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Thread: Zinman's Mahler Cycle. Your thoughts?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by perdido34 View Post
    What allegations against Zander? He hired someone with child sex offense convictions to be a videographer at the Boston Philharmonic. Were there allegations that Zander himself did anything inappropriate; if so, what substantiation or corroboration was there for such allegations?
    There were none against him, just guilt by association or some other dumb thing. The accusations were made before the facts were known - but the damage was done. Sound kinda familiar. Here's the story.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    Zander's...explanation of the "correct" order of the two middle movements of the 6th is marvelous....
    In all fairness to Mahler, Zander does not have the ordering of the middle two movements correct according to the composer's wishes, and there's a great deal of supportive evidence, period. Zander has them incorrect with the Scherzo before the Andante—the ordering of which Mahler never publically performed ever—not in his lifetime—and in his revised 2nd and 3rd published edition, he had given his publisher specific instructions to have the Symphony printed with the Andante before the Scherzo. He never changed his mind with regard to this in his lifetime.

    Zinman, to his credit, not Zander, plays the 6th as Mahler intended with the Andante before the Scherzo. Zander's self-serving explanation has no basis in fact, only rationalizations and perhaps personal preference because that’s the way he may have first heard the symphony, erroneously so according to Mahler. This subject has been done to death and without Alma Mahler's interference 10 years after her husband's death, there never would have been any controversy at all about what Mahler wanted and the correct ordering according to his own irrevocable decision.

    The performance history of Mahler's 6th:

    "Three weeks before the first performance, Mahler had the Symphony read through in Vienna under his direction, at which time he irrevocably decided that the correct middle-movement order should be Andante–Scherzo. Mahler conducted the world premiere in Essen on 27 May 1906, with the middle movement order of Andante–Scherzo, after having instructed Kahnt to insert an erratum slip in the unsold copies of the scores and in Specht’s booklet, detailing the correct middle movement order, and to republish the scores and booklet with the corrected middle-movement order, which Kahnt did in November 1906.

    "From that point on, therefore, there would seem to be no question regarding the order of the movements, the more so as the remaining five complete performances of the Symphony in Mahler’s lifetime were given with the order of Andante–Scherzo. Chronologically, these performances were:

    *October 1906, Oskar Fried conducting, Berlin (Mahler attended the rehearsals and performance)
    *8 November 1906, Mahler conducting, Munich
    *14 November 1906, Bernard Stavenhagen (a pupil of Liszt) conducting, Munich (the second performance in the city in a week)
    *January 1907, Mahler conducting, Vienna (the Philharmonic Orchestra)
    *March 1907, Hans Winderstein conducting, Leipzig
    *April 1907, Ernst von Schuch conducting, Dresden (middle movements only, in the order Andante-Scherzo).

    "Mahler died in May 1911 in Vienna, six weeks before what would have been his 51st-birthday. The following November, Ferdinand Löwe conducted the Sixth Symphony in Vienna, with Alma in the audience, and in September 1916 Willem Mengelberg gave the Dutch premiere of the work in Amsterdam with the Concertgebouw Orchestra; both of these posthumous performances were given in accordance with the re-published score, the middle-movement order of Andante–Scherzo."

    Those who argue that this is a “dual-version” symphony, in an effort to justify the Scherzo played before the Andante, are making the assumption that Mahler wanted that order on the basis of KEY CENTERS or KEY RELATIONSHIPS between the different movements rather than simply a change & contrast of MOOD—and such an assumption is unprovable because it is not in keeping with the final decision that he made regardless of the “key centers or relationships” or not. That assumption is based on speculation rather than how Mahler actually performed his symphony.

    Every once in a while a deceased composer deserves to have somebody stand up for his interests rather than the interests of the historians, or his interfering former wife, who may like to speculate at the expense of the composer’s final wishes. Mahler lived for five more years and never changed his ordering of A-S. More supporting evidence can be found here:

    http://www.posthorn.com/Mahler/Corre..._Order_III.pdf
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Sep-26-2018 at 14:45.
    ”Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.”

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  4. #18
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    Placing the scherzo third is the last thing that Mahler said to his publisher about the order in his sixth symphony. That should be definitive from a musicology point of view. What Alma Mahler said later in her life, as did some musicologists, are opinions.

    However, glancing through the list of recordings listed on Wikipedia, there are more conductors who decided to record the scherzo-andante order. I can only guess that they found this order more convincing in a recording.

    Personally I find the scherzo-andante order giving me more of a sense of going from start to finish in one go. The first movement builds up the intensity, then the scherzo compliments it, then the andante releases the energy and that prepares for the launch of the epic finale. One might or might not feel the same, but that's my two cents (happy to exchange into pennies! ).

    On the subject of Mr. Zinman's Mahler. I know, I know, he placed the scherzo third, and he also made this movement sound more grandiose than some others, but I do not find that deterrent, otherwise I would have missed a lot of wonderful recordings. In fact I find his No. 6 rather engaging throughout! I got a feeling that he tried very hard on every note, in a positive way, to express the music. The superbly recorded sound also enhances the listening experience a lot. I can hear the percussions and doublebasses clearly! Have to admit I am one of those record buyers who usually stay away from Mr. Zinman’s records, but I find this a little gem rather than a flop.

    I do have one little compliant. Zinman’s hammer blows sound spectacularly reverberant. This is not the dull, dead sound that I would have anticipated. But OK at least there are only two hammer blows, not three!

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  6. #19
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    I picked up his 7th at a garage sale for about 2 bucks. It’s well recorded and I am a Surround Sound enthusiast, but I don’t remember much else about it

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    Senior Member Robert Pickett's Avatar
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    This is a perfectly decent set of the Mahler symphonies, and I think Zinman has a lightness of touch that can be quite appealing, even in, say, his Beethoven cycle, where as far as I am concerned he is quite fleet-footed, rather than aggressively fast. In his Mahler cycle, for me the highlight is No.5, and maybe No.1, but in the really huge works, like No.2 and No.8, I found the performances a bit underwhelming. But very musical and fresh and clear. The Tonhalle are a good orchestra, there's no doubt, but for me they sometimes sound like they could do with beefing up.....

    Me, I am delighted to have a recording of the Carpenter "completion" of the Tenth. I also have Litton's and Zinman is preferable. I'd rather have someone's cycle with Cooke, but I'd rather have Carpenter than nothing at all.....It's an interesting exercise, and without the later Cooke versions, it'd be the best we have (?). But Cooke makes this symphony a MAHLER symphony, not a misch-masch compilation, and it's thanks to Cooke that I think we have a final Mahler symphony, albeit one with a few regrets and "what ifs". Incidentally, I also think there's something special about the Wheeler version, which has a chamber quality that one could argue is how Mahler was heading with his orchestral style?

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  9. #21
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    As i said at the outset, i dont dislike this cycle but theres just something missing. Along with that theres a few real duffers. The 2nd Symphony is pretty awful. Listened to it again today and some of the singing is just bloody gruesome. For me, the strongest performances are definitely the 6th and 9th.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reichstag aus LICHT View Post
    I enjoy Zander's Mahler recordings, many of which come with illuminating (and quite substantial) introductory talks and notes.
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes Zander's Mahler. Of course, he was my introduction to Mahler, so that's how I think Mahler should sound.

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  12. #23
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    Well this isn't going to help....Breaking News re Boston Philharmonic

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Oh dear. Benjamin Zander writes, "The person who suggested Act 3 of Siegfried was my life-long musical collaborator, David St. George [the artistic advisor of the Boston Philharmonic and a member of the Boston Wagner Society], who has been a passionate Wagnerian since the age of 13..."


  14. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by shirime View Post
    Interesting, I prefer Zender. Haven't heard anything by Zander yet.
    Well that's fun cos I've never heard anything by Zender yet I'll see if he's on Spotify.
    There may come a time when Youtube won't let us do this...

  15. #26
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    I once contacted Zander's office and his secretary sent me a free copy of his recording of Beethoven's Ninth. It was broken into 38 tracks, presumably for instructional purposes.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

  16. #27
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    You say 'Zender', I say 'Zander'. Let's call the whole thing off.

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  18. #28
    Senior Member Robert Pickett's Avatar
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    I'm a prisoner of the former....

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  20. #29
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Cool

    Wrong mail address: "Zander not home, return to Zender. Zinman lives here now."
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Sep-28-2018 at 00:27.
    ”Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.”

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