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Mahler: Symphony No 9

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: Rafael Kubelik
  • Audio CD (1 Jan. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Audite
  • ASIN: B00004YACI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 568,209 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This Tokyo Live recording of 9th is one of the best from Audite Mahler / Kubelik live series. As usual, Kubelik's commitment and devotion to the music is eveident, nothing is left to chances nor under-stated.

1st movement is sumptuous and builds up gradually to incandescent climax. Middle movement is exceptionally energetic and boisterous. Last movement is fast, but that does not detract from gravity and poignancy of the music, in fact the most eloquent last movement I've listened to among all 1disc recordings of the work.

Acoustics is very good and spacious with much emphasis on bass. A must-buy for anyone who admires Kubelik, or anyone who seeks great recording of 9th played in brisk tempi yet with dignity and profundity.
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Format: Audio CD
Kubelik's view of Mahler 9 is best experienced on the commercial DGG recording, but unfortunately this is only available as part of a complete set. In direct comparison with that disc, this Audite live performance from Tokyo in 1975 is deficient on two levels.

First of all the recording quality is not particularly clear, so one does not hear the vital instrumentation of the work as well as one might. Perhaps the fault was the venue: was the hall rather dull? The recorded level of the disc requires the volume to be turned up well above noral levels, and even then the sound is a little lacking in impact.

Secondly, the actual performance is less "tightly" played than on the DGG set particularly in the first movement. Overall recorded time puts this live performance at someting like 2 minutes longer than the studio set: not much of a difference in a piece of music lasting almost 1 hour 20 minutes you might think, but in fact there is less of a feeling of overwhelming inevitability particularly in the first movement, and the "line" of the work is softened by a less tensely concentrated delivery by the orchestra than on the DGG disc. That said, the Scherzo is superbly characterized andthe Rondo-Burleske is of the same glitteringly high quality as on the DGG disc. The eloquent and flowing final Adagio rises to the same breathtaking heights as on the commercial recording.

Kubelik was a great performer of Mahler 9 and were it not for the DGG set then this disc would be important as a record of Kubelik's essentially straightforward and musical approach to a work, which, by eschewing laid-on emotional phrasing and exaggerated dynamic contrasts, delivers "the goods" through the medium of overwhelming simplicity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A natural, direct approach to the Mahler Ninth doesn't quite find the music's greatness 1 Sept. 2007
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Rafael Kubelik became a champion Mahler conductor among those who felt that Mahler's music belonged more in the light than the dark, or even the shadows. His view of the symphonies is unclouded by emotional turmoil, although Kubelik isn't a literalist like Geroge Szell -- his style is flexible, light, sensitive. I'm not sure this live Mahler Ninth from Munich shows him off at his best, however, since this music requires as much weight and emotional depth as any conductor can provide. The score is crammed with hundreds of precise directions from the composer, who well knew how ambiguous and at times baffling the symphony is.

Kubelik tends to skate over this mass of detail, preferring a direct, natuural line. If that's the kind of Mahler you prefer, this Ninth will appeal to you. The first movement doesn't erupt volcanically or reach cathartic release. The Scherzo is almost jaunty, without bite or bitterness. The Rondo-Burlesque, music that can seem like a grinning death's head, here is defanged. the overwhelming Adagio finale retains its lyrical pathos but evinces no tragic struggle with mortality.

For me, there's no escaping the reality that the Mahler Ninth is one of the most profound documents in musical history, and although Kubelik renders a fine performance, he doesn't come close to suggesting that truth.
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