Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gustav Mahler, Claudio Abbado, Marilyn Horne|
Mahler: Symphony No. 4; Symphony No. 2
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A "Resurrection" to leave you in tears
Thomas B Dawkins | 03/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My first encounter with this recording of the Mahler Second was in the listening library at Brandeis, and I'm sure the rest of the room thought I was insane. (I tend to get into the music a bit...) Marilyn Horne's "Urlicht" is enough reason to get this recording in the first place, but what a pity it would be to miss the other seventy-five minutes! As would be expected, Abbado leads the symphony in an appropriately operatic fashion. The first movement "Totenfeier" is appropriately martial and Germanic without being overly weighty. The contrasts between the percussive march and lyrical "Pastorale" sections are marked, but executed seamlessly. The second movement, often considered to be a good deal less exciting than those that surround it, leaves itself suspended slightly on every note so that you absolutely MUST hear what follows. The Scherzo is snarling at points, lyric at others, until it erupts in a violent finish. Enter Ms. Horne with the "Urlicht" or "First Light" from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. When I first listened to this, the tears kept streaming down my face well into the next movement, which alternates Armageddon/Resurrection like no other. Particularly effective are two parts: the long percussion crescendo before the c minor march, and the suspended "Last Trumpet" before the choir enters with the hymn "Aufersteh'n" of Klopstock. This is where Abbado's operatic conducting shines; the voices are always primary with exquisite orchestral coloring that never overtakes the soloists as is very possible in Mahler. The end is slow, exultant, and sublime.Lest you forget that this set also includes an entire other symphony! (the fourth) Von Stade's "Himmlisches Leben" is just as serene and pure as any boy soprano's, although it does lack the eerie quality that only a young boy can give to the part. The rest of the fourth is lustrous, including a very slow, very marvelous third movement and a haunting second."
An absolutely breathtaking peformance. Abbado triumphs.
Thomas B Dawkins | 10/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Abbado is one of my favorite conductors. And Mahler is probably my favorite composer. But this truly is Mahler and Abbado at their best. The 2nd symphony is undescribably magnificant. Even though I've listened to it probably 30 or 40 times, the last movement of the 2nd still always gives me chills down my spine. And sometimes even a few tears to my eye. The building is so incredible is the last movement! The 4th symphony is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard. The sound of sleigh bells in the opening(and a violin solo in the first movement), to the beauty of the 3rd movement, to the heavenly singing of Frederica von Stade in the last movement to the soft, tranquill ending with the harp solo in the last few bars. And the cost is unbelievable. It is two for the price of one. I have seen recordings of just the 2nd for as much as 33 dollars. But with this, you get it and the 4th for half the price of just the 2nd! Beautifully recorded, great price, great music. Nothing can beat this. Christmas is coming soon, people. This will be a great gift for any classical fan. Even if they haven't heard anything by Mahler before, you will want all his symphonies after you hear this. I strongly recommend this to any classical fan, Mahler fan(even if you have these symphonies already), or just for people who like great music."
Abbado's Best "Resurrection" And A Fine Mahler Fourth
John Kwok | New York, NY USA | 06/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Elsewhere I have read glowling accounts singing the praises of Abbado's early Chicago Symphony Orchestra account of Mahler's 2nd "Resurrection" Symphony; indeed many find it more preferable to his recent live recording with the Vienna Philharmonic. This is certainly one of the best recordings I have heard of Mahler's 2nd, emphasizing the lyrical textures in Mahler's score. Abbado does a magnificient job leading the chorus and orchestra. As for the soloists, Lena Horne's singing is simply sublime. Abbado's early account with the Vienna Philharmonic of Mahler's 4th Symphony is nearly as fine, blessed with Frederica von Stade's elegant singing. Yet it suffers by comparison with more recent performances from the likes of Bernstein and Boulez, with regards to sound quality; as for Abbado himself, somehow I did not find this performance as electrifying as those from Bernstein or Boulez. Still I strongly recommend this CD because of Abbado's excellent version of Mahler's 2nd Symphony."