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  Esoteric -
  Mahler: Symphony No. 5 - Barbirolli
  Mahler: Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor

New Philharmonia Orchestra
Sir John Barbirolli (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 1

Reviews: 1

Review by mwgfrg February 27, 2012 (12 of 14 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is one of the classic Mahler recordings, the most famous 5th ever recorded, and has been justly praised for over 40 years. It is certainly Barbirolli's most well known Mahler recording, even more so than the Berlin 9th which just appeared on SACD a few months ago. Unlike the 9th, which almost no one has had much if anything negative to say about, there are those who have found this performance a bit too rounded and "romantic" (for want of a better word), and perhaps here and there a bit on the slow side. I love it, but can't say that I haven't found that other recordings (Haitink, Solti, Chailly, Bernstein, Abbado) stress sides of the symphony Barbirolli does not. However, certainly there is no more beautiful performance, and orchestral playing throughout is superb. In SACD, I marginally prefer this to Abbado's recording, which is, however, excellent and more modern.

The sound of this release is fascinating. I have never had an RBCD, and compared it only to the original EMI LP release. I found the Esoteric reissue astounding in how it transformed a recording I have known for so many years. Compared to the LPs, the SACD has an enormous increase in bass amplitude and projection, overall dynamics and width of orchestral spread. At the same time, it lacks the clarity in articulation of the upper strings and woodwinds of the LPs--while the detail is there, the delicacy and openness of the original release is just not the same. If you could put them together, you would have something like perfection, but that would be too simple. I honestly could not choose between the SACD and LPs, and am very happy I don't have to. Of course, since the LPs are not exactly easy to find, it isn't really a choice most people will have to make.

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Works: 1  

Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor