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Thread: Best Mahler 8th?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Kenny View Post
    I highly recommend Elijah Inbal's Mahler 8 on DENON. Sonically thrilling, great tempi and clear throughout. There is a low res rip on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyFN7qihPI4
    I'm a big fan of Inbal's Mahler.

    I've collected almost all of his Mahler recordings.

    He recorded the Mahler eight three times.

    images.jpeg
    For Denon in 1986. (TT. 77m 57s)
    This is Denon's mid-price blu-spec re-issue.

    eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODQ0MDQ2OC4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI.jpeg
    For Exton in 2008 on SACD (TT 74m 27s)

    eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODA3MTIzMy4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI.jpeg
    And again for Exton in 2014 on SACD (TT 77m 19s)

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  3. #32
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Kenneth View Post
    I'm a big fan of Inbal's Mahler.

    I've collected almost all of his Mahler recordings.

    He recorded the Mahler eight three times.

    images.jpeg
    For Denon in 1986. (TT. 77m 57s)
    This is Denon's mid-price blu-spec re-issue.

    eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODQ0MDQ2OC4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI.jpeg
    For Exton in 2008 on SACD (TT 74m 27s)

    eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODA3MTIzMy4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI.jpeg
    And again for Exton in 2014 on SACD (TT 77m 19s)
    That newest Mahler 8 by Inbal is the only one I've not been brave enough to attempt from his terrific Tokyo cycle (regular TCers will know my feelings toward Mahler s 8th). I have it but I still can't bring myself to play it. Is there a painless way I can do it (play it backwards, play it in 2 second segments, play it in another room whilst drilling some holes, etc)?
    Last edited by Merl; Mar-28-2020 at 00:20.

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    Senior Member padraic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    First, the new DG recording from Philadelphia is getting pretty bad reviews everywhere.
    That's a shame. I attended that performance and thought it was wonderful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    I disagree with the part about "anyone's collection", however if you look on the previous page of this thread you will see that I already posted about the Rattle/NYOGB performance.
    Yeah, sorry about that, let's say this performance is too darn good is deserves multiple recommendations.
    My point about "anyone's collection" was: obtaining great but varied takes on the M8 problem at the same time. These recordings fill the bill perfectly in my opinion.
    Last edited by Azol; Mar-28-2020 at 10:35.

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  7. #35
    Senior Member Duncan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    That newest Mahler 8 by Inbal is the only one I've not been brave enough to attempt from his terrific Tokyo cycle (regular TCers will know my feelings toward Mahler s 8th). I have it but I still can't bring myself to play it. Is there a painless way I can do it (play it backwards, play it in 2 second segments, play it in another room whilst drilling some holes, etc)?
    Yep... just skip it entirely and say - "It's my least favourite Mahler symphony"... Honestly, Merl, who's even going to know?

    If someone asks you which conductor you prefer just reply with "Horenstein, definitely Horenstein..." or better yet - "Horenstein, Gielen, Wit - in that order"...

    Strange but true - the nickname “Symphony of a Thousand” includes the audience members in the total count not just the instrumentalists and choristers. They do this because of the "audience participation" section of the symphony - the mitsingen (sing-a-long) section - which runs from "Wie Felsenabgrund mir zu Füssen" all the way to "Komm! Hebe dich zu höhern Sphären! – Blicket auf zum Retterblick, alle reuig Zarten"...

    I never really understood why Mahler wanted a "mitsingen" in the 8th rather than either the 7th or the 9th where it would have been far more appropriate especially one that requires that the audience hit a high D, one full step above a high C, followed by a F above the high C when even Pavarotti had to cheat by using his falsetto voice to hit it and at the end it goes down to D, two octaves below middle C and the very next note, after holding this low D for several measures is an octave jump... How many average audience members have the range to even do that? Half? Two-thirds? Three-quarters? - Max - The 8th isn't exactly "The Sound of Music" which, for the record, is kind of a hoot as a sing-a-long and at 3 and a half hours it's about a third less time than Tennstedts's version of the 8th with Jane Eaglen...

    In conclusion, Merl, don't listen to music that you don't actually want to listen to - if you don't like something after two careful listens you're not going to like it after a dozen...
    Last edited by Duncan; Mar-28-2020 at 14:48.

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  9. #36
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan View Post
    In conclusion, Merl, don't listen to music that you don't actually want to listen to - if you don't like something after two careful listens you're not going to like it after a dozen...
    I know, I just keep thinking that it's the only Mahler symphony I don't like but after around 40 years I still can't stomach it. I even tried playing it continuously over an entire day. Still didn't work. I gave up on it many years ago but do try it again every few years (just to make sure). I'm gonna try Inbal' s 8th next week as its been a long time since I played it properly. I will report back

    Lol
    Last edited by Merl; Mar-28-2020 at 14:29.

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    The 8th isn't my favorite and it's one of those works that is best encountered in a live performance. It's actually done more often than you might think. The orchestral parts are not that difficult compared to the three previous symphonies. The real challenge is getting all the vocal soloists and various choral groups together. So - if the 8th is something that has escaped you so far, do try to attend a live performance sometime. When I listen to it on cd, I don't bother with the libretto. Put the headphones on, dim the room lights, have a nice scotch at hand, close my eyes and wallow in Mahler's wizardry.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    I'm going to try the Wit/Polish National RSO soon. I have it on disc, but I've not heard it. Truth be told this is a daunting symphony for me too.

    Still kicking myself for missing the Spano/Atlanta Mahler 8th performance back in the fall... especially now that the Mahler 4 that was set for April is now cancelled

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimace View Post
    1. Horenstein, LSO with Joyce Barker (S) is the BEST recording in the history. (BBC Legends)
    2. Rattle, Birmingham SO (EMI) the second best.

    (I have every single recording of the 8th in LP or CD format)
    Thanks, I am giving Rattle a try for $5 shipped, can't go wrong.
    "Life is too short to spend it wandering in the barren Sahara of musical trash."
    --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  14. #40
    Senior Member Dimace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brahmsianhorn View Post
    Another vote for Horenstein, one of the great Mahler recordings. Of course the sound is not comparable to modern recordings.

    Another great historical choice is Mitropoulos.

    My favorite modern sound recording is Bernstein’s DG, taken from Salzburg in 1975. I believe he comes the closest of modern interpreters to balancing all the different elements.

    And of course one cannot ignore the celebrated Solti. This recording truly blazes and impresses, even if it does not quite move me on the same level as the above.
    How the FFFFF I forgot Dimitris??? After Jascha Dimitris and after him the Sir Simon. Danke for the reminder!
    „Es gibt drei Arten von Pianisten: jüdische Pianisten, homosexuelle Pianisten -- und schlechte Pianisten.“ V. Horowitz

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  16. #41
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    I'm afraid I've never warmed to the Solti: he makes it a sonic spectacular, devoid of mysticism or poetry. I think the Rattle recording is one of the worst recordings of anything I've ever heard. His ever-increasing penchant for micro-conducting means there was no sense of the long paragraph, no sweep, no grandeur. The soloists struck me as weak and wobbly with no sense of Mahlerian line. Chorus sounded recessed. It was the parting of ways between me and Rattle. The faults of his 8th could be heard in embryonic form in his previous recordings
    I sold off most of the Rattle in my collection and haven't acquired any since.

    My favourites are Haitink, Chailly and Wit. I know the Haitink has been slandered as underpowered, but Haitink seems to have mastered the slow burn. Rather than a conflagration in the first movement that leaves us in darkness for the second movement, Haitink prefers to fan glowing embers into life enhancing radiance.

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  18. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    I know, I just keep thinking that it's the only Mahler symphony I don't like but after around 40 years I still can't stomach it. I even tried playing it continuously over an entire day. Still didn't work. I gave up on it many years ago but do try it again every few years (just to make sure). I'm gonna try Inbal' s 8th next week as its been a long time since I played it properly. I will report back

    Lol
    Have you tried taking part in a performance??

  19. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan View Post
    In conclusion, Merl, don't listen to music that you don't actually want to listen to - if you don't like something after two careful listens you're not going to like it after a dozen...
    I don't think that is true, really. It hasn't been for me, anyway. I find that those "two careful listens" often leave a flavour in my mind so that some time later (maybe years) I suddenly feel I want to hear it again and when I do I find it goes down easily. So much of my favourite and most loved more modern music has come to me like that. On the other hand, have we not all had experiences of liking something at first and then finding it disappointing or empty or merely unsuitable for regular hearings?

    I am waiting for "love to blossom" with Mahler 8 and suspect it will one day! I am beginning to think of it as two works, neither of them symphonies. Perhaps that will work. I listened to the Vienna Bernstein recording of Mahler's Final Scene From Goethe's Faust the other day and it seemed to work well as a standalone work. I am very much not usually someone who likes listening to discrete movements of works I like.
    Last edited by Enthusiast; Apr-01-2020 at 15:28.

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  21. #44
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    Count me down for recommending both the Solti and the Bernstein. For me, you can never really go wrong with Bernstein paired with Mahler. I also own and would recommend his recordings of the 9th with NYPO, Das Lied von der Erde with VPO, the 5th with VPO, the 2nd with NYPO, the 6th with VPO, and Kindertotenlieder with Janet Baker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    I find that those "two careful listens" often leave a flavour in my mind so that some time later (maybe years) I suddenly feel I want to hear it again and when I do I find it goes down easily.
    So true - flogging away at something to overcome conscious resistance is usually ineffective. Just get it in there and then let the sub-conscious get to work on it in its own way and its own time. I don't always wait for the oven bell to ring, though - if I'm particularly keen to appreciate something, I'll sometimes check on it from time to time to see if we're getting anywhere.

    So many things work like this. It's why even political arguments aren't as futile as they seem.

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