View Poll Results: Who Is Your Favorite Mahler Conductor?

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  • Claudio Abbado

    6 19.35%
  • Bruno Walter

    0 0%
  • Georg Solti

    8 25.81%
  • Klaus Tennstedt

    0 0%
  • Riccard Chailly

    2 6.45%
  • Simon Rattle

    5 16.13%
  • Gary Bertini

    2 6.45%
  • Bernard Haitink

    0 0%
  • Leonard Berntein

    5 16.13%
  • Rafael Kubelik

    3 9.68%
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Thread: Poll: Your Favorite Mahler Conductor

  1. #1
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    Default Poll: Your Favorite Mahler Conductor

    Who is your favorite Mahler conductor? It's hard to pick just one, but try and think who impresses you the most. For me, hands down Gary Bertini wins. Why? Because I think he turned in one of the most consistant Mahler cycles ever recorded. The enthusiasm from his orchestra in this cycle the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra is unparalleled. No, they're not the Berlin Philharmonic or the Royal Concertgebouw, but I never heard such passion in Mahler. They also did a fantastic job with Bruckner when Gunter Wand was conducting.

    Now, it's your turn.

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    None of these do it for me. I personally vastly prefer Boulez and Ozawa. Boulez because of the amazing detail and refreshing-ness of looking at Mahler's sound-world, Ozawa because of the sheer intensity that never becomes overtly banal or vulgar such as Solti's intensity can sometimes become.
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    Quote Originally Posted by World Violist View Post
    None of these do it for me. I personally vastly prefer Boulez and Ozawa. Boulez because of the amazing detail and refreshing-ness of looking at Mahler's sound-world, Ozawa because of the sheer intensity that never becomes overtly banal or vulgar such as Solti's intensity can sometimes become.
    You have recordings by all these conductors? I know you haven't any Bertini's cycle yet.

    Well, as you know or may not know, I couldn't list all the Mahler conductors. I had to make some compromises. I personally don't enjoy Boulez or Ozawa as Mahler conductors, but then again, that's just my opinion.

    You haven't heard Bertini's cycle yet, so you're certainly missing out there I think, but your tastes change very quickly one week you're saying Bernstein's the greatest Mahler conductor and then the minute you hear someone else that you like you say that they're better. So which is it, WV?
    Last edited by Mirror Image; Aug-27-2009 at 03:17.

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    My favourite Mahler conductor is Karajan. He brings about a class and elegance to Mahler while other conductors try to bring out as much power and emotion from their Mahler. His Mahler is really a case of the Karajan sound signature at its best, along with his Strauss and his 63 Beethoven. It's a pity that he never recorded a complete Mahler cycle.

    Outside of him I would pick Solti as my second favourite Mahler conductor. If you want to talk about consistentcy his Mahler set is just as consistent as Bertini, but while Bertini is too consistent and too straight for his own good Solti brings about just the right amount of exaggeration and insight to push his Mahler to be reference class recordings. While Bertini's Mahler are consistently 4/5 or 4.5/5, but all of them lacks the magic to be 5/5.

    After Solti I would pick Gielen, after him the somewhat underrated Abbado as fourth best. Bertini would then be fifth best. All the other Mahler conductors are far too inconsistent to be contenders for best Mahler conductor, and I have heard all the conductors in the poll except Haitink.

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    klemperer should be on the list.

    dj

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    Quote Originally Posted by david johnson View Post
    klemperer should be on the list.

    dj
    As I told, WV, I couldn't put everybody. I just narrowed the choices down to 10.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scytheavatar View Post
    My favourite Mahler conductor is Karajan. He brings about a class and elegance to Mahler while other conductors try to bring out as much power and emotion from their Mahler. His Mahler is really a case of the Karajan sound signature at its best, along with his Strauss and his 63 Beethoven. It's a pity that he never recorded a complete Mahler cycle.

    Outside of him I would pick Solti as my second favourite Mahler conductor. If you want to talk about consistentcy his Mahler set is just as consistent as Bertini, but while Bertini is too consistent and too straight for his own good Solti brings about just the right amount of exaggeration and insight to push his Mahler to be reference class recordings. While Bertini's Mahler are consistently 4/5 or 4.5/5, but all of them lacks the magic to be 5/5.

    After Solti I would pick Gielen, after him the somewhat underrated Abbado as fourth best. Bertini would then be fifth best. All the other Mahler conductors are far too inconsistent to be contenders for best Mahler conductor, and I have heard all the conductors in the poll except Haitink.
    Bertini gave great, passionate performances and that's why he's my number one. In fact, many Mahler fans rate Bertini's cycle the highest.

    Karajan isn't on the list, because I don't consider him a great Mahler conductor. Just because it's Karajan doesn't make him automatically a great Mahler conductor. There were several composers he wasn't good at conducting and Ravel, Debussy, Berlioz, and Stravinsky were four more of them.

    As a complete overview of Mahler's work, Bertini is the most consistent and brings out the the best qaulities in the music.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirror Image View Post
    Karajan isn't on the list, because I don't consider him a great Mahler conductor. Just because it's Karajan doesn't make him automatically a great Mahler conductor. There were several composers he wasn't good at conducting and Ravel, Debussy, Berlioz, and Stravinsky were four more of them.

    As a complete overview of Mahler's work, Bertini is the most consistent and brings out the the best qaulities in the music.
    So are you trying to say that just because he's Karajan he's automatically not a great Mahler conductor? That because he isn't good at Ravel, Debussy, Berlioz, and Stravinsky he can't be good at Mahler? I think you should give his Mahler more of a chance. Even the big Karajan haters usually like his Mahler, especially his 9th, cause he doesn't push his sound as much in his Mahler as he does in other recordings. Every conductor has his share of hits and duds, and Mahler is one of the best things Karajan has ever done. And anyway shouldn't this topic be about what we consider to be the best Mahler conductors, not what you consider to be the best Mahler conductors?

    Bertini gave great, passionate performances and that's why he's my number one. In fact, many Mahler fans rate Bertini's cycle the highest.

    As a complete overview of Mahler's work, Bertini is the most consistent and brings out the the best qaulities in the music.
    When I first got the Bertini I was very impressed by it too, and I felt that at its price it's easily THE Mahler set to get. But the more I listened to it the more I felt that something was lacking. Bertini's set claim to fame was being the no frills, no exaggeration Mahler and indeed in that area he is expectational. But I just felt that Mahler's music is sometimes meant to be exaggerated and made larger than what Mahler intended. To a certain extent of course. Thus while Bertini's set is a great introductory to Mahler I rate it as being 5th best of all the sets I have heard.

    Have you heard Gielen's set? It's quite similar to Bertini's, but a bit more passionate (and a lot more expensive).
    Last edited by scytheavatar; Aug-27-2009 at 14:50.

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    I'd probably pick Kubelik.

    hands down Gary Bertini wins
    Hm, him and Walter are the only ones I didn't heard. Gotta check Bertini then
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    Quote Originally Posted by scytheavatar View Post
    So are you trying to say that just because he's Karajan he's automatically not a great Mahler conductor? That because he isn't good at Ravel, Debussy, Berlioz, and Stravinsky he can't be good at Mahler? I think you should give his Mahler more of a chance. Even the big Karajan haters usually like his Mahler, especially his 9th, cause he doesn't push his sound as much in his Mahler as he does in other recordings. Every conductor has his share of hits and duds, and Mahler is one of the best things Karajan has ever done. And anyway shouldn't this topic be about what we consider to be the best Mahler conductors, not what you consider to be the best Mahler conductors?

    When I first got the Bertini I was very impressed by it too, and I felt that at its price it's easily THE Mahler set to get. But the more I listened to it the more I felt that something was lacking. Bertini's set claim to fame was being the no frills, no exaggeration Mahler and indeed in that area he is expectational. But I just felt that Mahler's music is sometimes meant to be exaggerated and made larger than what Mahler intended. To a certain extent of course. Thus while Bertini's set is a great introductory to Mahler I rate it as being 5th best of all the sets I have heard.

    Have you heard Gielen's set? It's quite similar to Bertini's, but a bit more passionate (and a lot more expensive).
    First of all, let me say that I have a right to disagree with you, and I certainly do disagree with you, and as long as I do so in a respectful manner then there's nothing wrong with it.

    Second of all, I own all the Karajan Mahler recordings and they do nothing for me. Not because he's Karajan, but because I find the conducting adequate at best. I do not share your enthusiasm for Karajan's Mahler much like you don't share my enthusiasm for Bertini. I also enjoyed Abbado, Rattle, and Chailly's Mahler cycles immensely.

    Third of all, I haven't heard the Gielen set, because 1. it's too expensive and 2. I have way too much Mahler as it is. Unless it comes down to $40 or below, I see no reason why I should acquire the set.

    Lastly, you will find in life that people don't always agree and I'm all for that kind of diversity. Classical music is a music of many tastes, not just one.

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    I do like Bertini's Mahler a lot, just that I feel there's better Mahler sets out there. Bertini's Mahler is an essential for any Mahler fan, and I'll add that Gielen's Mahler is an essential for any Mahler fan too, but I do agree that it's a bit too expensive. If you like Bertini's Mahler I am sure you will like Gielen's Mahler too, he manages to reach heights which I feel Bertini reaches for but just falls short of.

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    I havent heard recordings of all the conductors mentioned but from the ones I have heard i preferred Kubelick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scytheavatar View Post
    I do like Bertini's Mahler a lot, just that I feel there's better Mahler sets out there. Bertini's Mahler is an essential for any Mahler fan, and I'll add that Gielen's Mahler is an essential for any Mahler fan too, but I do agree that it's a bit too expensive. If you like Bertini's Mahler I am sure you will like Gielen's Mahler too, he manages to reach heights which I feel Bertini reaches for but just falls short of.
    I'm actually not a huge Mahler fan, so I can certainly wait on the Gielen. I catalog my classical CDs in a word processing program and there about 6 or 7 pages of Mahler recordings that I have acquired, so yeah, I think I have plenty of Mahler to listen to and enjoy.

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    Actually, it was a hard choice to pick any one conductor as the absolute best Mahler interpreter, when each is good in his own way. Not to mention a few not on the list, such as Szell (his live 7th, on Sony Classical, is a performance for the ages), Levine, Ormandy (his pioneering 1966 recording on the 10th, as well as his excellent Das Lied with Chookasian and Lewis), Leinsdorf, Tilson Thomas (his exemplary symphony cycle, as well as his Grammy-nominated Klangende Lied, with the SFSO), and Reiner.

    However, I went with Bernstein, especially his first Mahler Cycle on Columbia. Those interpretations, I think, combine technical proficiancy with a true love of the music that few others can match. That Bernstein worshipped Mahler was evident throughout his career, but nowhere is this worship more evident than in these early recordings.
    Last edited by Library Bob; Aug-27-2009 at 18:09.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Library Bob View Post
    Actually, it was a hard choice to pick any one conductor as the absolute best Mahler interpreter, when each is good in his own way. Not to mention a few not on the list, such as Szell (his live 7th, on Sony Classical, is a performance for the ages), Levine, Ormandy, Leinsdorf, Tilson Thomas (his exemplary symphony cycle, as well as his Grammy-nominated Klangende Lied, with the SFSO), and Reiner.
    As I have mentioned above Library Bob, when creating a post on Talk Classical, the member is only allowed twelve spaces to enter in a choice. I went with 10 with intentions of knowing that many conductors were going to be left off the list. I did the best I could with the limited amount of choices I was able to select.

    This reason alone is why Karajan, Boulez, Ozawa, Szell, Ormandy, Maazel, Zander, Tilson Thomas, Inbal, etc. are not on the list. Nobody is right or wrong in who they choose.

    For better or for worse, this is a great a list in my opinion. I might not have some of your favorites up there, but there's no denying that each of these conductors offer great insights into Mahler's music.

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