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Thread: Who conducts the best Mahler?

  1. #31
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by realdealblues View Post
    As far as recordings and as far as one conductor recording his cycle of Symphonies...overall Bernstein is consistent with his view and between his 2 cycles you end up with some of the top Mahler recordings of all time. He remains my first choice. If you combine his studio cycle and the live recordings from Audite, Rafael Kubelik would be my next choice. After that probably Tennstedt, Bertini or Gielen.

    Klemperer & Walter were both excellent and are important as they both knew and heard the man in his lifetime.

    There are of course individual recordings of individual symphonies that are excellent beyond those mentioned, but as a rough, general overview, I feel those mentioned are the best starting points.
    Yet they conduct the music compketely differently so I'm never sure of just how much of a reliable guide they are.

  2. #32
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zofia View Post
    Karajan is very much love or hate I think he is not given a fair hearing by either the haters or the fans.
    Both his ninths won a Gramophone record of the year award so there is probably something about them. It's not the only way but just listen to the fourth movement.
    Last edited by DavidA; Feb-06-2019 at 21:07.

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  4. #33
    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Yet they conduct the music compketely differently so I'm never sure of just how much of a reliable guide they are.
    Yet both were more fiery and chose quicker tempi in their earlier days, say pre-1955. Like Mengelberg.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Feb-06-2019 at 21:21.

  5. #34
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    I love my Mahler recordings and rejoice in the variety they present. There are very few I would want to be without.
    I've got cycles by Tennstedt and kubelik who are both pretty good.
    Bernstein is fantastic in 1& 5 & 9 on DG and the earlier 2, 3 & 8 with NYPO
    Rattle on 2, 5, 7 and 10 (all from charity stores)
    Abbado in 5, 7 and 9
    Barbirolli in 2, 5 and 9
    Klemperer in 2 and 9
    Giulini in 9
    Juruwski with an absolutely volcanic 2 which is nearly matched by Mehta (VPO)
    Szell and Reiner in 4
    Karajan in 5, 6 and a transcendental live 9th
    Last edited by DavidA; Feb-06-2019 at 21:26.

  6. #35
    Senior Member NLAdriaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    I was listening to the live 9th from 1982 this morning and I couldn't disagree more
    I totally agree, the 9th Karajan Live reading is in my 'best of Mahler' list, as posted today. It is even in my desert island list of all classical recordings, likely as the only Karajan recording. An absolute gem, but also an exception for Karajan. He played Mahler only at the end of his career and this concert was so intense that it was released apart from a studio recording of the 9th of only a few years earlier. Somehow there was something happening that night. This live recording cannot be compared with Karajan's studio recordings of Mahler.

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  8. #36
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    I would have to say Walter, Klemperer, Barbirolli and Abbado. I've haven't listened to all their Mahler output, but I've yet to hear a bad or even "not so good" Mahler recording from either of those.

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  10. #37
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Von Karajan in a badly misinterpreted and mischaracterized 5th and 6th and an excellent but not definitive 9th. Bruno Walter and a few others forgot more than von Karajan would ever know about Gustav Mahler, a Jewish composer banned for many years while HvK was conducting in German before and during the War. But I would still take his excellent 9th over Barbirolli’s bleak performance. The grand prize to Bruno Walter whose 9th with the CSO sounds so completely natural and idiomatic to me. I was stunned and deeply moved when I first heard it. It seemed like the complete summation of Mahler’s rich life at the time that the symphony was written. But of course, Mahler had one more great symphony up his sleeve that was more modern than anything he had ever done before, and even his divorced wife Alma was unable to tamper with it or make up something that was completely untrue. Abbado is fine. Benjamin Zander also recorded an excellent performance in outstanding sound on the Telarc label. It deserves to be better known. Also, Bruno Walter’s performance of the 1st and 2nd sound entirely natural to me, almost as if he knew the composer, which as a matter of fact he did.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Feb-12-2019 at 02:58.
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  11. #38
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Von Karajan in a badly misinterpreted and mischaracterized 5th and 6th and an excellent but not definitive 9th. Bruno Walter and a few others forgot more than von Karajan would ever know about Gustav Mahler, a Jewish composer banned for many years while HvK was conducting in German before and during the War. But I would still take his excellent 9th over Barbirolli’s bleak performance. The grand prize to Bruno Walter whose 9th with the CSO sounds so completely natural and idiomatic to me. I was stunned and deeply moved when I first heard it. It seemed like the complete summation of Mahler’s rich life at the time that the symphony was written. But of course, Mahler had one more great symphony up his sleeve that was more modern than anything he had ever done before, and even his divorced wife Alma was unable to tamper with it or make up something that was completely untrue. Abbado is fine. Benjamin Zander also recorded an excellent performance in outstanding sound on the Telarc label. It deserves to be better known. Also, Bruno Walter’s performance of the 1st and 2nd sound entirely natural to me, almost as if he knew the composer, which as a matter of fact he did.
    Agree on the 9th but you must be hearing a different 5th and 6th from the ones I have.

  12. #39
    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    The early DG 9th Karajan is different from the later, digital one.

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