29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Magnificent New Ninth From Rattle & the BPO,
This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 (Audio CD)
Even if you're happy with whatever great Ninth/s you already have in your possession, think seriously about buying this. It's affordable, much cheaper than the Vienna recording, and better recorded by far. You must know by now what a superb Mahlerian Rattle is. He has spoken, I believe, about the Ninth as part of a triptych with Das Lied and the Tenth Symphony. The new Berlin Ninth is to my mind the realisation of Schoenberg's description of the symphony as (paraphrase), a series of dispassionate statements of beauty. There is something chaste, almost glacial, and finally purifying about this recording's voyage into Mahler's loving, sublime, mortified psyche. At times I thought I was with Karajan's orchestra of the 1980s.
I love the way Rattle is able, on this occasion, to elucidate musical details, leaf and flower, without the drama getting forestalled. Everything moves just as it should. The landler is splendidly gritty and the Berlin strings really let rip in the adagio. The closing pages are magical, very moving because tears are held in check.
To be honest, I wouldn't choose this ahead of karajan's 1982 recording which intriguingly has more bite and ferocity in the middle movements, more grace and refinement geared towards drawing us into a battle with mortality drawn uncomfortably close. Rattle really is too reserved in the rondo, but nevertheless this is quite an achievement and definitely worth acquiring even as a supplement to the Complete Symphonies box-set. Take a deep breath...
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Initial post: 12 Oct 2008 09:20:10 BDT
Jon Chambers says:
Interesting review. Rattle isn't the only one to think of these three works you mention as a triptych - Michael Kennedy, among others, thinks much the same. I'd recommend his book on Mahler (in the Master Musician series, Dent) as warmly as you recommend the CD. I'll have to listen to Rattle/Berlin, even though I'm more than satisfied with the Wiener recording, the Adagio of which is playing as I type.
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