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While Bernstein with Vienna in 1971 is probably the most iconic and extraordinarily special Mahler 9, this is the greatest!,
This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
For anyone wanting the finest Mahler 9 available in any format, I truly believe this is the one. Once you know Mahler I think experiencing the great Bernstein performances are as important as hearing Pears sing Britten or Rostropovich play Shostakovich, especially when Bernstein conducts Mahler's Ninth. He owns the work, even when he loses it within a performance like his terribly flawed Concertgebouw performance from 1985, which I'll defend to the death as still being incredibly powerful. His greatest performance, like Abbado's, is also on video, with Vienna in 1971, contrary to popular opinion (most people say it is his Berlin Philhamonic account but that is marred by a massive missed entry of the entire Trombone section at the peak of the work and all sorts of other anomalies). The Vienna video, ironically filmed in Berlin's Philharmonie, must be seen as it's incredibly moving and extraordinary.
That said, in terms of execution, intensity, performance standard, visual and sonic brilliance and all around quality, this is the Mahler 9 for the ages and Mahler's Ninth Symphony is one of the world's greatest masterpieces without a doubt. To watch this all star band with Sabine Meyer on First Clarinet and Natalia Gutman on Cello and all of the other magnificent soloists, who have become as familiar as the New York Yankees of yesteryear, is a pleasure and a privilege. Their joy in making music under this seemingly selfless and giving conductor, who is completely about the music and the music alone, is palpable and amazing. Press buy with one click now! R Mathes