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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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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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