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Mahler - Symphony No.7 Original recording remastered

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: New Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Jascha Horenstein
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (1 Sept. 2000)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: BBC Legends
  • ASIN: B00004XPKG
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 399,895 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No. 7: Langsam (Adagio) - Allegro risoluto, ma non troppo
  2. Symphony No. 7: Nachtmusik. Allegro moderato
  3. Symphony No. 7: Scherzo. Schattenhaft
  4. Symphony No. 7: Nachtmusik. Andante amoroso
  5. Symphony No. 7: Rondo-Finale. Tempo I (Allegro ordinario) - Tempo II (Allegro moderato ma energico)

Product Description

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I'm not capable of verbal eloquence, nor am I a qualified Mahler specialist. Nonetheless I fully trust my musical ear, and it says we have a great performance here (and a very good recording). I find myself irresistably drawn into something of incredible power. The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter hailed this as a definitive Mahler 7th when it was released a few years ago. While having heard only Abbado's two, indeed very fine DG recordings among others available I'm not in a position to make comparison. However the NPO and Jascha Horenstein convincingly create an illusion of the impossible, namely an unsurpassable performance. I would be very happy if this review could help someone to find this relatively unknown jewel. Five stars no doubt!
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Format: Audio CD
As much as I enjoy Horenstein's famous studio recording of the Third with the LSO, this live recording from the Royal Albert Hall is not on the same level for several reasons. It, too, has its issues with mistakes and cracked notes - not least the split horn note right at the very opening and again at the very end, at the climactic conclusion to the final, where things very nearly fall apart - but worse still, the level of musical inspiration simply does not compensate for those errors or indeed the poor recorded sound, which is very distant and murky, the reverberant acoustic robbing the music of much of its detail, subtlety and atmosphere. Furthermoree there is copious audience coughing throughout.

Horenstein's approach is generally swift but not especially exciting. In truth this is far from my favourite Mahler symphony; despite loving passages like the splendid conclusion, I find it to be too often either angular and hectoring or diffuse and disjointed. The second Nachtmusik is played fast and unsentimentally; having just listened to Sinopoli's inordinately drawn out interpretation I have to say that I think his excess finds more in the music than Horenstein does. It doe snot help that the incessant coughing and the distant acoustic combine with the brisk tempo to militate against the generation of any real magic or ambiance. The finale starts promisingly with a rumbustious riot but soon becomes too subdued; Mahler's peculiar version of "Janissary Music" remains oddly muted.

The audience reaction suggests that this whole performance came over much better live but we have to judge this as a recording in competition with versions by Solti, Kubelik, Tennstedt et al, so for me it isn't really in the running
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dissenting opinion 28 Jun. 2005
By Joel Rafi Zabor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have this in the Music & Arts edition, which may help. I've long prized this performance's improvisatory feel and have in the end preferred its frequently loose playing to the wonderful but rather posed Bernstein recording, and to any other performance of this symphony, though I haven't heard the recent Abbado yet. Horenstein's performance is deeply nocturnal, and is more naturally "sung" than any other I know of. Then again, I'm rapidly becoming something of a Horenstein fiend, so a grain of salt may be advisable. I do love this recording, though, and have for years. Too bad about the BBC sound; the Music & Arts issue is perfectly decent live broadcast stereo.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mahler 7 is hard to play 30 April 2006
By Colin Fortune - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Horenstein has a throughly deserved reputation as one of the great Mahler and Bruckner interpreters (despite the anti-Horenstein lobby in "Classics Today"). I only saw him twice in concert, in Bruckner 4 (where the standing ovation went on for 20 minutes) and in a much less successful Bruckner 6. Both were with the CBSO in Birmingham in the late 1960's, which was not at that time anywhere near as good an orchestra as it is at present. But like other great conductors (especially Klemperer) he could have his "off" days. Also, his rehearsal techniques of playing music at half-speed to make sure that the notes were all there and understood by the players took time and sometimes produced resentment in orchestras that were more sure of their sight-reading ability than he was! As he was not a resident (and platinum-plated) music director in the style of Karajan, the orchestras with which he worked were sometimes not of the first rank - and see my remarks about the CBSO above. This recording of Mahler 7 has great interest because one can feel the conductor attempting to draw out an individual interpretation from an orchestra that is having to work hard to play the music at all well. The catastrophic opening split notes on the tenor horn must have unsettled everybody playing and indeed Horenstein himself. The NPO would have been well aware that their playing was going out to thousands of people on the radio and nobody likes to sound second-rate. Given all that, this disc is worth hearing for the heroism of the event: the orchestra was not very familiar with the work (Klemperer's recording with them on EMI - now unavailable - is often, like their rehearsals probably were, at half speed). But they rally to the occasion and the playing gets much better as it goes along. Horenstein's view is swifter than some and full of imagination. But when sitting back and listening to the hi-fi we should remember that this difficult music to play and for a conductor to balance. Had the conditions been better and had they all had more rehearsal time then this would have been a contender for a first choice. As it is, the flaws and the rather poorer sound than the bootleg Descant and the Music and Arts pressings, make it more of a problem to recommend. If you want to get it, then try for the Music and Arts disc which sounds brighter - though you will probably have to buy this used. As to other recommendable Mahler 7 performances: Gielen for superb clarity and unforced unfolding of the musical arguments in fine sound; Bernstein (Sony) for the disc that taught a whole generation of Mahler lovers to love and understand this protean work, full of spiky fantasy and superb NYPO playing; Scherchen (Music and Arts NOT Orfeo/VSO)for one of the most alarming and inspiring Mahler discs ever made (possibly at times verging on the mad) and worth getting despite the poor sound for the very occasional listen; Bertini for a very satisfying "central" view of the work - and if you have not bought the whole cycle at its wonderfully low price, then reach for the Amazon one-click button NOW as together with Gielen and Kubelik it is right at the top for single conductor cycles. Do NOT buy the cold and analytical Boulez DGG recording or, unfortunately, the EMI Rattle/CBSO. This last does not represent Rattle's fine interpretation (which I have been lucky enought to hear several times live as it was the most often repeated symphony during his 18 years in Birmingham). For that we must hope that contractural difficulties will be overcome and the wonderful Proms performance will be issued eventually on the same BBC series as the Horenstein disc.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A memorable performance in a less successful incarnation 4 Jan. 2005
By L. Johan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Horenstein's August 29, 1969 Prom performance of Mahler's seventh symphony is one of the classic performances of this enigmatic work, and needs no further argument for Mahlerites.

It has appeared on disc several times for various bootleg labels. The present BBC Legends disc is the most "official" and recent incarnation. Unfortunately, and surprisingly, the transfer has some technical shortcomings: stereo balance and frequencies are distorted, apparently in the attempt of "improving" the bright sound on the original master. This makes the BBC Legends version less preferable to the earlier bootleg versions. The best and most easily available of these is Music & Arts CD-4727(1). I recommend a search for that disc, which, unfortunately, is deleted.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Neither Horenstein nor Mahler in the best light 5 July 2005
By Paul Bubny - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
With a seismic crack on the very first note of the tenor horn solo, some badly garbled playing and insensitively rushed tempi, and murkier sound in this "official" release of a bootleg recording than the Music & Arts "unofficial" release of some years back, this one is strictly for Horenstein (and Mahler) completists who are willing to overlook a lot for the sake of an allegedly "legendary" live performance. Both the conductor's memory and the composer's music deserve more. For a showcase of what Horenstein could achieve in concert, check out his pairing of the Bruckner Eighth and Ninth Symphonies in this BBC series, from roughly the same time period (1969) as this comparatively dismal effort. As for the Mahler Seventh, it's better served by Bernstein, Inbal, Abbado and, especially, Gielen.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The closest we will ever get to hearing Furtwängler conduct a Mahler symphony 20 Mar. 2013
By Eddie the Eagle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am not an unconditional fan of Horenstein's Mahler. While I think his M3 belongs among the greatest, I have difficulties seeing much value in his M6 and M9, which both were recorded with an orchestra who was not up to the task. Overall, the playing of the Philharmonia orchestra in this M7 is impeccable, except from the hornist who hits the wrong notes on several occasions. It cannot be denied that this hornist has a disastrous impact for the performance as whole.

Nevertheless, this is without doubt the best M7 around. The 7th is often described as "kaleidoscopic". Most conductors simply give up at connecting its disparate fragments into a unity. Some conductors, notably Scherchen and to some extent Bernstein, take the kaleidoscopic interpretation to its extreme, by deliberately emphasizing contrast and jumping wildly from one scene to another. Conductors such as Abbado, Tennstedt, Jansons and Gielen bring enough unity to the symphony to make it listenable, but they are not convincing. One could therefore be tempted to think that Scherchen's fragmentation indeed is a sensible interpretation of the seventh.

But Horenstein brings such an idea to shame. Listen to how the first moment flows as naturally as a river. Listen to how tension builds up in the Scherzo. Listen to how dreamy the two Nachtmusik movements are. And finally, listen to the tenderness of the last movement. Scherchen's finale reminds me of an afterparty where the intoxicated crowd attempts to keep the party going for no good reason, although the sun has risen. Horenstein's finale in contrast radiates with the heat of a true sunrise. He shows an ability of controlling the dynamics and the balance of the orchestra which is so extraordinary that one could easily believe Furtwängler was the conductor.
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