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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for advice from Mahler lovers in this forum.

Does somebody who already owns Karajan's 1980 studio Mahler 9 with the BPO--the one currently available coupled with Christa Ludwig's Kindertotenlieder--have any reason (other than obsessiveness) to make room in his collection for Karajan's live Mahler 9 from the same year?

I've heard the live recording described as legendary, but am not sure whether I need two interpretations by the same forces from the same year.

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I wouldn't really say so. I have the live version which some reckon to be that bit more intense but there is little in it. Both won Gramophone awards of course. I wouldn't buy one for the Kindertotenleider as I can't stand those songs. there is enough in the world to depress us without that!
 

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Excellent recommendations above. But for me, the most important Mahler 9 is the Bruno Walter with the Vienna Phil from 1938. There is a tension yet resignation that is entirely appropriate - six weeks later Hitler annexed Austria and Walter had fled, along with (eventually) many Jewish musicians. (Some who did not died in concentration camps.)
 

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Looking for advice from Mahler lovers in this forum.

Does somebody who already owns Karajan's 1980 studio Mahler 9 with the BPO--the one currently available coupled with Christa Ludwig's Kindertotenlieder--have any reason (other than obsessiveness) to make room in his collection for Karajan's live Mahler 9 from the same year?

I've heard the live recording described as legendary, but am not sure whether I need two interpretations by the same forces from the same year....
Studio or Live?

I like the studio for what seems like better playing and spontaneity to my ears. It was recorded over two sessions in 1979 and 1980

The live recording was done in 1982.

So, it appears you must begin again. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies. So I think I'll pass on the 82 live HvK recording. One of these days I'll get around to the Bernstein: RCO, but for now I will satisfy myself with his NYPhil and BPO recordings, both favorites of mine.
 

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I concur with Skil's sentiment; I vote neither and suggest Rattle (BPO), Abbado (BPO), or even Chailly (Concertgebouw). Or Tennstedt, obviously, with LPO, which is always a fall-back option (read: absurdly high baseline). Karajan not on my radar. Not a fan of his Mahler stuff.
 

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I concur with Skil's sentiment; I vote neither and suggest Rattle (BPO), Abbado (BPO), or even Chailly (Concertgebouw). Or Tennstedt, obviously, with LPO, which is always a fall-back option (read: absurdly high baseline). Karajan not on my radar. Not a fan of his Mahler stuff.
Love your avatar. When a relationship ended in 1977, the only thing we fought over was who got the Tintin books. I did; she got Asterix. She got the dinner set; I got the car (she got the higher value item).
 

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Just working my way through all the Mahler 9th performances I own recently and comparing them (for no reason other than my own enjoyment). Many tackle movements 1, 2, and 3 impressively but then fall down in the 4th taking something away from the performance and its impact overall. While listening through my various CD's I note a striking difference in Adagio timings within my collection. I note them here just for those that might be interested.

Mahler 9th, Adagio Timings
Berny RCO 29:34
M.T.T. SFO 27:50
L Cobos Cinn 27:50
VK BPO 26:49 Digital
VK BPO 26:44 Analogue
Berny BPO 26:11
Rattle BPO 26:02
Abbado BPO 25:56
Rattle BSO 24:43
Haitink RCO 24:42
Abbado VPO 24:28
Klemperer NPHilO 24:11
Haitink SBR 23:10
Berny NYP 22:59
Gielen SWR 22:30
Boulez CSO 21:25
Walter Col SO 21:04
 

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That's a fascinating experiment. How curious that Walter is so fast, and Klemperer is also relatively fast, despite his reputation for slow tempi. The point being that both of them knew Mahler and studied with him.
I'm not suggesting there is only one right way, but it does seem that Mahler might have favoured crisp tempi. Of course, he never conducted this work.
 

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I wouldn't really say so. I have the live version which some reckon to be that bit more intense but there is little in it. Both won Gramophone awards of course. I wouldn't buy one for the Kindertotenleider as I can't stand those songs. there is enough in the world to depress us without that!
Have you ever heard of catharsis? The world would be a poorer place without Kindertotenleider.
 

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I think one of the amazing aspects of Mahler's music is that (in my opinion) conductors have a lot of leeway and options when shaping an effective performance, some succeed for me, some don't, and all to varying degrees. That's why I can enjoy Walter as well as Klemperer. Boulez as well as Abbado. I don't think say, Beethoven, will bend as readily to pushing and pulling in such a wide range of tempos, dynamics, phrasing, etc.

Well, I think I'm Mahler'd out for a bit, and, for some unknown reason I've got a hankering for some Ligeti and Schoenberg listening next.
 

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Listening to both in a side by side comparison and I have to say the interpretations are remarkably similar. I too am intrigued why the live performance gets all the accolades.

I also wonder what others mean when they consider Karajan to have "butchered" this symphony. Having heard multiple recordings of this work I understand perhaps not liking a particular interpretation as much, but I don't see how Karajan distorts anything.
 
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