Led by Lorin Maazel, the Philharmonia Orchestra are captured at their very best in these live performances of Mahler's Nine Symphonies. Recorded in concert at London's Royal Festival Hall, the symphonies include performances by soloists and ensembles including Sarah Connolly, Michelle Deyoung, Philharmonia Voices and the BBC Symphony Chorus. Praise for these performances has been near universal…'You get that audience perspective as if you were sitting in the hall, and its got all the energy and focus of a live or concert recording.' (BBC Radio 3) '…Maazel could sustain this score in a way that seemed to transcend reality…a tremendously moving experience.' (Classical Source) 'an extraordinary reading of the Ninth…a performance touched by greatness.' (Musicweb International).
Bernstein leads the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra through Mahler's Symphonies Nos. 8-10 and Das Lied von der Erde . Special highlight: the breathtaking vocals on Symphony of a Thousand !
Bernstein conducts Mahler's Symphonies Nos. 5-7; Ruckert Lieder, and Kindertotenlieder with the New York Philharmonic and the Wiener Philharmoniker. Nobody interprets Mahler like the brilliant Bernstein!
This 16-disc set contains what is without a doubt the most distinguished collection of Mahler performances ever to have been assembled in one place. DG has sensibly collected all of Bernstein's Mahler for Polygram labels, including the London "Das Lied von der Erde," and all of the orchestral song cycles: "Song of a Wayfarer," "Kindertotenlieder," "Rückert-Lieder," and "Des Knaben Wunderhorn." All of these recordings have been issued separately to general critical acclaim, and despite a veritable warehouse of new Mahler discs in the '90s, Bernstein's versions by and large still reign supreme.
Between 1994 and 2011, Pierre Boulez recorded the symphonies and songs of Gustav Mahler for Deutsche Grammophon, and for many listeners these recordings are high points in his catalog, while others regard them as idiosyncratic recordings for specialists. The basis of both views stems from Boulez's meticulous conducting and exacting performance standards, which produce music of extreme lucidity and precision, yet which can also seem overly cerebral and dispassionate. Boulez's approach to Mahler may seem clinical, and this is a reasonable assessment of the way he treats details, textures, timbres, dynamics, and rhythms as indicated in the score, clearly and cleanly, without adding personal touches or interpreting the music through Mahler's biography or his own mythology.
This cycle of Nielsen symphonies is a partial crossover from the Bis label, not a remake. The connection with Bis assures that the sonics given to the Gothenburg Sym. will be excellent, and the clarity of the wind playing, the inner detail and clean dynamics are a big plus. Jarvi isn't especially tuned in to the mystery and tragedy of Nielsen's later works. He zips too quickly through the first movement of the Fifth, missing its combination of anguish and chaos. He isn't expansive or joyous enough in Sym. #3, even though the subtitle is 'Espansiva.'