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Mahler Symphony, No.2 [DVD]  [NTSC]
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The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the oldest concert orchestra in the world, and their Music Director Riccardo Chailly have already acquired legendary status glorious reviews and many awards for their recordings testifying to their continuing success. At Leipzigs International Mahler Festival, to mark the centenary of Mahlers death, they performed his monumental Second Symphony in the Gewandhaus together with two marvellous soloists and choral forces quite beyond compare. About the final movement the composer said: The increasing tension, working up to the final climax, is so tremendous that I dont know myself, now that it is over, how I ever came to write it.
These are two exceptional Mahler performances.Chailly's consuming joy in making music-and particular performing Mahler-shines through these moving concerts.I recommend these DVD's very highly indeed.(reviewing both Mahler 2 and 8) --IRR,Nov'11
…streamlined and sophisticated. Perfomance **** Picture and Sound ***** --BBC Music Magazine,Jan'12
...the excellent Sarah Connolly provides a lovely,intimate reading of 'Urlict'.Strongly recommended. --Gramophone,Jan'12
For a state-of-the-art DVD of this masterpiece, there's no need to look further. EDITORS CHOICE ***** --Classic FM Magazine,Feb'12
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Top Customer Reviews
The performance was totally magnificient. Unbelievable. It was also shown on Arte TV later in May 2011, and I have parts of it recorded on my HDD recorder, and it is truly amazing (also the sound and the camera work). I am sure the Blu-ray (1080p) will be at least as good compared to what they showed on HD TV (720p).
There will also be a release from the same festival for Mahler's 8th symphony, and that performance is also very good (it was also shown on Arte TV). Unfortunately, I am not such a big fan of his 8th symphony, I like all others better.
I can't wait to receive this Blu-ray of Mahler 2 to give it a full and proper review.
Update Oct. 4, 2011:
I received the Blu-ray disc today, and the quality is totally amazing (picture and sound). I already mentioned how much I like this performance, it is really worth seeing. I also have Abbado's Mahler 2 from Lucerne on Blu-ray (the revised version with the improved sonics), and that one is also very very good. Can't really say which one is the better performance, since both are really great. Technically, the Chailly disc is superior (picture quality, dynamics in sound).
I am not a big fan of the cardboard packaging used on this release. Maybe it is more environmentally friendly, but I prefer my Blu-ray discs in the blue Amaray cases, since all my other Blu-ray's are like that.
The first thing to state unequivocally is that both the performances as conducted by Abbado and by Chailly are equally fine in concept and delivery. They also share orchestras that are well able to fulfil every demand made of them by both Mahler and their respective conductors.
The interpretations are, of course, different in their intention and execution.
As a guide it is perhaps relevant to observe that the layout of each orchestra is somewhat different and perhaps a visual example/demonstration of the overall interpretive difference. The Abbado orchestra is spaciously spread over a large area with lots of working space for the players and this is very much the concept of the interpretation. By contrast the Chailly version has a much tighter and more traditional layout which again reflects that interpretation. The soloists in both versions are equally fine.
I found the Chailly version compelling, exciting and totally satisfying in what could be loosely described as in the traditional way whereas I found the Abbado version more overtly emotionally uplifting as a concept. The Chailly version could therefore be described as perhaps more of an outstanding main-stream view and the Abbado version more of a personal vision. Both are compelling.
On more mundane matters however, there can be little doubt that the Chailly issue has the advantage as a recording. The imaging offers greater definition whilst being equally sympathetic to the players and the music. The sound is of demonstration quality.Read more ›
But what of the performance itself?
Chailly uses a larger choir than Abbado, and the choral singing is as good as on the Abbado disc, but whereas Chailly's choir look like any choir one might see at a concert, Abbado's singers are dressed in monk-like robes and are more rigid and austere in their movements, adding to the almost religious feel of his performance.
The soloists on the Chailly disc adopt a more dramatic style than those on the Abbado disc, which suits Chailly's dramatic interpretation. In contrast, Abbado's soloists are more ethereal, stressing beauty over drama. For example, at the end of the first and second verses of the Aufersteh'n hymn, the voice of Abbado's soprano (Eteri Gvazava) soars effortlessly out of the choral background, whereas Christiane Oeize's entrance on the Chailly disc is much more evident and emphatic.
Chailly pauses (and moves off the podium) at the end of the first movement, in line with Mahler's instructions - it is at this point that the two soloists come onstage.
In the first three movements there is little to chose between Chailly and Abbado. Sarah Connolly(Chailly) and Anna Larsson (Abbado) are both good in the brief "Urlicht" movement, Larsson adopting a slightly more tender delivery.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Simply magnificent. Would recommend to all Mahler lovers. It made me see thsi symphony for the great early work it wisPublished on 8 Dec. 2012 by Barry Visser