Banner: The symphonic suite Cantabile

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 21

Thread: Bernstein's first Mahler cycle

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    99
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Bernstein's first Mahler cycle

    Got the boxset the other day. Very enjoyable so far. The only thing I haven't been impressed with was the trumpet fanfare at the beginning of Mahler's 5th. Sounded really rather sloppy, and I prefer it taken at a slower pace.

    I also found the slow pace of the 2nd movement of the 3rd symphony to be a little off putting at first (being used to Zander's faster version) but I don't consider one superior to the other.

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kurkikohtaus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Prague, CZ
    Posts
    489
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I have only heard Symphonies No. 1 and No. 4 with Bernstein and in both cases have enjoyed them a lot.

    The problem with Bernstein is that his approach to music is so very personal. He seeks to express himself through the music first and foremost, or to uncover little secrets in the score that may or may not be relevant. His liberties with tempo, phrasing and dynamics actually turn me off most of the time, that is, except with Mahler. I find that Mahler's music requires this very imaginative and personal approach, so that every moment is charged with life and feeling. If Mahler is attempted too "literally", it comes off to me as being boring and long.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    99
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Hmm... thats interesting. Can't say I've noticed it myself, aside from not having many of Bernstein's recordings from other composers, what I do have I've rather enjoyed and don't have another reference for.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kurkikohtaus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Prague, CZ
    Posts
    489
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    The ultimate "reference" that you seek may not be another recording of the same work, but the score itself. There is absolutely no question as to wether or not Berstein is taking liberties with the score, which he does consistantly. I go a step further in saying that in my opinion, Bernstein distorts the score in that his performances often communicate something different than the composer intended, and here you can use other performances as a reference.

    What is open to discussion, however, is if you like the result. If Bernstein, with all his liberties, ends up being able to move the listener to a profound emotional experience (which is his goal), than I guess what he is doing is good... or is it?

  5. #5
    Member mahlerfan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    U.S
    Posts
    78
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    You both are speaking of Bernstein's recordings with the New York Phil., right? If you are, I would like to add that I am buying each symphony individually, and so far I am very pleased with them, except for the trumpet solo in the Fifth as IAmKing stated in the first post. I received the Eighth today in the mail after ordering it from amazon.com, and it is simply fantastic! Each seems to be a very good and original interpertation, except for the Fifth. If anyone is looking for a good Mahler 5, I would recommend the Vienna Phil. recording with Lorin Maazel.
    “If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.”

    -Gustav Mahler

    Check out my music at Icompositions.
    http://www.icompositions.com/artists/mahlerfan

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    99
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Thanks for the 5th recommendation, mahlerfan.

    The 8th is wonderful. I nearly broke my speakers the first time I stuck it on. Fantastic opening.

  7. Likes SixFootScowl liked this post
  8. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,564
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Have only heard his first one but I have liked it.
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have." Thomas Jefferson

    “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned — this is the sum of good government.” – Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 1801

  9. #8
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    the Deep South
    Posts
    5,621
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnie Burgess View Post
    Have only heard his first one but I have liked it.
    Same, it's the only Mahler cycle that I have, but I've been listening to it and loving it for months now. He really gets Mahler. Deviating from the score or not, the end result is completely worthwhile.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Sedona
    Posts
    4,272
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IAmKing View Post
    Got the boxset the other day. Very enjoyable so far. The only thing I haven't been impressed with was the trumpet fanfare at the beginning of Mahler's 5th. Sounded really rather sloppy, and I prefer it taken at a slower pace.

    I also found the slow pace of the 2nd movement of the 3rd symphony to be a little off putting at first (being used to Zander's faster version) but I don't consider one superior to the other.

    Your thoughts?
    I noticed the anemic trumpet solo in the Fifth, too. It’s like the first chair player was a two-pack a day smoker. Bernstein really pushes the orchestra in that performance and takes no prisoners. The orchestra either kept up with him or was going to get left behind and he kept pushing forward despite the minor imperfections that happened along the way. I think it’s one of the most revealing recordings he ever did on how he draws emotion out of an orchestra, and he was not necessarily concerned with having a perfect performance. I’m surprised he didn’t start over again after such a feeble and unpromising beginning, but once he started he wasn’t going to turn back. I learned so much about him from just that one recording.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jun-30-2019 at 11:17.
    "That's all Folks!"

  11. #10
    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Baarle-Nassau.
    Posts
    23,702
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Same, it's the only Mahler cycle that I have, but I've been listening to it and loving it for months now. He really gets Mahler. Deviating from the score or not, the end result is completely worthwhile.

    How did the 3 third ho yesterday?

  12. Likes ldiat liked this post
  13. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    1,755
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I have all of Bernstein's Mahler - and it's all terrific. His first cycle came about when Mahler was still rarely performed and not that well known. As the music was played, recorded, and listened to much more a general performance standard, "this is how it goes", evolved. Bernstein really did lead the way especially in symphonies 3, 6, and 7. Yes, there are newer sets that have better playing and certainly better sound, and better performing editions...but Bernstein communicates Mahler better than anyone, IMO. I do have a gripe though with Sony/BMG: why didn't they put all of his Columbia Records Mahler in one box? It would have been so easy to include DLVDE, and the songs he accompanied on piano.

  14. #12
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    the Deep South
    Posts
    5,621
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogerx View Post
    How did the 3 third ho yesterday?
    Stopped after the first movement I enjoyed it this time, though, and could actually hear the structure whereas before it seemed like a random mess of thematic material.

  15. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    87
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    How's the recording quality?

    (The excerpts I've heard have suggested it is a bit thin and strident.)

  16. #14
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Syracuse, NY USA
    Posts
    11,845
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hoodjem View Post
    How's the recording quality?

    (The excerpts I've heard have suggested it is a bit thin and strident.)
    I don't notice any thinness. I don't have the remastered box set which everyone seems to agree on about the great sound. I have the 1999 Bernstein Century CDs. They sound fine to me for 55+ year old Columbia recordings.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

  17. #15
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    4,627
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    This was one of the first Mahler cycles I bought and it remains a very good one. Yes, the 5th is shoddy, sometimes badly played and not very well recorded, I don't like the congested sound of the 8th (but I don't like any 8ths anyway) and his 3rd is OK but the rest is top notch and I'm probably on my own in suggesting that this 1st is better than his later recording. I like both his Mahler sets but this one I prefer overall for its lack of exaggeration and naturalness. I agree that the sound was improved for the latest remastering but it wasn't that bad in the first place (apart from the 5th and 8th IMO).
    Last edited by Merl; Dec-10-2019 at 18:54.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Comparing Beethoven to Mahler
    By IAmKing in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: May-06-2017, 13:21
  2. Mahler Recommendation
    By johnnyx in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Apr-05-2007, 20:47
  3. Bernstein's 1958 Rite Of Spring - still available?
    By bassClef in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Jan-16-2007, 10:47
  4. MTT’s Mahler 9
    By Todd in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: Aug-22-2005, 21:13

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •