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  Universal (Japan) -
  Mahler: Symphony No. 9 - Bernstein
  Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Berliner Philharmoniker
Leonard Bernstein
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
  Single Layer
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 5

Reviews: 1

Review by mwgfrg June 29, 2015 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
At the end of December 2014 I said of the Esoteric release of this famous performance that "while it has all of the expected SACD virtues of depth and richness, it lacks the clarity of the Universal Japan SHM-CD reissue, prompting the probably futile hope for an SHM-SACD release sometime in the future". Well, silly me, thinking I had a clue as to what passes for marketing in the Far East. Here, six months later, is the SHM-SACD, and is it what I hoped for? Not really. To start, the transfer is at a very low level, which misleads you until you make adjustments, and, of course, may increase system noise in playback. As to the basic sound of the new transfer: yes, it is more transparent than the Esoteric, making the upper string sound quite lovely. But that's the end of the good news. Somehow some of the presence seems drained out of the recording; the Esoteric transfer has more heft and impact--in fact, more low frequency response entirely--behind it, and seems to capture more of the power of the performance in general, and the lower strings and brass in particular. Both SACD transfers convey more sense of the orchestra within the hall than any previous release--but the Esoteric is better. I'm sure those with more technical knowledge on SACD transfers than I (which would be just about anybody) can explain all of this better than I can, and may reach a different conclusion, and other systems may reproduce the two SACDs differently as well; but while I will keep both, it is the Esoteric I am more likely to return to for regular listening. As to the performance--it is wonderful, but I still prefer the well-recorded, DVD only Bernstein/Vienna Philharmonic 1971 performance. If you want this one, however--and you should--this SHM-SACD is better than any previous non-SACD release. I would grab one or the other SACDs before both disappear; but if you want the Esoteric, you need to get it right away.

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Works: 1  

Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 9 in D major