Review by mwagner1962 June 18, 2005 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
|Well, as this was my 14th recording of Mahler's 5th (my 5th on SACD) I decided to give this a serious listen before posting my thoughts.
I have to give this very high marks for performance and sound.
Onwards, the opening trumpet solo is excellent and there is plenty of air and space. The familiar triplet patterns that are frequent throughout the 1st movement are clean and clear, unlike a number of other recordings of this piece that I own. Overall, the 1st movement is played in such a way that I can get excited about the remainder of the symphony.
The 2nd Mvt. opens at a somewhat brisker tempo than others, and sometimes the brass get a touch on the pecky side, but this does not last long. The close miking used on this SACD sometimes gives the pizzicato strings an unusually forward feel. When the brass get away from their pecky playing later in the movement, they sound nice and organic. The movements fades away nicely at the end.
3rd Mvt. I have to do some research, as it appears that the horn obbligato part is played at the front of the orchestra. On my EMI CD with Rattle and Berlin, the horn is listed as "playing from the front of the stage" and it sounds like this is what is happening here. I listened to all of my other recordings (CD and SACD) and on this SACD and on the EMI, it appears that the horn is up front. Other than that, this movement rocks, and the horn solos gives me goosebumps!!! The movement ends in a typical rollicking fashion that can sometimes incur clapping and cheers!!
The 4th movement..here comes the one negative....TOO DARN SLOW!!! Of all my recordings, this is the 2nd slowest of them all, only topped by the dreadful Bernstein/DG/Vienna CD...time to hit the "skip" button to the next track....too slow to enjoy the strings.. :(
The 5th good brisk tempo, yet does not feel like "Let's get this over with and get home"...there is excellent inner detail, and once again great transparency, air, and space. Once again, the trumpets and trombones get a little pecky, but that does not stop me from a hearty BRAVO to this SACD.
Overall, the sound is superb, though close. Another thing I noticed was that the soundstage seemed to be rather tight and close. I then saw the picture of the orchestra in their hall, and I now understand why the sound stage is tighter than most....the orchestra is set up in a pretty tight wedge on the stage....
In closing, the very slow 4th movement is all that keeps this SACD from 5 stars on the performance!!!
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