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Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1 / Songs of a Wayfarer - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Rafael Kubelik
Gustav Mahler, Rafael Kubelik, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1 / Songs of a Wayfarer - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Rafael Kubelik
Genres: Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1

Here's a delightful coupling: Mahler's First Symphony and the song cycle that donated many of its themes to the larger work. Best of all, both performances are superb. Rafael Kubelik is the dark horse among Mahler condu...  more »

      
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Amazon.com essential recording
Here's a delightful coupling: Mahler's First Symphony and the song cycle that donated many of its themes to the larger work. Best of all, both performances are superb. Rafael Kubelik is the dark horse among Mahler conductors. His interpretations are always fresh, unforced, and seemingly without exaggeration. However, he knows how to build a climax, and his generally swift tempos never permit a minute's boredom. There are many moments to cherish in his performance of the symphony, not least the delicious woodwind playing and the tangy trumpets in the third movement's Fiddler on the Roof music. Reissued at midprice in excellently remastered sound--better than most new digitals in many respects--this is a performance that remains one of the best, and as a coupling it's unbeatable. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

An underrated Mahler conductor.
Ed Brickell | 10/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you want over-the-top hysteria (not necessarily a bad thing at times with Mahler), go with Bernstein. If you're looking for more conservative but still committed performances you can listen to again and again, Kubelik's your guy. He underplays the drama slightly, and while the result is still passionate, it's also solid, stable, and infinitely satisfying. Kubelik makes you more aware of Mahler's musical genius, where other conductors might focus more on the drama.The orchestra might be a little thin in the strings, but they speak with Mahler's "voice" in a way that few other orchestras are able to capture -- there is a slightly rustic quality to their sound that captures the open air quality of Mahler's music. And they respond very well to Kubelik's sober but passionate direction. The brass and woodwinds, always important in Mahler, are superb. Maybe not the most dramatic Mahler you've ever heard, but certainly among the most musical. It's the version of the 1st that gets put in my CD player most often. The price is right; remastering is expert. You just can't go wrong with Kubelik and Mahler."
An extremely lucid and powerful reading
barrysingermusic | Norwood, MA USA | 02/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a totally captivating version of Mahler's 1st. The thing that struck me most was the "transparency" of this performance -- being able to hear each linear instrumental thread of the orchestral counterpoint, with all elements wonderfully balanced by Kubelik. Yet the power of the work as a whole is never lost; the raw emotions and youthful energy of this symphony were communicated in a way few other recordings achieve. The relatively brisk tempi may surprise some fans (the total time is around 49 minutes - compare with Bernstein's 57 minutes) but Kubelik seems to have total control of the situation, so these worked very well and seemed entirely in keeping with the work's character. Negative points? Well, the sound of the brass is a bit thin for my taste -- I don't know if this is due to the actual performance, original engineering, or digital remastering. However, this detail is minor compared to the overall positive impression of this reading. I recommend this recording to anyone -- seasoned Mahler fan or first-time listener alike."
A very fine and philosophical approach to the First Symphony
ScopeGuru | Chicago | 12/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Many consider the First Symphony as a lighter work of Mahler. To these ears, however, there are fewer great renditions of the First than there are of his heavier symphonies such as the Third and the Ninth. Kubelik reveals the inner beauty of this work in much greater details, and explores the spiritual aspects in more penetrating depth than others. Right from the beginning, the music is drugged with a distinctly well controlled misty atmosphere, only to be dissipated by the most beautifully played first theme. It is apparent that Kubelik works with great effort on every phrasing and tempo change, for nothing is done without a sense of purpose, or directly complements what comes before and after. The musical contrasts in the Third movement is perhaps the most challenging part of the symphony. Mahler wrote a Jewish wedding celebration to immediately follow the funeral march. Many play the haunting funeral march and the wedding jubilation as unrelated entities. As his later works exemplifies, Mahler is a master in using musical dichotomies. More often than not, it is the very moment when the mood of the music eeriely swings around that we get a glimpse into the polarities of Mahler's psyche. Few performances handle the transition in the 3rd movement more effectively than Kubelik. The profundity of Kubelik's account (and that of the music) becomes clear as the parody of life is highlighted not by the funeral march, but when the autere serenity is so rudely perturbed by the entrance of the wedding burlesque. We find ourselves bereft of laughter despite the festive celebration - a subtle musical sarcasm that is uniquely Mahler. This is one of the most philosophical and artistically well played renditions available, and comes coupled with a very fine Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Fisher-Dieskau as soloist."