Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested CDs
(Almost) Present at the Creation
tomvarley | Glenmoore, PA United States | 04/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first encountered this recording close to 30 years ago in a used record store in Bryn mawr, PA, where it (and Scherchen's Mahler 7th of about the same vintage) had mistakenly been put in with the 78 rpm albums, someone faving been confused by the appearance of the original albums. Curious, I took both home and found them gripping performances, although the album containing the 5th (and one of the finest Adagios from the unfinished 10th you'll vere hear) was marred by having one of the disks pressed slightlt off-center. Still, I've been waiting years for this to appear on CD.
Hermann Scherchen was of the generation of conductors who was too young to have worked with Mahler as did Willem Mengelberg and Bruno Walter. He did, however play in the orchestra that gave the first Berlin performance of the 7th and conducted one of the Berlin Philharmonics early performances of the 5th. He was renowned for his devotion to contemporary music although the Westminster catalog presented him as a jack-of-all-trades, with a discography that included Bach, Beethoven, Rimsky-Korsakov, Gliere and Honegger.The present recording was made for the Westminster label in 1952 by what was, fo all practical purposes, the Vienna Philharmonic, clearly an orchestra with a Mahler history. The sound is mono, with some thinness at the top but a good, solid bass. Some of the climaxes sound a bit diffuse but don't let that throw you. This is a great performance. The more nightmarish aspects of the score come through thrillingly, especially in the scherzo, the funeral march is full of foreboding and the joyous dawn of the opening of the fifth movement is totally charming. Slow sections can be very slow BUT the Adagietto clocks in at slightly more than 9 minutes, close to the currently approved academic views of the movement and to the timings of Mengelberg and Walter's pre-war recordings. This is also quite a switch from the 15 minutes of Scherchen's 1964 Phila Orch concert performance. Incidentally, the scherzo in that performance was cut to 5 minutes and comes in here at about 18.Scherchen has the total control of all the fantastic contrasts of the score. Don't let this one get away!"