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Discussion: Mahler: Symphony No. 6 - Abbado

Posts: 38
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Post by akiralx April 4, 2005 (1 of 38)
I was just thinking, this may be priced fairly low for a 2-disc set, as otherwise as a hybrid in competition with the single disc red-book CD it may be slightly compromised commercially. So I hope the SACD set will be the same price as a single SACD.

Obviously the 2 discs will not be well-filled but at least it shouldn't be bumped up in price to the equivalent of 2 mid-rice discs as often happens.

Although I recall the Chailly Mahler 3 hybrid was cheaper than the RBCD set in some areas...

Post by zeus April 4, 2005 (2 of 38)
akiralx said:

I was just thinking, this may be priced fairly low for a 2-disc set, as otherwise as a hybrid in competition with the single disc red-book CD it may be slightly compromised commercially. So I hope the SACD set will be the same price as a single SACD.

DG are showing May for the release of this, likely a month or two later in the US. It should appear for pre-order in Europe soon.

Post by Daland April 4, 2005 (3 of 38)
akiralx said:

I was just thinking, this may be priced fairly low for a 2-disc set, as otherwise as a hybrid in competition with the single disc red-book CD it may be slightly compromised commercially. So I hope the SACD set will be the same price as a single SACD.

Obviously the 2 discs will not be well-filled but at least it shouldn't be bumped up in price to the equivalent of 2 mid-rice discs as often happens.

Although I recall the Chailly Mahler 3 hybrid was cheaper than the RBCD set in some areas...

According to Amazon.de the 2-disc set will be released on May 2 at a price of 19.99 EUR.

Post by Claude April 4, 2005 (4 of 38)
I noticed that retailers are often confused about these short 2-SACD releases, some of which must be double discs only because all the hi-rez content would not fit onto one SACD. The Mahler/Abbodo is such a release, as the parallel CD version (why not go single inventory?) is just one disc.

In some stores the sets are sold at the price of one disc (20 Euro and less), in other stores as a 2CD set (30-35 Euro).

Post by akiralx July 16, 2005 (5 of 38)
I've been noticing that a few reviewers are commenting about Abbado's playing of the Andante as the second movement followed by the Scherzo third. This is absolutely the correct order - the playing of the Scherzo second was an old aberration, mainly caused by mediocre editors and a misunderstanding between the composer's widow and Willem Mengelberg, an early champion of Mahler. This article provides all the information:

http://posthorn.com/Mahler/Correct_Movement_Order_III.pdf

Basically Mahler never intended the Scherzo to be played second, and always conducted the work himself with the Andante second.

Older recordings have the old incorrect order, but all modern performances/recordings will have the Andante second. Fortunately Abbado's set has the work split between discs to avoid anyone reprogramming the order...

Post by mdt July 16, 2005 (6 of 38)
akiralx said:

I was just thinking, this may be priced fairly low for a 2-disc set, as otherwise as a hybrid in competition with the single disc red-book CD it may be slightly compromised commercially. So I hope the SACD set will be the same price as a single SACD.

Obviously the 2 discs will not be well-filled but at least it shouldn't be bumped up in price to the equivalent of 2 mid-rice discs as often happens.

Although I recall the Chailly Mahler 3 hybrid was cheaper than the RBCD set in some areas...

I bought the set at the price of one disc. Up until now all SA-CD sets whose CD version was on one disc were sold at the price of one disc.

That aside i think the recording is absolutely great, never enjoyed Mahler that much before.

Post by seth July 16, 2005 (7 of 38)
akiralx said:

I've been noticing that a few reviewers are commenting about Abbado's playing of the Andante as the second movement followed by the Scherzo third. This is absolutely the correct order - the playing of the Scherzo second was an old aberration, mainly caused by mediocre editors and a misunderstanding between the composer's widow and Willem Mengelberg, an early champion of Mahler. This article provides all the information:

http://posthorn.com/Mahler/Correct_Movement_Order_III.pdf

Basically Mahler never intended the Scherzo to be played second, and always conducted the work himself with the Andante second.

Older recordings have the old incorrect order, but all modern performances/recordings will have the Andante second. Fortunately Abbado's set has the work split between discs to avoid anyone reprogramming the order...

So why is it that all the program/liner notes written about it typically state that he originally intended the Scherzo to be the second movement, flipped it to the 3rd because his friends made such a big deal about it sounding similar to the first, then later moved it back to the 2nd, and told Mengelberg that this order, it second, is definitive?

Post by peteyspambucket July 16, 2005 (8 of 38)
seth said:

So why is it that all the program/liner notes written about it typically state that he originally intended the Scherzo to be the second movement, flipped it to the 3rd because his friends made such a big deal about it sounding similar to the first, then later moved it back to the 2nd, and told Mengelberg that this order, it second, is definitive?

This is a very interesting contrast to the articles in the PDF. I have often heard it in live performances with S-A, but I rather enjoy the order that Abbado plays them in, A-S. But I leave the authenticity of the order for others to discuss. I just know that I like hearing it either way. :-)

Post by seth July 16, 2005 (9 of 38)
peteyspambucket said:

This is a very interesting contrast to the articles in the PDF. I have often heard it in live performances with S-A, but I rather enjoy the order that Abbado plays them in, A-S. But I leave the authenticity of the order for others to discuss. I just know that I like hearing it either way. :-)

The 'popular' ordering, to me, makes the most sense. I think of the Symphony this way: After the heroic conclusion of the first movement, the march starts up again. It is unrelenting. The victory is short lived. While the Scherzo sounds similar to the first movement, it is clearly a parody. In fact, to best emphasize that it is a parody, I much prefer it when the tempo of the scherzo and first movement are identical. Szell and Gielen do this to great effect. The Scherzo eventually putters out, dissolving into the third movement. After 40 minutes of 'the march,' the Andante comes as a sigh of relief. It is time for reflection -- preparation -- before the tour-de-force final movement. It works much like the Adagietto in the 5th Symphony. The finale is so massive that it can stand on its own; placing the Andante before it helps isolate it from the other two movements. The end of the Andante also flows very nicely into the opening of the Finale. So as I see it, the symphony is one long march to a bitter defeat, clearly broken up into three sections.

Post by akiralx July 17, 2005 (10 of 38)
seth said:

So why is it that all the program/liner notes written about it typically state that he originally intended the Scherzo to be the second movement, flipped it to the 3rd because his friends made such a big deal about it sounding similar to the first, then later moved it back to the 2nd, and told Mengelberg that this order, it second, is definitive?

You're right in saying he originally intended the Scherzo to be second but then changed his mind - but then that's the end of it. There's no evidence after that to support he had second thought - he always conducted it with the Andante second, and never told Mengelberg to place the Scherzo second.

His widow Alma for some reason told Mengelberg to place the Scherzo second, saying 'as when my husband conducted it in Amsterdam' - but Mahler never conducted the Sixth there, so her memory is clearly wrong. Bruno Walter, Mahler's acolyte also confirmed that Mahler never had any second thoughts about the Andante/Scherzo order.

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