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Thread: Mahler: Symphony No. 5

  1. #76
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    Four conductors that I find especially interesting in Mahler's 5th are Günther Herbig with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra (who gets the sometimes terrifying, nervous, angst-ridden energy of this symphony better than most, & is especially fine in the Adagio movement), Leif Segerstam with the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli, and Klaus Tennstedt--especially live. I've also liked Jascha Horenstein, & Eliahu Inbal in this work.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49dNlG4NJcg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wM3PDs7YrY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITfBwANvdmI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRZD6udWpxE


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAVF1vhvWOM
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSXmxRmcX14
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zvZfZcNMFw


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3IuAiz1ElI



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0SGD3r_ls4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5SCgKC9-VY
    Last edited by Josquin13; Apr-12-2018 at 22:28.

  2. #77
    Senior Member 13hm13's Avatar
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    Being able to compare/contrast several versions quickly (as in various YouTube uploads) reinforces my earlier comments about recording techniques. Mahler had a tendency play certain instruments in high relief. Or there may be a particular (singles out) instrument playing a different chord.
    Certain Decca recordings from the 70s used all sorts of tricks -- incl. spot miking or even using reinforcement loudspeakers (think rock concert!) - -to pick up as much as possible.
    All that said, in the various Mahler recordings of the same movement, I hear different things.

    Come to think of it, even in the ideal live format, I think only the conductor (or the best seats in the house) may be the ideal perspective.
    I wonder how many composers are surprised, disgusted or impressed at how their comp. ultimately plays out at symphony hall?
    Last edited by 13hm13; Apr-13-2018 at 00:34.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachovsky View Post
    I was curious of what you all thought the best recording of Symphony No. 5 was by Mahler. I looked in my little Classical Music book and it gave me Leonard Bernstein's live recording with Vienna Philharmonic and John Barbirolli. I personally like Michael Tilson Thomas' interpretations of Mahler and from the samples on iTunes, it sounds exceptional. What is everyone's suggestions as to which recording I should buy?
    Is your little book "The Rough Guide to Classical Music"? If so, I think that's a good guide to Mahler, for my ears, at least. Their top recommendation (Bernstein) is my favourite, after listening to a few on Spotify. I'll be buying it on CD as soon as my self imposed buying restriction ends I found Tennstedt took too much time to warm up, plus smudges and audience noise put me off. Barbirolli I found marred by rhythmic unsteadiness, lumpy phrasing, inferior orchestral playing, lack of direction, lack of pianissimo, and moaning from the conductor (!) Karajan's outing, his first attempt at Mahler, was far too superficial and uninteresting. I haven't listened to Tilson Thomas. I stopped at Bernstein as it had a "That's the one!" impact, and that doesn't happen often, with me, with Mahler. (Horenstein #3, Szell #4, also recommended by rough guide, also had the same impact... that's a good guide!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Just follow the Mahler threads on this site, most of the tine poison for that [Karajan's] recording.
    I bought the CD for £1 second hand recently - the worst £1 I ever spent. OK the adagio is quite prettily done but the whole package is, indeed, poison. In Duggan's extensive online review he simply refuses to mention it, apart from saying that he refuses to mention it

    http://www.musicweb-international.co...er/Mahler5.htm

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  6. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by bongos View Post
    I listened to the Mahler 5 by Antoni Wit /National Symphony orchestra of Polish Radio and Television but Im afraid the NAXOS sound is poor , no detail , sounds jumbled all over the stage just like the Naxos Bruckner series
    Time for an ear or equipment check mate That Naxos Bruckner series sounds great!
    Last edited by Mal; Apr-13-2018 at 10:38.

  7. #81
    Senior Member 13hm13's Avatar
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    I recently (finally) acquired the 1990 Solti/CSO live Vienna performance ...


    I was looking forward to it as I found the classic (and deservedly high rated 1970 Solti/CSO) album to be very good.

    But, I find this 20-year-later performance unexciting. Also, the recording gets rather congested. (The 1970 recording was problematic, too, as being shouty and "bright").

    My reference M5 remains Mehta/Los Angeles/1976, as noted in a prev. post in this thread. That recording has some problems, but the performance is my fave of all the M5's I've thus heard.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal View Post
    I bought the CD for £1 second hand recently - the worst £1 I ever spent. OK the adagio is quite prettily done but the whole package is, indeed, poison. In Duggan's extensive online review he simply refuses to mention it, apart from saying that he refuses to mention it

    http://www.musicweb-international.co...er/Mahler5.htm
    I have to agree with Mal and Duggan, not only with regard to the 5th but to the 6th. I actually had a violently negative reaction against them and felt that I had heard the absolute nadir of distorted Mahler performances with their obscenely loud climaxes and what sounded to me like a complete and total misunderstanding of both works. Nevertheless, something must have happened to Karajan between those recordings and the one he did of the 9th, because that one was at least acceptable and showed a greater respect and sensitivity for the composer in following the markings of the score and in the general spirit of the work. He had somehow redeemed himself and I respected him for that.

    I learned a great lesson about famous conductors: that sometimes they can be monumentally wrong as well as right. I've enjoyed a number of K's Sibelius performances, especially the one he did of the 7th with the BPO. I consider that a virtually perfect and magical performance despite the usually noticeable smoothing of the overall texture that he was known to prefer. But with Mahler, I believe he recorded the 5th and 6th when he was just not ready culturally or psychologically to play a Jewish composer who had been banned from being performed while Karajan was conducting in Germany. He came very late to the composer in his career and had to play catch-up, perhaps because Mahler recordings were 'hot' and it would have been a conspicuous absence if he hadn't made an effort to record him. It might have also been misconstrued that he didn't perform Mahler because he was a Jewish composer. So I imagine that he went through some soul searching in order to conduct him.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Apr-13-2018 at 23:42.
    "That's all Folks!"

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  10. #83
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    Manfred Honeck was guesting in Chicago with this piece a few weeks ago. I was emotionally drained at the end, a very memorable concert

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  12. #84
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    13m13 writes, "Certain Decca recordings from the 70s used all sorts of tricks -- incl. spot miking or even using reinforcement loudspeakers (think rock concert!) - -to pick up as much as possible.
    All that said, in the various Mahler recordings of the same movement, I hear different things.

    Come to think of it, even in the ideal live format, I think only the conductor (or the best seats in the house) may be the ideal perspective."

    I consider Mahler the most difficult composer to record well. His orchestration is so rich & nuanced that it's almost impossible to capture the whole score in the kind of detail that one hears in a concert hall. However, the best Mahler recordings I've heard to date have come from the Exton label in Japan, and I'm thinking particularly of the Czech Philharmonic cycle conducted by Zdenek Macal. I can't find Macal's 5th on You Tube, but here's a brief sample of his 9th, so that people can hear how incredibly detailed the Exton hybrid SACD recording is (it even comes across on You Tube):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tljY9vBvTE

    Other conductors that have recorded Mahler on Exton include Vaclav Neumann, Eliahu Inbal, Manfred Honeck, and Sakari Oramo.

    Here too is the 4th movement of Neumann's 9th, though I don't think it's quite as amazingly detailed as Macal's 9th, even if it may be a better performance:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Igz9cjR6y8

    and here are some Amazon listening clips to Macal's 5th on Exton:

    https://www.amazon.com/Mahler-Zdenek...5+zdenek+macal

    Of course I'm not claiming these are the best Mahler performances out there, but I do find it a great pleasure to hear the entirety of Mahler's score in such astonishing, near 'concert hall' like detail. (The negative is that it can take some looking in order to find these Exton recordings at a reasonable price, as they can get very pricey.)

    Another fine recent Mahler 5th that I forgot to mention in my previous post is the Pentatone hybrid SACD recording from conductor Harmut Haenchen and the Netherlands Phiharmonic Orchestra:

    https://www.amazon.com/Mahler-Sympho...rmut+pentatone
    Last edited by Josquin13; Apr-14-2018 at 04:31.

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  14. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldhoosierdude View Post
    This is the one I have. Once I heard it I didn't need any other. Got the audiophile download for whatever that means. I do have Abravenel from a box download which isn't bad perhaps a bit underpowered.
    I will contradict myself. I heard this recording and quite liked it also.
    mi0000979498.jpg

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  16. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by 13hm13 View Post
    I recently (finally) acquired the 1990 Solti/CSO live Vienna performance ...

    I was looking forward to it as I found the classic (and deservedly high rated 1970 Solti/CSO) album to be very good..
    Both Solti M5s are outstanding....11/90 recording is "live" from Musikverein in Vienna, the earlier 3/70 recording is concurrent with Solti/CSO's epic Carnegie Hall performance from the same time...I heard the live performances in Carnegie, and it still ranks as the greatest concert I've ever heard...in truth, no recording could really do justice to it, esp in the closing pages - the sound level - volume and intensity - was unbelievable, and no recording system could take it all in...the 3/70 recording is stellar, only marred by knob-twiddling at the very end - but as I said - no recording system was going to take in all of that amazing sound...
    Yes, London's sound is pretty much "in your face" - but so was the live performance...lots of detail, plenty of wallop...
    the later recording is indeed excellent, in some ways better than the earlier one, and the closing pages better recorded without the control room tampering....
    perhaps best of all, tho, is the great Abbado/CSO recording on DG [2/80]- again fabulous playing and wonderful sound reproduction - in each of these recordings - 2 Solti, Abbado - the listener is treated to stellar orchestral solo work - Trumpet [Herseth] and Horn [Clevenger] - amazing, state of the art playing....
    Chicago, for me, really "owns" this piece, nobody else plays it with the panache, confidence and overwhelming power that the CSO brings to it...

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  18. #87
    Senior Member 13hm13's Avatar
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    With respect to Solti/CSO Mahler 5's ... a few years ago, someone on YouTube posted a 1986 Tokyo live/televised performance. I think someone recorded it to VHS; the video was not great and sound was low-fi mono. Nevertheless, this was one of the best M5's I've heard.
    Alas, that video seems to have disappeared from You Tube

    A poorer-quality video of that 1986 Tokyo concert was up'd and is here:

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    Default Von Dohnányi w/Cleveland Orchestra, a 1988 recording



    I just heard the above album -- Christoph Von Dohnányi w/Cleveland Orchestra, a 1988 recording -- and was impressed.

    The pacing -- while not as quick and exciting as Mehta/LApHil/1976 -- is even and orderly. The instruments seem to keep good timing with each other ( a tall order, given the large orchestra and scope of orchestration).

    I'm also very impressed with the smooth, balanced recording quality: I hear a lot of individual instruments that are often "hidden" in other M5 recordings.

    Someone did upload it to YouTube. Here's Part 1:

    Last edited by 13hm13; Apr-15-2018 at 22:22.

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  21. #89
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    I have many different versions of the Mahler 5th, ( Kubelic, Abbado, Solti, Bernstein, Gergiev, Honneck, Barbirolli and Tennstedt) I prefer the Tennstedt mostly beacause of the 4th movement Adagietto, which is excellent.

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    I just ordered the controversial Karajan Mahler 5th for $3 (shipping included, I couldn't pass it up!) after sampling bits and pieces of it and really enjoying what I heard. I understand his Mahler is widely hated by some and adored by others. I'm still looking for the right Mahler 5th for me. I think it's a great symphony, so much potential, but I have never been fully convinced by any one recording. For example, the Boulez/Vienna, I think, is phenomenal in the first few movements, but loses steam during the Scherzo, while the Bernstein/NYPO features a phenomenal Adagietto (yes, I know this is controversial as well, but I think it's the best Adagietto I've heard) but is less convincing with the two outer movements. So I'm going to give Karajan a shot, and if I really hate it, I could always use a new frisbee.



    Any fans here? I guess I'd also be open to more specific opinions from those who find it objectionable!

    Incidentally, I also just bought a recording of the 6th symphony also from the Berlin Philharmonic, under a different conductor (& in a totally different era): Claudio Abbado.



    I'm Mahler-crazy lately, I guess... it's more so that I am really dead set on trying to understand the middle period symphonies, 5, 6, and 7 which I find the most perplexing, along with the 8th which I just do not get.

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