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Gustav Mahler's Symphonies: Critical Commentary on Recordings Since 1986 (Discographies: Association for Recorded Sound Collections Discographic Reference) Hardcover – 5 Sep 2000
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About the Author
LEWIS M. SMOLEY is the author of The Symphonies of Gustav Mahler: A Critical Discography (Greenwood, 1986), a companion volume to this work. Smoley has written and lectured extensively on Mahler's music and has performed with and conducted the Town Hall Orchestra of New York and The Suffolk Chamber Orchestra. He received his musical training at Queens College and the Juilliard School. He currently serves as vice president of the Gustav Mahler Society of New York.
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There is such a wealth of information here that any reader would surely be impressed with the depth and clarity. Although this discusses Mahler recordings 'since 1986' many of those covered actually hail from before that time but have been re-released since the publication of the previous volume. This means that you find Rattle's Mahler alongside that of Klemperer, Walter and so on. The writing is often very blunt, but Smoley also punches through when he loves a recording. The gushing, glowing appraisal of Bernstein's (then) Videos (now DVDs, of course) and Rattle's Mahler are as forthright as his almost amusing attack on Klemperer's Mahler 7 (oh how I agree with him on that one!!!). A wealth of detail is uncovered by Smoley and you will notice things in the recordings that you never heard before just because he mentions them. Again, you might not agree with his assessment of their worth or otherwise, but you will certainly think about it!
What is irritating, I suppose, is the impenetrable self-belief of Smoley himself. There isn't really any acceptance of alternative views at all. Every statement is a statement of 'fact', taking away the objectivity somewhat. But who cares? Just enjoy your own little private argument with Smoley's book and listen to some great Mahler recordings along the way.
Oh if you are one of those people who gets angry when a critic writes something you don't agree with because it means that they are stupid or just you are an infinitely better person don't buy this. In fact please don't read reviews at all because you clearly don't understand what they are for!!!!!