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Thread: Mahler Symphony no 9

  1. #16
    Senior Member Haydn67's Avatar
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    My preferred Mahler 9 is Klemperer/New Philharmonia, followed by Barbirolli/Berlin Philharmonic and Walter/Columbia Symphony.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    While the Barbirolli is at the top of my list, let me also comment that the Rattle/BPO recording (NOT his ViennaPhil) is well worth investigating.

    From a Tony Duggan review...
    "Returning to the recordings I listed at the start of this review [Walter, Barbirolli, Klemperer, Horenstein, Haitink] as being, for me, the outstanding ones I would not say this new [Rattle/BPO] recording supplants any of them. However, I am convinced that it joins them as one of the finest recordings of the work that I have ever heard in terms of conception, playing and recording . "

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    I definitely think the Barbirolli BPO performance is worth having in any Mahler collection. It's more passionate and fully characterized than many of the cooler versions I hear nowadays. However, the problem with the older recordings, and Barbirolli's is no exception, is that you don't get to hear the full range of Mahler's detailed orchestration. Mahler's symphonies are extremely difficult to record well, even today, but especially back then.

    Otherwise, my favorites 9ths over the decades have come from Ancerl, Giulini CSO, Walter/Columbia, Bernstein NYPhil/Sony (but not his later DG recordings, which I dislike), Klemperer/Philharmonia, and more recently, among digital era recordings--Chailly's two recordings: his Concertgebouw studio (for Decca), and live Leipzig performance (on DVD), Haitink's 1987 live X-mas concert at the Concertgebouw (much better than his earlier Philips recording): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjYs99atLUI, and finally Segerstam's 9th with the Danish NRSO on Chandos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHXJw9avAn0. Among these, Chailly's 2nd recording at the Gewandhaus is a standout, in my view; although some find his Mahler 9s too cool, I don't:



    Oh yes, I've also liked Gunther Herbig's 9th, with the Saarbrucken RSO.

    My two audiophile picks would be Chailly's 1st Concertgebouw recording on Decca hybrid SACD, and Zdenek Macal's hybrid SACD recording on the Japanese Exton label, with the Czech Philharmonic, which offers phenomenal sound engineering, it's almost like hearing Mahler in the concert hall (an impossible feat): https://www.amazon.com/Mahler-Zdenek...8-8&ref=sr_1_8

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  7. #19
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    Mahler 9 is one of my very favorite works, and a work that I rank among the greatest of all compositions...

    Barbirolli/BPO was my first intro to the work, that I purchased while still in high school...I enjoyed itm I guess, but Walter ColSO totally blew it away in all respects...
    The Walter/Col is still one of my favorites, it stacks up well....mikes are set back a bitm, compared to newer versions, but the balance is good - balance is often a problem with M9 recordings.
    over the years, my favorite, overall is Giulini/Chicago, a truly remarkable performance....nobody gets the great first mvt like Giulini - each successive climax building in power and intensity...superb grasp of the dramatic flow, and structure of this great work...inner movements are wonderful as well. Chicago sounds incredible, with wonderful solo work in the small chamber-music sections, and big booming power, excellently balanced in the great climaxes....fine finale - tho I think Solti/CSO edges him out by a little...Solti always a master in the long build-up, shattering release department!! Boulez/CSO is another really great one, nearly as good as Giulini....wonderful inner movements - tempo relations are maintained well [a frequent problem with so many - Bernstein/NYPO, and Svetlanov (gawd!! horrific!!)]
    Neumann/CzPO has some very positive attributes, but overall, not on the level of the aforementioned....

    I've heard this work live now, several times...Abbado/BPO - tremendous performance, tho the BPO winds were a bit underpowered - superb conducting....Levine/BSO - a fine performance - but Jimmy let things get too loud for too long...Abbado got into the rising/falling flow better....
    last year, I heard Salonen/CSO at Orchestra Hall - this was the best one - super performance - reminiscent of Giulini's great effort, but even better because it was "live"!! Salonen had a fine grasp of the work - the flow, the drama came across beautifully,andth eorchestra sounded great....

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  9. #20
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    The Great is the enemy of the Good. There are many worthy Mahler 9s, and I have a slew of them.. I don’t find Klemperer, Barbirolli, and some of the others , worthy versions all, to be my final choice. I’ll nominate a dark horse: Karen Ancerl and the Czech PO on Supraphon

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  11. #21
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triplets View Post
    The Great is the enemy of the Good. There are many worthy Mahler 9s, and I have a slew of them.. I don’t find Klemperer, Barbirolli, and some of the others , worthy versions all, to be my final choice. I’ll nominate a dark horse: Karen Ancerl and the Czech PO on Supraphon
    Glad to see the Ancerl 9th mentioned a couple times, perhaps my favorite modern recording also......

    The 1938 Walter live recording with WP must be treasured as a reference document also, Walter worked directly with composer and they shared personal and religious affinities, he knew the composer's intentions and this performance timing at 69 minutes is so much faster than modern 2CD glacial timings of 80-90+ that we must wonder what has happened over time and how far we have strayed from original performance intentions of composer.........


  12. #22
    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    Glad to see the Ancerl 9th mentioned a couple times, perhaps my favorite modern recording also......

    The 1938 Walter live recording with WP must be treasured as a reference document also, Walter worked directly with composer and they shared personal and religious affinities, he knew the composer's intentions and this performance timing at 69 minutes is so much faster than modern 2CD glacial timings of 80-90+ that we must wonder what has happened over time and how far we have strayed from original performance intentions of composer.........
    That seems to be a general problem as witness the timings for the Walter/Klemperer/Barbirolli versions of the 2nd compared to others, also the adagietto from the 5th. I haven't done any direct comparison about 3rd (not as easy) but suspect that it is also true of the last movement.

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    Senior Member Totenfeier's Avatar
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    I'm very, very fond of Barbirolli's Mahler in general, but you have to be prepared to accept his meditative tempi (I'm looking at you, Klaus). Bottom-line, last-ditch, gun-to-the-head, desert-island, put-it-in-the-space-capsule M9:

    1938 Walter WP

  14. #24
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    That seems to be a general problem as witness the timings for the Walter/Klemperer/Barbirolli versions of the 2nd compared to others, also the adagietto from the 5th. I haven't done any direct comparison about 3rd (not as easy) but suspect that it is also true of the last movement.
    It's a little hard to evaluate, since none of them made a commercial recording of #3, and I don't believe that Walter or Klemperer ever conducted it - at least no broadcast has come to my attention. Looking at timings via Amazon, there seems to be somewhat less variability in the finale of #3, and I don't detect a pattern. The average looks to be around 23 minutes, with a couple of quicker versions (Solti and Gergiev in under 21 minutes) and a few in the 24-25 minute range. The only outlier I found was Bernstein's DG recording, in which he takes 28 minutes.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    I greatly esteem Barbirolli’s tremendous recordings of the 5th (my go-to recording) and 6th (Proms). But his view of the 9th was far too bleak and I’ve only wanted to hear it once, then forget it. Give me Bruno Walter’s superb performance with the CSO any day of the week. I was deeply moved by it, not being a deeply defeatist, pessimistic and hopeless interpretation, and it has left an indelible impression on me, a favorable one, of a resilient Mahler, a Mahler who did not succumb to defeat because of his emotional losses and bad health. I never wish to hear Barbarolli’s depressive performance again, and he’s one of my favorite Mahler conductors. Mahler did not go on to write a 10th Symphony for nothing. He would always try to bounce back and I do not believe that he had a pessimistic view of life, though he was certainly aware of life ’s devastating losses and tragedies. What great artist would ever encourage anyone to give up on life through their art? And yet sometimes he’s played as a hopeless, defeatist neurotic.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Nov-16-2018 at 08:52.
    ”Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.”

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