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Mahler - Symphony No. 8 [Blu-ray Audio] 
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With its enormous vocal, choral and orchestral forces, Mahler's Eighth Symphony, later to be dubbed 24-bit, 96 kHz Stereo and Surround recordings. Symphony of a Thousand , is one of the largest and longest symphonies in the active repertoire. Part One, inspired by the Whitsuntide Vesper hymn Veni creator spiritus, is an invocation to the Creator Spirit. Part Two, a setting of the closing scene from Goethe's Faust, depicts Faust's redemption through wisdom and love. Try to imagine the whole universe beginning to ring and resound , was how Mahler himself described the impact of the closing pages of the Symphony.
Wonderfully atmospheric. --IRR,Dec'11
Top Customer Reviews
the track listings and set up guide
are displayed on the tv pal, tv that is
not misleading as other reviewer states on his review of this blu ray audio only disc
this is a very good disc in both hi res stereo and hd dts ma surround
so buy and enjoy it.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A very real benefit of the Blu Ray Audio disk is the great additional space available on the disk. A complete opera can fit on one disk. Multiple works could be recorded on one disk, greatly reducing the storage space requird of an average collection.
.Just my opinion....For what's it's worth...Probably, in this case, not all that much.
06/28/14 I have to revise my opinion of the recorded sound. I purchased a new sub woofer (Mirage Baby Boomer...See my review!) which surprisingly, sounded much better than my old AR 10" sub. My old sub must have gradually given up the ghost. With the improved equipment, the Maher had much better bass definition and I would have to say that the sound was much improved. I still think that some of the old Mercury recoding's sound as good or even better.
This performance is excellent but lacks the Nth degree of electricity heard in Solti's more driven performance.
Oddly, Witt failed to win me over completely in Part I but did in Part II. When I listened to Part I again, I had a much more positive experience. I can't explain it. Let's face it. The Veni, Creator Spiritus is as big as they come on the concert stage. Hence, the moniker "Symphony of a Thousand." It must be a bear to record.
So, who wins, Solti or Witt. Solti on energy, Witt on sound and misses by the thinnest hair on energy. This really is a wonderful recording that should be in every self-respecting Mahlerite's collection. I will listen to it as often as Solti's. Gee, it only took 40 years for someone to truly rival him. Not too bad, Sir Georg.
ownership of blu-ray players is eventually going to be almost universal, as they play every disc format (except in many cases, Audio DVDs and/or SACDs as they are overshadowed by this format), and as blu-ray player sales increase as they are the only system around that can provide good digital vision and sound, so the prices will drop. That disposes of the technical side, with this release revealing itself as having the best sound I have heard.
But, what of the performance? That is why we purchase these releases. Good sound doesn't make up for a poor performance. I am not going to enter into a deep analysis of the performance, but I will say that, subjectively, this is the finest performance of the other 5 I have (Haitink, Nagano, Gergiev and my favorite, Horenstein, recorded in 1959, also Zinman on an unexpectedly good set on Hybrid SACD with a completed 10th, the 5-movement version of the first and a documentary DVD). Individuals have so many varied expectations of a Mahler performance, that it is really impossible to write an analysis that will explore various points of view in a satisfactory way without writing a book. So I will just say that I enjoy all the performances I have to some degree or other, as each conductor has something different to say. But, until this Naxos release, Horenstain has been my favoured Mahler interpreter (although not entirely consistent) and the sound on his early stereo recording of the 8th is surprisingly well-engineered, and reveals an excellent performance. But this release, under the wonderful conducting of Anton Wit (a conductor that gets less recognition in the English speaking countries than he deserves, compared to his recognition in central Europe and surrounds) hits you from the first bars. You know right away that you are in for a very special performance, with recording quality and balances beyond reproach, that lets you hear this performance at top quality. Wit has revealed himself, through Naxos, as an excellent conductor (try his Alpine Symphony as an example). So I will let comments on the performance rest with, that for me, it is the best I have heard. I regret not going into the interpretation, but I have explained that above.