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Thread: Best Mahler 8th?

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    Senior Member AbsolutelyBaching's Avatar
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    Default Best Mahler 8th?

    Recommendations for Mahler's 8th Symphony please -or a pointer to where this was discussed if previously (the search engine didn't help!)

    I already have the Rattle, Solti and Bernstein, but would be grateful for any pointers to other stonkingly good performances ...in stereo, please!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dizwell View Post
    Recommendations for Mahler's 8th Symphony please -or a pointer to where this was discussed if previously (the search engine didn't help!)

    I already have the Rattle, Solti and Bernstein, but would be grateful for any pointers to other stonkingly good performances ...in stereo, please!
    Always best to 'google' searches - 'talkclassical.com Mahler's 8th Symphony' brings up:

    Mahler 8--Best Recording
    Last edited by janxharris; Mar-27-2020 at 14:22.

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    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    This probably won’t be of much help as I only own two recordings of the “Symphony of a Thousand,” but I will weigh in here to recommend one of them: Michael Gielen/SWR Sinfonieorchester 1998. The interpretation, playing, vocal performances, and sound quality are all excellent IMHO. I prefer Gielen to my other recording - Ozawa/Boston SO - in every respect, and to other recordings I’ve heard parts of in most respects.

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    One question I have is how essential is it to have really large forces, as in the first performance. I believe Chailly and Dudamel used close to 1000 performers, I haven’t had the chance to listen to the results yet, the first performance used about 850.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    I have about a dozen (it's my least favourite Mahler symphony). I'd go for Gielen or Wit.
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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    Senior Member AbsolutelyBaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janxharris View Post
    Always best to 'google' searches - 'talkclassical.com Mahler's 8th Symphony' brings up:

    Mahler 8--Best Recording
    I did Google, and yes that result came up for me... on page 2, now that you've made me check it again

    Well, anyway, according to that thread: it appears the Solti can't be beaten, so I'll guess I'll stick to what I know.

    Edited to add: But I'm buying the Michael Gielen complete symphonies anyway, just in case.
    Last edited by AbsolutelyBaching; Mar-27-2020 at 14:36.

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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    If you want new, just finished this one this afternoon, I am not saying it's unbeatable but certainly worth hearing.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Senior Member Dimace's Avatar
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    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)
    „Es gibt drei Arten von Pianisten: jüdische Pianisten, homosexuelle Pianisten -- und schlechte Pianisten.“ V. Horowitz

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    I second Dimace that the Horenstein is a monumental event on record, a true demonstration of communal passion and commitment. It can be found on Volume 1 of "From the BBC Archive" which also contains an insane amount of old hidden gems from famous performers (I'm sure it's also available on its own, but I'm not sure where). The sound is very early stereo, and thus quite dim, but it still captures all the details very well. Also, there is an incredible amount of audience coughing and riproaring applause at the end, but don't let this deter you! The final Chorus Mysticus literally sounds like the heavens being torn asunder. It is also my least favorite of his symphonies, and I don't think that any performance could fully recreate the ambitious vision Mahler had in mind. But Horenstein comes awfully close.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogerx View Post



    If you want new, just finished this one this afternoon, I am not saying it's unbeatable but certainly worth hearing.
    (picture didn't render for me)

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    Senior Member AbsolutelyBaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    I second Dimace that the Horenstein is a monumental event on record, a true demonstration of communal passion and commitment. It can be found on Volume 1 of "From the BBC Archive" which also contains an insane amount of old hidden gems from famous performers (I'm sure it's also available on its own, but I'm not sure where). The sound is very early stereo, and thus quite dim, but it still captures all the details very well. Also, there is an incredible amount of audience coughing and riproaring applause at the end, but don't let this deter you! The final Chorus Mysticus literally sounds like the heavens being torn asunder. It is also my least favorite of his symphonies, and I don't think that any performance could fully recreate the ambitious vision Mahler had in mind. But Horenstein comes awfully close.
    OK. Order placed for the Horenstein, too!
    Thanks for the heads-up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by janxharris View Post
    (picture didn't render for me)
    It's ; Mahler: Symphony No. 8

    Angela Meade, Erin Wall, Lisette Oropesa (sopranos), Elizabeth Bishop, Mihoko Fujimura (contraltos), Anthony Dean Griffey (tenor), Markus Werba (baritone), John Relyea (bass)

    Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    The best performance is not commercially available. It is Simon Rattle with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain along with almost the same soloists as his CBSO recording...



    As to the YNS, there are some very mixed views of it especially about the soloists who were apparently placed behind the orchestra and so had to really push it to be heard, with consequent effects on the singing quality ... especially Meade.
    Last edited by Becca; Mar-27-2020 at 15:38.

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    First, the new DG recording from Philadelphia is getting pretty bad reviews everywhere.

    Secondly, no recording, even Blu Ray, can capture the sound of this work. It's hard enough to record any Mahler well enough, but the sheer size of ensemble presents real problems in the 8th. For my taste, the one I keep going back to is an oldie - but in stereo - and that's Kubelik on DG. A non-sentimental interpretation, but one full of fire and drama. The coda of the first part is electrifying. And DG engineers did a remarkable job of balancing the forces. After all these decades it still sounds good and is one of the few that I can listen to with headphones. Another that I find quite good is Inbal on Denon.

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Even when watching a performance from a live relay in a movie theatre it is clear that you lose something.

    BTW, that live relay was Dudamel with the combined Los Angeles and Simon Bolivar orchestras, is available on DVD and seems to be very well regarded.

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