- Orchestra: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
- Conductor: Fritz Reiner
- Composer: Gustav Mahler
- Audio CD (21 Feb. 2014)
- SPARS Code: ADD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Hybrid SACD, Original recording remastered
- Label: RCA Living Stereo
- ASIN: B0009U55SI
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,619 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Mahler: Symphony 4 Hybrid SACD, Original recording remastered
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Top Customer Reviews
The performance gets close to the best ever recorded by Szell and the Cleveland SO Mahler: Symphony No. 4, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, but the fantastic SACD sound quality could tip the balance in its favour.
This is one of the best of the series, not to be missed if you are a fan of the Living Stereo series. Highly recommended.
Note for those with multi-channel playback equipment: On the SACD multi-channel layer, this is a 3 track recording (left, centre, and right speakers).
The performance itself radiates a sunny atmosphere with Reiner keeping a light hand on the myriad textures that Mahler develops. The larger moments certainly fully rise to the occasion with plenty of weight - those towards the end of the first movement and the big climax of the slow movement especially. Otherwise this comes over as very much a joyful symphony with a pastoral flavour and very much Bohemian countryside. The solo violin is correctly kept within the texture of the orchestra so does not become dominant like a concerto soloist and so the proportions are retained as Mahler surely envisioned. Lisa Della Casa proves to be the perfect choice of singer for the last movement, perfectly matching Reiner's vision - and vision it is.
I would suggest that this is a very important musical document and fully deserving of serious consideration from anyone interested in this symphony. For those wondering if the latest remastering would justify replacing earlier copies, the answer on this occasion is, in my opinion, a very clear 'yes.'
This recording, made in 1958, is a remarkable technical and musical achievement in this newly remastered format. Musically it is one of the, if not the absolute, best performances I have ever heard of this symphony.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Reference System: OPPO 95 (with SACD), Counterpoint 3000 Preamp, 2200 Amp, Thiel 3.5 speakers.
With a library over several thousand CD's & DvD's this stands out as among the finest sounding and enjoyable performances. As many have said about these older living stereo recordings reissued and remastered in hybrid SACD, just wow; could have been recorded today in state of the art venues using such equipment. On many levels it's even better than that; how naturally analogue sounding and detailed the music is.
This particular CD is a must have for any who enjoy great classical music and appreciate excellent sound reproduction.
The 1st movement could be sweeter and more genial in other hands (Kletzki, Bernstein, Gatti), and the second might benefit from a rawer, more rustic conception. But the expansive third begins in a manner so consoling and full of human empathy, and its various moods and episodes so justly gauged, that one is left breathless. The climatic moment of the "opening of the gates of Heaven" is as marvelous as any climax in any Straussian score, and Reiner skillfully leads the listener from that majestic summit to Mahler's innocent (or mundane) rendering of heaven from a naive, common folk point of view. LIsa della Casa has the perfect vocal timbre for the 4th movement, although she sometimes sounds a hair flat to me, but this does not detract from the exquisite characterization she provides.
I have listened to this performance of the 4th symphony more than any other in my collection (Kletzki, Bernstein II, Solti I, Szell, an excellent Mackerras, and recently Gatti/Ziesak which just arrived -- see that forthcoming review).
The much ballyhooed SACD sound definitely catches ones attention, with greater detailing and less of the glare heard in a previous version. Notes claim the original tapes were never subjected to any equalization, and I certainly am not going to argue. To my ear RCA made even better and more successful recordings of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra around this time. (See the above) In a couple moments of the Mahler the metal percussion instruments ting out far too harshly.
However, at this price Mahler buffs who like to compare different versions should feel free to indulge their fandom!
Note: For some reason Amazon has crossed over reviews of another modern performance of the Mahler with this reissue under Reiner and Chicago. I left Amazon a note and hopefully they'll fix the confusion.