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Discussion: Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 9 - Bernstein

Posts: 18
Page: 1 2 next

Post by Claude February 5, 2008 (1 of 18)
I finally received this 3 disc set today (at a good price from Amazon.co.uk), and I listened to Symphony 6.

I don't have a CD version of this recording to compare it too, but the (stereo) sound is very fine, similar to the SACD of Symphony 1.

But why did they put this out as a 3 disc set, because the 6th fits entirely on the first disc (77:55 minutes). So they could have released the symphonies seperately like the others. But I don't mind, since the 6th and 9th are my favourite Mahler symphonies and I didn't already own these on CD.

Post by draudio2u November 19, 2008 (2 of 18)
SACD-Hybrid would not hold all the data to place it on one disc so it had to be split. If this was just a PCM release, yes, you can go up to 80 minutes on Red Book.
Cheers.

Post by wehecht November 19, 2008 (3 of 18)
draudio2u said:

SACD-Hybrid would not hold all the data to place it on one disc so it had to be split. If this was just a PCM release, yes, you can go up to 80 minutes on Red Book.
Cheers.

Not so; while other manufacturers play it safe BIS has issued several hybrid SACD's with timings exceeding 77 minutes including some of more than 81 minutes, volumes 2 and 3 of the Brautigam Beethoven series for example and at least one of over 82 minutes, the Dvorak 6th and 9th symphonies. The sound doesn't appear to be compromised in any way.

Post by stvnharr November 19, 2008 (4 of 18)
Claude said:

I finally received this 3 disc set today (at a good price from Amazon.co.uk), and I listened to Symphony 6.

I don't have a CD version of this recording to compare it too, but the (stereo) sound is very fine, similar to the SACD of Symphony 1.

But why did they put this out as a 3 disc set, because the 6th fits entirely on the first disc (77:55 minutes). So they could have released the symphonies seperately like the others. But I don't mind, since the 6th and 9th are my favourite Mahler symphonies and I didn't already own these on CD.

I've had this for a long time, and I too wondered why it was released as a 3 disc set rather than 2 releases. But no matter what, they did what they did, and that's that.
BTW, I have all of these Bernstein Mahlers and think they are all excellent in every way.

Post by ClassicalDJ September 26, 2013 (5 of 18)
These Bernstein Mahler discs look appealing, not too outrageously priced (compared to many other recent Japanese releases anyway), and even include a multichannel track.

What are the approximate ages of these performances, and how does the sound compare with other contemporary recordings? Were these original multichannel/quadrophonic recordings?

Regarding the performances, is Bernstein really the great (or at least unique) Mahler interpreter he seems made out to be?

Post by stvnharr September 26, 2013 (6 of 18)
ClassicalDJ said:

What are the approximate ages of these performances,

These are the 60's Bernstein/Mahler recordings. That's all you need to know.

Post by Polarius T September 27, 2013 (7 of 18)
ClassicalDJ said:

...is Bernstein really the great (or at least unique) Mahler interpreter he seems made out to be?

I don't know. I guess things have to be put in a historical perspective here as well. He was a major second-generation Mahler pioneer in the US, popularizing Mahler big time on the concert stage and in the recording business.

But if you lack the nostalgia factor and a certain gratitude for this role of his that he so enthusiastically and effectively fulfilled, his performances can get a bit tiring. There are, to my ear and mind, so many more accomplished Mahler performers and performances out there today that, after the first curiosity has been satisfied, it may be a bit hard for one to return to him in the long term. All these Sony Bernstein sets that I have are soon going to the auction block. I've, literally, been able to listen through them maybe once or twice each. There seems not to be that much in them by way of "inexhaustible riches"; once you hear a recording of his once, that's it, and there's not much more to discover in it. And the manner in which it is catered to you is, moreover, a bit annoying in its lack of regard for you as a listener. I don't need exaggeration, overemphasis, and didactic highlighting to get a point, and I'm always much more interested in the work and the composer than the (affective and psychodynamic qualities of the) performer. And as a classical music listener I do not look for anyone to steer my emotional, physical, and psychic responses; this is not rock 'n' roll where all you look forward to is attaining the hypnotic state where you enjoy the feeling of being high from all that psychosensory manipulation, symbol signaling, and libidinal stimulation.

I find the early and current phases in Mahler interpretation far more interesting and enjoyable than these middle period exemplars. It can be quite instructive, for example, to go back to what those with a direct link to Mahler did with his works (like Klemperer but even Walter, of course, at least sometimes), or those who came to his works at around the same time but from a more independent (but no less enthusiastic or committed) position (like Scherchen). On the other hand, the perfection and truly transcendental ability that one today finds in, for example, Abbado and Boulez is so powerful in its impact that it may be hard to listen to anything or anyone else after hearing them do their magic (well, Boulez' is not magic; it's just utter clarity and strength of mind, purpose, and the morality behind the music-making), although there are always interesting (different but more or less equally valid) additions to the catalog popping up here and there. And from the sonical perspective I don't know, either, if there is something to really speak in favor of these recordings as opposed to so many others. They are OK, good for the period, but today, if excellence in sound reproduction is the goal, there's so much out there that's so much more satisfying and far more readily available.

Statuses in art and in life in general tend to be self-reproducing where the world (as in the record collecting, audio, and hi-fi hobby) is highly insular and self-referential, and once you've made it to the Penguin Guide, gotten your Gramophone roses, and been publicly elevated onto the pedestal by the self-appointed web forum loudmouths, you tend to keep your position from generation to generation and your "reputation" is set. But I think much more can be discovered that is interesting, beautiful, and even revelatory if one hops off the bandwagon and starts exploring the world seriously and on one's own, without inherited truths and established conventions narrowing down or even blocking one's thinking, feeling, and perception.

Post by pgmdir September 27, 2013 (8 of 18)
Very well said, Polarius! I have 'em, but rarely take them out. I'm glad he did what he did, though.

Post by stvnharr September 27, 2013 (9 of 18)
pgmdir said:

Very well said, Polarius! I have 'em, but rarely take them out. I'm glad he did what he did, though.

I have the early Bernsteins too, and play them as much as any other Mahler that I have. We all have our preferences.

Post by fausto K September 27, 2013 (10 of 18)
stvnharr said:

I have the early Bernsteins too, and play them as much as any other Mahler that I have. We all have our preferences.

indeed, and what's more: one can prefer to like BOTH Bernstein and Boulez. As much as I concur with Polarius' admiration for Abbado's and Boulez's readings, I wouldn't want to be without my early Bernstein (or late in the case of M9 live with the Berliners, or his M5/Wiener for that matter)

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