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Thread: What do you think of Boulez's Mahler?

  1. #31
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    If you like your Mahler straight, objective, it's very good and well recorded.
    I bought it because all the symphonies are on single discs except for #8.
    And I love being able to listen straight through.

    My personal preference is Bernstein, I have both cycles.
    I think Mahler needs emotion and angst, just mho.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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  3. #32
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    I found a mint copy at discogs for 4 dollars so ordered it. I listened a bit on YT and I liked the way it sounds.
    I think you'll love it. Let me know what you think. Boulez showed me a lot of details that I never heard in this symphony.

  4. #33
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    If you like your Mahler straight, objective, it's very good and well recorded.
    I bought it because all the symphonies are on single discs except for #8.
    And I love being able to listen straight through.

    My personal preference is Bernstein, I have both cycles.
    I think Mahler needs emotion and angst, just mho.
    And No.3, of course.

  5. #34
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    I think you'll love it. Let me know what you think. Boulez showed me a lot of details that I never heard in this symphony.
    Yeah, that's why I enjoy his interpretations. Although I didn't really like his opening to the 7th so I held off buying that one. But I compared some of his 5th to Barbirolli and Shipway and I preferred Boulez and Shipway. But of course this is all based on truncated listening sessions. But I think I'm pretty well set with Boulez / Mahler. I already have Nos. 1,6,8,9 and the beautiful Lieder disc with von Otter.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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  7. #35
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    The Boulez Mahler 3 is absolutely fantastic. Highly recommended if you like at least some of the others.

  8. #36
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I'm still trying to absorb more of no.3 after several years. I usually listen to Bernstein's first recording but I have a few others. Maybe I'll get around to Boulez eventually.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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  10. #37
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    I'm still working on the 3rd. It's a fantastic symphony, just a matter of building up the attention span and clearing enough freetime to hear it all. It's the kind of work that demands to be heard straight through, though I must confess I often stop after the first movement. An epic journey in itself, it takes a lot to go on and hear the other 2/3 of the symphony after that.

    Anyway, the Boulez 3rd is on my radar. I've been listening to movements from it on Apple Music while driving to and from work. The finale is amazingly done.

  11. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches;1826147.
    .....It's the kind of work that demands to be heard straight through, though I must confess I often stop after the first movement. An epic journey in itself, it takes a lot to go on and hear the other 2/3 of the symphony after that.
    I rarely listen to Mahler 3 straight thru...I'll listen to one or two mvts at a time...usually I, III, or VI...
    I do that often with many works - 1 or 2 mvts, or a couple of opera scenes, or maybe just one act.
    Last edited by Heck148; May-07-2020 at 12:41.

  12. #39
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I've got Tennstedt's No.3 playing now. Pretty heavy and stormy first movement. With many of these very long Mahler symphonies my brain only retains the themes from the opening movements and I have to listen to see where things go after that. This keeps it fresh for me. Not to mention listening to several different versions. This opening movement from no.3 is over a half hour.
    Last edited by starthrower; May-07-2020 at 14:16.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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  14. #40
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I'm enjoying No.5 quite a bit. In my opinion, the middle three movements are superb! I give top honors to the 18 minute Scherzo. But I also find the Adagietto very beautiful and quite moving. I reject Tony Duggan's assertion that it is emotionally detached. The stormy second movement doesn't start off as agitated as Tennstedt but it builds in intensity and energy and maintains this feeling throughout. I don't really have any comments about the Rondo-Finale as this is my least favorite movement. But I'm going to keep listening to this fine Boulez recording throughout the week until I switch the the Bernstein DG disc which is on deck.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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  16. #41
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    I'm enjoying No.5 quite a bit. In my opinion, the middle three movements are superb! I give top honors to the 18 minute Scherzo. But I also find the Adagietto very beautiful and quite moving. I reject Tony Duggan's assertion that it is emotionally detached. The stormy second movement doesn't start off as agitated as Tennstedt but it builds in intensity and energy and maintains this feeling throughout. I don't really have any comments about the Rondo-Finale as this is my least favorite movement. But I'm going to keep listening to this fine Boulez recording throughout the week until I switch the the Bernstein DG disc which is on deck.
    The Boulez is the most convincing Rondo-Finale I’ve ever heard, with good emphasis on the contrapuntal elements and good clarity, but overall I share your indifference for the movement. Glad you are enjoying it.

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  18. #42
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    For the finale, you can also find excellent accounts from the Vienna Bernstein recording and the Vanska ... among others. I do agree that Boulez gave us an excellent Mahler 5, one of the best.

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  20. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    I'm still working on the 3rd. It's a fantastic symphony, just a matter of building up the attention span and clearing enough freetime to hear it all.
    I know a guy back in the Mahler craze of the '70s who had a listening party for the 3rd. All his friends gathered, and they heard the first three movements, then broke for grilled salmon on an outdoor barbecue, and ended with the rest, departing with hugs and well wishes. That sounds like a lovely way to hear the piece. Of course, now when I hear the 3rd, salmon is in the back of my mind.

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  22. #44
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    I just bought Boulez's Mahler, and I like it very much. I am very leery of discussions about how emotional musicians are. If we mean Boulez is a cold conductor, well this should not matter. If this is any sort of metric, it would imply that Strauss had no musical feeling while Lang Lang had vast amounts, and nobody would posit that. Rather, Boulez shows healthy restraint. If we mean that the interpretation of the piece is too restrained, then this should come down to simply how good the interpretation is and be divorced from speculations about the conductor's emotional state. In this sense, I like it very much. I find that dynamic exaggerations and the like serve to make momentary interest while compromising the trajectory of the whole of the music, which is what really matters. All in all I can say that I believe that the interpreation is very good. But moreover, it was very cheap—only about $30 on Amazon for all 14 discs. One must also remember that these recordings were made much more recently than, say, Bernstein's, and so the sound quality is much, much better.

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  24. #45
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    The Boulez is the most convincing Rondo-Finale I’ve ever heard, with good emphasis on the contrapuntal elements and good clarity, but overall I share your indifference for the movement. Glad you are enjoying it.
    The clear lines and clarity of the music realized by Boulez is what I noticed too. And it makes for a great listening experience even if the musical content isn't as dear to my heart as other movements.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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