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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£10.58+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 28 November 2015
It doesn't get better than this.
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on 21 August 2015
I resisted buying this issue for quite some time, and I think it might have been the Amazon reviews I read that changed my mind. My initial resistance was due to several factors. Firstly, I felt it was becoming ridiculous to keep buying Mahler 2's...how could I possibly need another one? More significantly, I've been pretty disappointed with most of the Rattle/BPO/EMI recordings from the Berlin Philharmonie.....mostly on the grounds of recording quality. I just haven't liked the sound. It wasn't until I received this set that I even realised it was on the Warner Brothers label, and I haven't checked to see whether this has meant a different recording team from the usual EMI people.
I really don't feel qualified to write a review on a work like this, but I do have my likes and dislikes, and I offer them for what they're worth. I've found that recordings of Mahler 2 usually grab my attention in the first few bars, and in this case I was certainly interested! The sound was unusually fulsome, and the slow tempo suggested I was going to warm to the performance. Very briefly.....I did find the performance to my liking, and the recording is as good as I've heard. My personal preference is for slow tempi generally, although in this performance I did notice a number of instances where there were sudden tempo changes that I had not noticed in other performances (and I don't have the expertise to comment on their technical validity). Unlike the LPO/Jurovski recording, the dynamic range is excellent....no sign of any compression, so that the big climaxes are allowed to unfold unrestricted. (....and incidentally, performance-wise, I'd characterise the new Rattle version as the complete antithesis of the Jurovski). The closing pages of the work are presented as I've never before heard except in the concert hall. I had hitherto concluded that my two preferred recordings were Bernstein/DG and Tennstedt/LPO (live), (although the recording quality of the latter does leave something to be desired). Nevertheless, it speaks volumes of the Tennstedt performance that the recording quality fades as an issue once you've succumbed to the magic of it. This new Rattle issue now joins these two as my top picks. The recording conveys a true concert-hall experience, with only one disadvantage. The soloists are (for my taste) too distant-sounding. I suspect they were co-located with the choruses rather than front of platform, and the recording leaves them there without any apparent attempt to spotlight them. This is often the concert-hall experience, and either case can be justifiably argued. Personally, I think a degree of highlighting would have helped, without necessarily going for the out-of-fashion close-miking of the Decca/Sonic-Stage variety.
In summary, unlike a vast array of other Mahler 2 discs accumulating on my shelves, this one will be played! I suspect it might eventually firm as my all-time favourite, but only time will tell. I'm very pleased I bought it.
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on 26 December 2013
I have two other recordings of The Resurrection. This is immeasurably the best and will give us great pleasure over the years
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on 6 March 2017
Anything by Rattle is worth having in ones collection
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on 23 April 2013
Rattle knows and understand his MAHLER. If you are a Mahler fan, you simply have 2 choices, and neither will fail you. Karajan (conducting the same orchestra) and Rattle. It is simply a matter of personal choice. They are both exhaustive in their attention to detail and far superior to, say, Furtwaengler. Rattle is clearly the more contemporary and perhaps wins on points with the quieter, more gentle moments, where Karajan is sometimes tempted to "up the tempo" when this isnt called for.
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VINE VOICEon 13 October 2009
This is an outstanding disc, even by the consistently high standards set by the rest of Simon Rattle's (now complete) Mahler series. He has lived with this symphony since his teenage years when he organised his own performance of the work. Clearly time has not staled it for him.
He sets out his distinctive stall from the very first notes - an electrically intense tremolo and then a dramatic accelerando on the rising figure in the lower strings. This is the real voice of musical argument, not a mere statement of musical fact. And so it carries on right through the high dramas of the first movement. How often one catches an individual inflection to a phrase or an inner voice one had never quite seen fit into the argument. But turn to the score and you will always find an authorial justification in the text for what may surprise you.

It continues like this through the whole work. The andante has a lightness of touch that makes of it the real interlude it is supposed to be - rather than the elephantine galumphing of a Klemperer or the hyped urgency of a Solti. The scherzo acknowledges its Wunderhorn origins, but retains it symphonic cogency - and the first Trio is a wonderfully supported piece of levitation. Janet Baker brings a lifetime's experience to a profound Urlicht. And the vast final movement, which can so easily reveal its episodic nature and fall apart at the seams, is sustained and controlled with a fierce intellectual coherence. Which takes nothing away from the splendours of the choral finale.

The playing is always committed and thrilling. I always have the feeling in this series that Rattle's Birmingham band love Mahler's music in a way that the Berliners, for all their superior technique, don't. The recording is ideal, detailed but rich and deep enough to reveal all the splendour of this marvellous score.

All of which makes this, I would suggest, a first recommendation for this piece (though the Barbirolli versions are worth exploring, too, for an even more impassioned, if less sonically spectacular, view.
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on 24 March 2014
A fine performace of the symphony and very reasonably priced. I particularly noticed crisp persussion providing the necessary sudden jolts. Also the excellent sound quality added to the enjoyment.
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on 27 April 2011
I enjoyed this rendition. It stands up very well to the best and is more to my taste than many others.
Music is, of course, a question of personal taste. Each listener will enjoy what they prefer so its always going to be subjective when reviewing a rendition.
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on 1 March 2012
For Sir Simon Rattle, Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony is sacred ground, as it was the piece that first inspired him to become a conductor. Not only did he go on to become one of the world's most extraordinary musicians, but he developed a long history interpreting the symphony. Now that he is at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic, arguably the world's greatest orchestra, he must be almost in a daze, conducting a piece that evokes strong memories for him with an orchestra that can shock listeners with its skill--and Mahler is a particular strength of theirs. For many, the concern is that everything is so ideal for Rattle that he'll wallow in the strength of the orchestra without adding much new interpretive value.

The very opening of the first movement lets us know that Rattle is at least trying to say something new. It's his slow tempi that will instantly catch the listener's ear. If you want the opening movement to push and pull with fiery intensity, you've come to the wrong place. I'm not sure if Rattle's approach is the most desirable, but within minutes I'm surrounded by sounds that are achingly beautiful. No one can voice like Rattle, certainly not in Mahler. If you're willing to take the time, there's a world of amazing detail waiting. And while Rattle isn't aiming for excitement, he's terrifying; just listen to the climaxes and you'll be knocked off your seat.

Rattle seems to know that balance is important, quickening his pace in the 2nd movement. He's completely satisfying, digging into the music with vigor. This movement provides relief after the portentous preceding movement; Rattle lets it soar. The Berliners are captivating, responding to Rattle's every move with grace and an incomparable expressivity.

After the timpani rudely awakens us from our dreams of blissful contentment, we're back to tossing and turning again. But Rattle is poised, choosing wit over outright agitation. By this time it has become clear that Rattle wants us to love this symphony, not fear it. In the 3rd movement that doesn't mean he's timid (the big climaxes couldn't be more chilling) but he takes time to show forth Mahler's soft side--and voice with an unrivaled mastery. It's emotionally gripping, to be sure, though some will wish he would quicken his pace. I for one am perfectly content, mesmerized, in fact.

One would think that Rattle would have no beauty left for the 4th movement. But, no, he shows more tenderness than ever before. Magdalena Kozena, his wife, sings with unquestionable poignancy. I was moved to tears. Rattle finds a way to combine tragedy and optimism that is spell-binding. Once again, I'm thoroughly impressed.

Rattle launches us into the massive finale with the full strength of the Berliners. This movement goes through a wide range of changing episodes, the kind of material that finds Rattle in his element. The music is wrought with anticipation; while preparing us for the unforgettable conclusion, Rattle wants us to enjoy the journey all the way through. When the brass make their entrance after several moments, it's with passion and astonishing power. As the movement progresses, Rattle becomes fiery and lets the Berliners play as if though their life is at stake but it never becomes slightly chaotic. When the Berlin Rundfunkchor enters, it's with haunting beauty. Kate Royal sings her part with sincerity and Rattle conducts with trustful expectation. There's good reason for expectation; after several moments of blissful sounds, it's time to experience the true power of resurrection. For many listeners, including myself, this is when Rattle is going to be tested the most. But he blossoms here more than ever. I'll just say that it's glorious, expansive, enough to lift one above the clouds. Rattle finds a way to express hope and love while still letting the music catch on fire. The last closing minutes leave me shouting with excitement. But when it's all over, I catch myself wiping away tears. That's something only the most genuine conductor can accomplish.

In closing, this isn't a "Resurrection" for those who want the most dramatic Mahler on the market. Rattle takes a deeper approach, one that asks us to come to the work. But if you don't mind taking extra time, Rattle has achieved something extra special, wholly musical. While the orchestra is stunning, I don't think Rattle is guilty of relying on the Berliners to a fault; this is intimate Mahler that speaks to the heart. I owe Rattle my sincerest gratitude for making this symphony so touching.
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on 31 August 2016
The tempo of the music than some complaints, but at least once commanding spectacular example
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