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Mahler: Symphony No. 8 Live

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Julia Varady, Jane Eaglen, Susan Bullock, Trudeliese Schmidt, Jadwiga Rappé, et al.
  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Klaus Tennstedt
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (28 Feb. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: BBC
  • ASIN: B004KDO2SE
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,177 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No. 8 in E Flat Major, 'Symphony of the Thousand' - London Philharmonic Orchestra

Product Description

Product Description

London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir - Eton College Boys' Choir - London Symphony Chorus - Klaus Tennstedt, direction


It was an inspired a Mahler performance as Tennstedt has ever conducted, with an inevitability, a sense of spiritual grandeur and adventure, that renewed all ones youthful faith in a work which one feared might have lost its power, thrill and surprise for ever. --Daily Telegraph on the recorded live performance of Mahler Symphony No. 8 in 1991.

If there was ever any doubt that Klaus Tennstedt was a conductor for whom the recording studio was rather a confining space,and whose inspirational qualities blossomed in the freedom of the concert hall,this account of Mahler's eighth,one of the three symphonies that Tennstedt conducted at the Royal festival Hall in January 1991,shows him at his finest. ***** --The Guardian,04/03/11

Tennstedt's probing energy and profound wisdom prove a winning combination in this epic trailblazer. **** --Classic fm Magazine,May'11

Twenty years on,this remarkable event continues to resound as one of the most inspirational half-dozen musical experiences of my life. IRR OUTSTANDING --IRR,Apr'11

An overwhelming 'symphony of a Thousand' from a natural Mahlerian. EDITORS CHOICE --Gramophone,June'11

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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There must be many people out there who read glowing reviews of Tennstedt's Mahler recordings and then opt for the EMI box set, thinking they have a bargain: I wonder how many are disappointed. The EMI box is competitively priced but the cycle as a whole is uneven and suffers from indifferent sound. No, for me the seeds of Tennstedt's ever-increasing reputation as a first-rate Mahlerian were sown in his extraordinary concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, especially after his return from serious illness in the late-Eighties. His three performances of the Eighth Symphony in January 1991 - the first of which is recorded here - are now the stuff of legend.

The Eighth is undoubtedly the highlight of Tennstedt's studio cycle - a worthy Gramophone Award winner, and a favourite of mine for many years - but I think it is surpassed in just about every way by this new live recording. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is a new benchmark.

Of the eight soloists, only Trudeliese Schmidt and Hans Sotin are carried over from the studio set. Initially I was disappointed to lose Richard Versalle's excellent Doctor Marianus but I have quickly adjusted to Kenneth Riegel's unusual style of attack and gone on to find a great deal to admire in his portrayal. He consistently hits and sustains the top notes, whether at full throttle or using just his head voice. He may not have the most beautiful tone but it's a thrill to hear the role really attacked and sung with gusto and confidence. The other big surprise is Jadwiga Rappe who - together with Schmidt - brings some real character and colour to the alto parts; many of their rivals struggle to make an impact, I always think. However, this solo team really scores with the sopranos.
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Format: Audio CD
It does not seem all that long ago that the LPO released a live recording of Mahler's 2nd symphony by the (sadly) late Klaus Tennstedt. This recording has been praised in many quarters as one of the great Mahler recordings, and rightly so. Many readers of Amazon's pages have fallen under its spell.
The release of the mighty 8th symphony is another example that confirms Klaus Tennstedt's status as one of the few great Mahler conductors. The LPO label are on to another winner! This live performance given a stunning recording in my view supersedes Tennstedt's excellent studio recording of the 8th on EMI. Inevitably with most live recordings there are occasional duff notes and one or two examples of the soloists being taxed by the demands of the score and, dare I say, the tempo of the conductor, however it is the better for it! Listen to the brass section and the realistic contribtion from the organ(at last!!)The mighty closing pages are genuinely awesome and moving (make sure the neighbours are out).
The Soloists and Choirs are on the whole exemplary. The hero of this recording has to be Klaus Tennstedt, here is a conductor who was passionate and believed in this masterpiece. I urge Mahlerians and lovers of great choral music to hear this, it is one of the great Mahler recordings! Gratitude has to be extended to the LPO label for this jewel of a performance and recording. EMI who originally released this on DVD in the 90's may regret having not released it on CD. EMI should consider re-releasing the live recordings of Mahler's 6th and 7th Symphonies Tennstedt conducted during the early 90's. If I could award this recording 10 stars I would. I feel lucky that not one but two superlative recordings of Mahler's symphonies (2 and 8) have been released to mark Mahler's Centenaries.
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I am a huge admirer of Tennstedt, especially in Mahler, having reviewed enthusiastically and fairly extensively both his EMI complete Mahler symphonies and Great Recordings box sets and found him to be fully worthy of his reputation as one of the greatest, most intense and spiritually profound conductors of the late 20C. I also endorse the chorus of five-star encomiums for his live Resurrection Symphony with the same orchestra in the same venue from 1987. However, if you trawl through the many reviews for this splendid performance you will find a few voices who, like me, actually prefer his studio recording for its superior sound, tauter grip on tempi, virtually flawless ensemble and, above all, better solo singing. It is also true, as a couple of commentators have observed, that despite their attack and energy, the three massed choirs here can sound just a little undernourished compared with rival versions.

Otherwise, the choirs and orchestra are beyond reproach, singing and playing with an abandon incited by Tennstedt who apparently told the boys of the Eton College Choir to bawl like football hooligans - which they must have enjoyed. However, there are several soloists who are most definitely bested by those in other recordings, not least by Hans Sotin's slightly younger and certainly more secure self in his recordings for Tennstedt and Sinopoli; here he sounds embarrassingly hoarse and stretched in "Wie Felsenabgrund". Baritone Eike Wilm Schulte is weak and ordinary, Trudeliese Schmidt again better in the studio recording, alto Jadwiga Rappé tremulous. Worst by far is Kenneth Riegel, by this stage of his career virtually screeching and bereft of what little beauty of tone his harsh tenor ever possessed; Keith Lewis and Richard Versalle are infinitely more impressive.
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