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on 9 April 2011
Interpretations of the 2nd Symphony vary quite widely, at least to my listening. I would describe this as a rich reading. I don't mean that it is heavy-handed; far from it both Gergiev and the LSO are in fine form. But the sound throughout is very rich and full (not a bad thing, of course, and indeed very much in keeping with what Mahler wanted). The overall achievement is, I think, superb. Conductor, orchestra, soloists(Elena Mosuc and Zlata Bulycheva)and the choir (LSC) give a performance that I found stunning and immensely satisfying. Quite the most rewarding 2nd I have heard for a long time - and that includes the new BPO recording. The disc also includes the Adagio from Symphony 10.
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VINE VOICEon 28 February 2009
The good things first: the LSO play wonderfully and the recording is very good though it is the usual "Barbican experience" of what seems to be fairly close miking in order to get over the normally rather congested acousitic of the hall. Also the discs are not very expensive.

And now, I am afraid, the caveats: this disc was put together from several performances and I suspect this might have been the reason why the overall conception of what is, admittedly, a rather long symphony does not seem to fit together. Some of the playing is very exciting and demands a huge amount of concentration from the players. An example of this is the "Grosser Appel" and the moments leading up to the huge climax at this point, whic then burst forth into a very jaunty march. But there are also some rather dull sections of performance where the interpretation seems to be rather generalised: sections of the 2nd movement seeem to me to be lacking in the requisite gentleness, for example. The "Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt" scherzo (movement #3) passes by at an immense speed and I am surprised that the orchestra manages as well as it does. The LSO is a truly fine body of players.

I honestly feel that Gergiev is not really "in tune" with Mahlerian sensibilities and does not use a rich enough pallette of sounds to reflect the simplicity, anger, irony, majesty and dread that is to be found in the different parts of this great work.

Also, the Resurrection Symphony could have been fitted onto one disc, though at Amazon price the buyer is not particularly disadvantaged. But the coupling is not likely to make much difference in the decision whether or not to buy this set. Why listen to just one movement of music from the incomplete 10th Symphony when Mahler actually worked extensively onf the Purgatorio (movement #3) as well? And why listen to this when there are many fine completions available on disc such as Mahler: Symphony No.10 by Rattle?

As for alternative Mahler 2 recordings may I suggest Klemperer Sym 2 - Klemperer ? This is not a digital SACD "modern" recording but it is a white-hot interpretation of much depth and sensitivity, reflecting the entire range of Mahler's art in rich and very acceptable sound. If you want an "up to date" SACD then the slightly more expensive Fisher/Budapest Festival Orchestra recording is worth buying as it too is a great interpretation (though the dynamic range on the recording is amazingly wide and difficult to reproduce effectively) Mahler - Symphony No 2.

This current Gergiev recording is probably most valuable to those who went to the concerts and who want a keepsake of the occasion. But either of the recordings just mentioned above will provide a deeper and richer all round experience.
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on 26 March 2009
The music itself is excellent, however the organisation of the disc is annoying. The first movement of Symphony No 2 is 21'50" and is on the first disc. The other 4 movements are on the second disc, together with the adagio from Symphony No 10 which is 22'13" so you have to change discs after the first movement. The Symphony No 10 adagio being one movement should have been on one disc and the whole of Symphony No 2 the other disc.
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on 31 July 2014
Arrived on time, no problems. Ideal
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