Learn more Download now Shop now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more

on 31 May 2013
I have had my eye on this collection for some time, and I have regularly poured over it in the "saved for later" section of my Amazon basket. I already have the 2nd and 6th Symphonies a la Rattle, and while they are not on my regular playlist, I wanted to explore Mahler's other compositions. While no one could argue with an asking price of less than £25 for a life's work in a box, I was swayed by the prospect of downloading the entire collection in MP3 format for less than half of that, and sealed with the carrot of £2 free MP3 credit dangled in front of me. As someone who has spent considerable time ripping his entire CD collection to lossless digital format, and who has never really purchased music to download before, I hit the purchase button and waited for the files to swell my hard drive. I regret my decision. While the music is undoubtedly fantastic as others have commented, the MP3 quality just isn't up to scratch. It sounds flat and lifeless in comparison to the very lively and engaging recordings I have on CD and flac files. I don't think the complexity of the music stands up well to being electronically compressed. I would not dispute the quality of the collection as a whole - buy it - just not in MP3 format. I still pour over the box set in my "saved for later" basket - but now with a greater sense of urgency to get the CD box set Gustav Mahler: Complete Works [150th Anniversary]to do the recordings justice.
55 Comments| 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 21 March 2016
Gloom, apart from Symphony No 1
44 Comments| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 9 July 2015
I have listened to and dipped into a number of Mahler sets over the years and the job of even starting a comparison is too vast a task for me. So I hope you will allow me just to make a few comments which I hope will be useful.
Let us start with recording quality. I have seen one review which was unenthusiastic about the 1949 Ferrier/Walter Kindertotenlieder. In recording terms 1949 produced German radio recordings which, although mono, are as good as anything you will hear. 1949 also produced excrable acetate recordings which once a little worn are ear-splitting. An example of the latter is Ferrier's Rape of Lucretia. Thankfully this Kindertotenlieder is very easy on the ear and is for me a highlight of the set.
So recording quality is not an issue.
So you know where I am coming from my overall favourite Mahler symphony set is Bertini. But I grew up with many of the recordings in this complete Mahler, mainly on LP. The Bob O'Riley recordings were my main reason to buy and I did so as soon as I saw the price at £13.57. Bob's Mahler 6 really divided the critics and conventional it is not. Maybe even eccentric but coming back to it after all those years I was as thrilled as when I first heard it. Number 9 is uncontroversially superb.
All the song recordings are worth hearing and many have attained classic status. The Klemperer recordings are among his finest.
Texts and translations are on disc 16 in PDF format.
To get this post free I also bought the Annie Fischer Icon box at £10. More recordings I fist heard on LP making a very welcome return to my library. The Schumann is worth more than the price of the whole set. Annie made all too few recordings so this set is one to treasure.
11 Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 28 August 2010
There is not a dud in this collection and most of these performances rank among the finest available. The booklet included in this set has information which at the time of writing was not readily available at EMI and retailing sites. The Booklet indicates the recording and production date of each recording (I assume an (*) followed by a more recent date indicates the remastered edition. I indicate the recording dates in brackets so that Seasoned Mahlerians may avoid duplication):

Disk 1

1-3 Das Klagende; Rattle, CBSO(1984)
4 Piano Quartet in A minor; Domus-Tomes[P],Osostowicz[v],Boulton[Vla],Lester[C](1988)

Disk 2

1-4 Lieder eines fahrenden..; Fisher-Dieskau,Philharmonia,Furtwangler (1952)*2001
5-8 Sym no.1 CSO,Giulini (1971)*2004

Disk 3

1-11 Sym No.2 Schwarzkopf,Rossl-Majdan,Philharmonic,Klemperer(1961-2)*2000

Disk 4

1-3 lieder: Im Lenz,Winterlied,Maitanz.;Bostridge[T]Pappino[P] (2010)
4-17 Lieder und Gesange; Ludwig,Karneus,Fassbaender,Coote,Fischer-Dieskau. Various piano (various*)
18 Sym No.3 Kraftig

Disk 5 {No.3 cont}
1-5 Remmert,CBSO,Rattle(1997)
6 Blumine; FRSO, Jarvi (2009)

Disk 6
1-4 Sym no.4 Price,LPO,Horenstein (1970)*1983

Disk 7
1-5 Sym no.5 LPO,Tennstendt (Live Royal Festival Hall London,1988)

Disk 8
1-5 Kindertenlieder; Ferrier,Walter (1949)*1998
6-10 Ruckert-Lieder; Baker,NPO,Barbirolli
11 Sym No.6 Allegro

Disk 9 {No.6 cont}

Disk 10
1-5 Sym No.7 CBSO,Rattle (1991)

Disk 11

1-12 "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" Schwarzkopf,Fisher-Dieskau,LSO,Szell(1968)2000*
13-18 Sym no.8

Disk 12 {Sym No.8 Cont}
1-12 Connell,Wiens,Schmidt etal LPO, Tennstedt(1986)

Disk 13
1-4 Sym No.9 BP, Barbirolli (1964)*2002

Disk 15

1-5 Sym No.10 BP,Rattle (1999)

Disk 16
1-5 Ruckert-lieder; Hampson[b],Rieger[p](1996)
6-12 Various versions of Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen.
13 Urlicht; Coote[m-s],Drake[p]

Shrewd and thrifty Mahlerites who possess many or all of these performances might well pass this by on the basis that the booklet suggests more recent remasters are available. For example Klemperer's Das Lie von der Erde is *1988 and subsequent EMI master's have been reviewed as superior. But I wonder? I have the latest master of Klemperer's Das Lie von der Erde and the CD from this set sounds identical - perfect to my ears! I rather fancy that EMI has thrown in the latest masters and not fully advertised this fact.
11 Comment| 149 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 24 February 2013
Has there ever been one cycle of these works that totally satisfied on all fronts? Maybe it's impossible for one conductor to excel in all of these pieces at once, I don't know. What I do know is that this box contains many of the finest performances of these works ever put on disc and once again, for the asking price, this represents amazing value.

Not being an expert on digital remastering techniques, there were many times when listening to ,say, the 2nd symphony or more especially, the incomparable account of the 9th with Barbirolli and the Berliner Philharmoniker, I was truly staggered by the results - the remastered symphonies sound as though they were recorded yesterday. The exception, perhaps, could be felt to be be Horensein's 4th - does it match the achievement of the old Szell, cleveland recording? Maybe not but it is a fine performance in its own right.

On a more controversial note, whilst the remastering, again, means that the Kindertotenlieder sound sonically amazing for their age, maybe I'm in a minority of one when I think that many of todays singers can sound better than Ferrier. I'm never quite sure about singers from the so-called "Golden Age".

Anyway, if you're looking for a Mahler box, don't hesitate. It's wonderful. One example, Sir Thomas Allens outstanding "Ich bin der Welt..."
0Comment| 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 24 April 2013
I have been listening and trying to get to understand the music of Gustav Mahler for the past 18 years now. I bought all of his symphonies on various labels, EMI, Collins, CBS, Naxos, Sony, Supraphon, conducted by the likes of Kaspszyk (No1), Bernstein (No2), Wit (No3), Wesler-Most (No4), Mackerras (No5), Neumann (No6), Halasz (No7), Gielen (No8), Walter (No9), and Ormandy (No10). All these cd's I class as old friends as they are all I have known and listened too with regards to Mahler's music. Apart from the Kindertotenlieder on the same cd as the 2nd Symphony I had no other songs or lieder written by Mahler. This was my reason for buying this box set to get all the song cycles and what a revelation they are. I bought the box set soon after release and it is worth every penny. I am not one for all this, well this is probably the best recording of this so and so piece but I know what I like. I ain't got the best hi-fi still going strong since 1996. I would be the first one to admit that I probably haven't got the most tuned musical ear but was self taught in the finer art of appreciating classical music but no matter. I love the music of Gustav Mahler. This box set is tremendous value for money, to download the box set for just over £17 is a steal. I bought a hard copy, the box artwork is attractive and relevant. The cd's are packed in cardboard sleeves, a little difficult to get out of the sleeve sometimes but no major disaster going on just fiddly. You get a cd-rom with all the lyrics (in English) on the 16th cd which is very helpful if like me you are Germanic challenged in the language department. If you are new to the music of Mahler you could not go wrong in buying this box set. To have all the works of a major composer in one place is a real treat. Well whats the sound like? It sounds good to me and I look forward to many years of listening pleasure. Who knows maybe some if not all of these recordings will become old friends in time. Buy it without hesitation and enjoy it loudly! 5 * purchase and music.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 14 June 2013
I remember buying budget LPs in the 60s (as a schoolboy that was all I could afford). Decca Ace of Clubs at 19/6d was my limit. Given an LP was typically 45 minutes, and a CD is 60-70 minutes this box set of 16 cds equates to over 20 lps which for the download version at £12.50 comes out at about 13/-. Allow for 50 years' inflation and the bargain is amazing. Of course that's a shallow basis for any judgement, but it makes the quality of these performances and recordings stand out even more. I haven't had the chance to play all 16+ hours yet, but I love the Ferrier sound on Kindertotenlieder. I've had the Janet Baker recording for years, but find her style mannered and contrived in comparison.

I have one complaint, but I think it's not a failing of this box set: when it gets imported into windows media player it apperars as one huge album, with the tracks seemingly in random order. I had to spend some time tagging and creating playlists, if I wanted for example to be able to play one of the symphonies with movements in the correct order, and not just every track starting with a 1. I suspect if I imported into itunes it would file things more intelligently, or maybe I just have to learn more about wmp settings!
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 4 March 2014
I can't fault the music and there is a lot of it on 16 discs. My only criticism is of AutoRip. It does not take in to account that you are downloading a multi-disc-set and keeps the original track numbering, So now I have 16 track 1s, 16 track 2s [etc.] to recode if I want to listen to [for example] Mahler's 4th Symphony. Not a fatal flaw but it could be easily fixed...
11 Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 7 March 2015
Wonderful treasure of great performances. Miniscule gripes: The enclosed booklet is terse on commentary. It is a truly complete store of Mahler's works, but booklet should have mentioned that his reconstruction of other composers' works eg Weber and Schumann, is rightly not included
11 Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 17 January 2017
This set contains some of the best recordings of Mahler's works in the Warner (formerly EMI) catalog. There are and there always will be debates surrounding the performances of Mahler's work - however, having previously listened to several highly regarded cycles (Kubelik, Bernstein) and individual symphonies (Karajan, Klemperer, Walter, Horenstein...), I can state with certainty that the readings presented here are the pinnacle of Mahler's recorded output.

I love most of the performances and have objections toward several others, however, there is not a single mediocre recording here. The price of the set is so low that the purchase will guarantee satisfaction for a novice and a Mahler aficionado alike. Highly recommended!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Customers also viewed these items

Mahler: The Symphonies
Mahler: Symphony No.5 (Abbado)
Mozart: Complete Symphonies

Need customer service? Click here

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)