustav Mahler's Second Symphony at the Semperoper.
This recording, released in 2012, stands as a terrific testimony of that event.
Haitink Dresden M2nd is a gripping and powerful performance, it's dark and dramatic.
Since the first bar we perceive the climate pervading that special occasion.
Every 13th February in Dresden a concert takes place since 1951 to remember the tragedy, and 1995 was the first time a Requiem were not chosen.
But, we could say, everything might be conveyed through the most terrific Requiem's pages is returned here in a relentless crescendo of drama.
It seems All Who Passed due to the most tremendous tragedies of Humanity were called to attend the Last Judgement in the mid of an heaven-stormy atmosphere, empathized by the legendary bronzed sound of the Staatskapelle.
The sense of tragedy is perceived as it rose from the most sorrowful depths. It lasts on the background all along the symphony reaching its peak in the last movement.
Die Grosse Appell (and what precedes ) leaves no doubt what a terrific event it's focused on.
All this is not conveyed by stressing "special effects", on the contrary this is a severe and uncompromising rendition, at that point one could hardly image.
After the last bar.. no applause followed - as it was requested to underline the sense of mourning of the event.
And.. this final SILENCE (clearly recorded) is breathtaking after such an epilogue, one feels as the whole audience had been overwhelmed or even petrified in the face of the immeasurable greatness of what just faded in front of them.
The sound recording is astonishing too. And the booklet included in the set features many enlightening and outstanding essays (in German and English) about Dresden tragedy, the event and the music itself (there is too a program note written by the same Mahler for a performance of the symphony he delivered in Dresden).
Let me say - after listening this album three times in the last days - it could be unfairly reducing to say this is the best Mahler 2 Haitink led (among his five commercial items) for.. this is simply THE BEST AND MOST IMPOSING "RESURRECTION" EVER RECORDED.
And - in my opinion - since decades, only Myung-Whun Chung extraordinary M2 performed with Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (DGG) can match up with this one overall.
To summarize: should I be forced to stay into the proverbial Desert Island, I'd like at least two Mahler 2nd were allowed me to be brought and ..no doubt ..they are the two I quoted right now.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2013
Great occasions do not always make great recordings but this one most emphatically does. The occasion was the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing of Dresden in the Second World War by the Allies on 13 February 1945. Since 1951 there has been a tradition of anniversary concerts in Dresden, usually of requiem masses. In 1995 instead they had Mahler's Resurrection symphony in this performance conducted by Haitink. Haitink leads a superbly paced performance and the orchestra give of their best. Some people find the Andante and the Scherzo slightly too slow; I can only say, that while tending to prefer fast speeds myself, I do not find them so, and it is possible to savour the beautiful tone of the Dresden clarinets and flutes in the Scherzo. The finale is as atmospheric as you could wish and the large choir shows superb control in their hushed entry and afterwards rise to great shouts of triumph. Charlotte Mangiono has two slightly unsteady moments but otherwise is secure and Jard van Nes shows her customary tone and control. After the performance Haitink lit a candle at the site of the Frauenkirche which has now happily been rebuilt. Spare a thought for it and the terrible story of Dresden when you listen to this uplifting performance.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2012
Have bought ANOTHER version of Mahler 2 - my sixth! - and once again find out more about the piece. This performance from 1995 is not as fleet of foot as Haitink's CSO version, and perhaps spends a little too much time en route - but a fine recording of an event (the Fiftieth anniversary of the bombing of Dresden) and a very atmospheric recording of an amazing orchestra, not like the standard "super-orchestra" sound we get too much of. Final movement is stunning, and one wonders how often before 1995 the Dresden orchestra had played Mahler 2? Worth a flutter!