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Symphony No. 8 : Symphony of a Thousand

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Staatskapelle Berlin
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Mahler
  • Audio CD (15 Oct. 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B000TMCG8S
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 251,117 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Veni, creator spiritus
  2. "Imple superna gratia"
  3. "Infirma nostri corporis"
  4. Tempo I. (Allegro, etwas hastig)
  5. "Infirma nostri corporis"
  6. "Accende lumen sensibus"
  7. "Veni, Creator...Da gaudiorum praemia"
  8. "Gloria sit Patri Domino"

Disc: 2

  1. Poco adagio
  2. Più mosso (Allegro moderato)
  3. "Waldung, sie schwankt heran"
  4. "Ewiger Wonnebrand"
  5. "Wie Felsenabgrund mir zu Füßen"
  6. "Gerettet ist das edle Glied" - "Hände verschlinget"
  7. "Jene Rosen, aus den Händen"
  8. "Uns bleibt ein Erdenrest"
  9. "Ich spür' soeben" - "Freudig empfangen wir"
  10. "Höchste Herrscherin der Welt"
  11. "Dir, der Unberührbaren" - "Du schwebst zu Höhen"
  12. "Bei der Liebe" - "Bei dem Bronn" - Bei dem hochgeweihten Orte"
  13. "Neige, neige, du Ohnegleiche"
  14. "Er überwächst uns schon" - "Vom edlen Geisterchor umgeben"
  15. "Komm! hebe dich zu höhern Sphären" - "Blicket auf zum Retterblick"
  16. "Alles Vergängliche

Product Description

BOULEZ PIERRE / STAATSKAPELLE

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
After a profoundly insightful reading of Mahler 2 recorded in Vienna, Boulez again opts for structural clarity, pure subtle tone and delicate textures in this gargantuan piece, bringing out details hardly heard before and finally saves the work from its latent aura of regression (thanks to Adorno's verdict): it never sounded more like a perfect link between the 7th and 'Das Lied von der Erde' than on this disc.

In so many other recordings it seems as if increasing tempi would keep the work's immense forces from falling apart or, worse, delicate details are buried under crashing drums and full-throated choruses for dramatic effect. Boulez, who delivers one of the slowest Eighths on record, obviously had thought through the score far more perceptively. A composer-conductor like Mahler himself, Boulez demonstrates Mahler's unparalleled transparent instrumentation - every single note at its place, without frills, only serving the score's architectural clarity and overall trajectory. This approach already worked amazingly well in his reading of the 2nd : incredible, how down-to-earth and un-kitschy this work can be performed and how intense and colourful it suddenly sounds, liberated from obscure metaphysics.

Boulez, whose ears have a reputation of being able to detect one single note played out of tune in a fortissimo cluster of sound, x-rays the score, revealing an architecture of steel and manages to keep the work's inherent passion and sensuality in balance with his crystal clear objectivity and French esprit. For example, just listen to 'Gloria Sit Patri Domino', with its multiple themes kept distinct and clear while ecstasy and exuberant joy are constantly increasing in the repetition of the words Gloria! Gloria!.
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Format: Audio CD
It is interesting to see how conflicting these reviews are in their assessment of this performance. After a prom performance by Charles Groves fifty years ago I have made a point of listening to almost every available performance on record. For me Boulez's recording is one of the greatest, most interesting and most searching, around. Its easily the most impressive of his recordings, along with the DVD of No 2. It is impressive precisely because it respects the piece as music and not as some 'noble' philosophical statement or overblown choral circus. It's a searching and profound realisation of the score, which makes the music emerge as never before. As you see, opinions differ, but don't be put off competely by subjective responses. You might be missing out on a unique Mahler experience.
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Format: Audio CD
In my opinion, Boulez chose the most sophisticated tempos. He is not as slow in the first part as Riccardo Chailly.

This recording has much better balance between the orchestra and the chorus than Georg Solti's. In Solti's recording the chorus overhelms the orchestra.

But Solti had better soloists with stonger and bigger voices, esp. Heather Harper. Alas, he didn't use the Chicago Symphony Chorus (his recording of the 9th by Beethoven is absolutely wonderful).

So, I strongly recommend you to buy both Solti and Boulez and compare it. I'm not so sure about Chailly. His first part is too slow and inexpressive for me. I hope that Concertgebouw will make a new recording of Mahler 8th with M.Jansons
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Whilst I have great enthusiasm for many of the recordings in the Boulez cycle of Mahler symphonies, I have to say that this 8 is an unfortunate dud. The recording certainly sounds splendid, but there are a few other Mahler 8's equally well produced, so that's not enough of an incentive for me to reach for this CD very often.

What I think is wrong here is certainly not the singing, per se, but that nothing sounds majestic or mysterious. The last movement is especially disappointing, sounding a little disinterested and unimaginative, not something I would normaly associate with Boulez.

As this is all rather flat, where do you go for a great modern interpretation? Well, I have two recordings that should fit the bill: First Kent Nagano on Harmonia Mundi Mahler: Symphony No. 8 (hurry, it's just been deleted!) or Antoni Wit on Naxos Mahler: Symphony No. 8 "Symphony of a Thousand". My third choice is perhaps how I thought a Boulez Mahler 8 might sound; Michael Gielen on Hanssler Michael Gielen conducts Mahler & Schönberg.

All in all, Boulez is not recommended in this particular Mahler work!
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I had high hopes for this recording. On paper it all looked very promising, alas it failed to move! This has to be the slowest Mahler 8 I have encountered. The recording is no more than acceptable, it sounds congested and flat. With this work you need a recording that is open, warm and dynamic. It all seems to be performed well, mind you it is what one should expect given the orchestra,soloists and choirs involved. Overall a poor finale to Boulez's uneven Mahler cycle. Anyone looking for a Mahler 8 that confirms Mahler's words to Willem Mengelberg: ('Try to describe the whole universe beginning to ring and resound. These are no longer human voices, but planets and suns revolving')should seriously consider Klaus Tennstedt's stunning and moving recording on EMI. Try to hear this if only once and contrast with the Boulez. For this listener the Tennstedt is the Mahler 8 for our times (Its available on DVD, a different recording but infused with Tennstedt's love of the piece)
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