Mahler: Symphony No 6; Strauss: Metamorphosen CD
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Mahler: Symphony No 6; Strauss: Metamorphosen / Barbirolli . Release Date: 10/14/2008 . Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century . Catalog #: 12690 . Spars Code: ADD . Composer: Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss . Conductor: Sir John Barbirolli . Orchestra/Ensemble: New Philharmonia Orchestra . Number of Discs: 2 . Recorded in: Stereo . Length: 1 Hours 51 Mins. Works on This Recording: 1. Symphony no 6 in A minor "Tragic" by Gustav Mahler Conductor: Sir John Barbirolli Orchestra/Ensemble: New Philharmonia Orchestra Period: Romantic Written: 1904/1906; Austria 2. Metamorphosen for 23 solo Strings, AV 142 by Richard Strauss Conductor: Sir John Barbirolli Orchestra/Ensemble: New Philharmonia Orchestra Period: Romantic Written: 1945; Germany
Top Customer Reviews
The Strauss is in many ways more of the same. I am not the world's greatest admirer of Strauss, however, so I not really the person to judge.
In summary, then: a great if idiosyncratic performance of Mahler's astonishing symphony, which belongs in every Mahlerian's collection. And, as a bonus, a very good performance of Strauss's Metamorphosen.
This version, by Barbirolli, certainly made me sit up and listen. It is a wonderful performance, beautifully recorded, and I do not think it could be bettered.
And now for Mahler's 6th Symphony, the so-called "Tragic". I first heard Bernstein's version during the late 1960s and have always admired it, believing it could never be bettered. It is still available by the way in a box set of Mahler symphonies by Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. Listening to Barbirolli's version, I was immediately struck by his much slower tempi than Bernstein. The first movement, the marching rhythms seemed very sluggish. But, once the second section began, the so-called "Alma" theme, which is easily recognisable as soaring strings, the tempi quickens slightly, and sets the pace for the rest of the movement. I found the performance, and the recording of this particular movement very good indeed.
The second movement, Andante Moderato, which has been recorded as the third movement in some versions, following on from the Scherzo, is one of my favourite Mahler compositions. It is a beautiful piece of music, very pastoral in its nature, and no matter how many times I have heard it over the years, it never fails to move me. Barbirolli's tempi in this case is about right. I was particularly struck by the final bars of the movement, the music building up to an exciting climax. The scherzo is also wonderfully played, quite exciting at times.Read more ›
The Strauss is as excellent as you're likely to find, any faults are more related to the structure of the piece and its ability to keep its simple theme going for over twenty minutes, rather than this outstanding performance.
Others have said what a unique and eloquent recording this is, and they're right. Please hear it and buy it - BUT please don't keep it as your only version.
It's true that Sir John brings an almost Elgarian nobility and expressiveness to the first movement, but his slow, dragging tempo in the first theme disregards explicit requests in Mahler's score. Also, he omits the first movement's exposition repeat. Mahler doesn't often ask for this but in this symphony he does, and it is easy to hear why. It is a miracle that Mahler presents us with so much contrasting and intertwined thematic material in the first few minutes of the symphony - we deserve to hear it again before we go forward into the conflict-ridden and mysterious world of the development.
JB brought a unique intensity and elan to orchestral string music. Strauss's glorious Metamorphosen could have been written especially for him, and for the orchestras who played their hearts out for him in the mid-20th century.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This magnificently performed and recorded Mahler 6 is so good that it is addictive, despite the slow and rather heavy-footed tempo in the first 3 movements. Read morePublished 17 months ago by John Stapleton
I was won over to this Mahler performance from the outset, the speeds tend to be and feel slower and yet the concentration and intensity of the vision and playing remain magnetic,... Read morePublished on 22 May 2014 by Bill Glen