Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mahler, Yeend, Graf|
Mahler: Symphony No. 8 (Carnegie Hall, 6.4.1950)
Interesting piece of history
Jonathan Stern | New York, New York United States | 07/03/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Leopold Stokowski was a great conductor who, unfortunately, recorded very little Mahler. This is a shame, for he clearly had an affinity for his music, and it would have been fascinating to hear his take on some of the other Mahler symphonies. During his years in Philadelphia, he gave the American premieres of the Eighth and Das Lied von der Erde, but as far as I know, he only recorded 2 and 8. This performance is a very respectable sounding recording of a live 1950 concert performance. Beyond the unavoidable imperfections of a live performance, particularly at a time when this or any Mahler symphony was rarely performed, the NYPO (or the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York, as it was known at the time) do themselves proud, proving that even then they were one of the world's great Mahler orchestras. Part I is extremely energetic, with some passages diving furiously into the ones that follow. It is to Stokowski's credit that he manages to hold these forces together. Part II begins in a properly atmospheric way. George London, as always, is in excellent voice here. But from his solo to the final chorus, the music loses its focus and bite (did Stoki exhaust himself?). The remaining soloists are uneven, the worst offender being the extremely inglorious Mater Gloriosa. Stokowski recovers nicely for a fine conclusion. If you are a fan of this conductor or a complete Mahlerite, grab this if you haven't already. But the sound (effective but dated), the soloists, and the leaden quality of most of Part II rule this out of serious consideration for best available. Right now, Haitink's performance is available on a single low-priced CD. This one ranks with Kubelik's among the best ever. Since Kubelik is only available in his complete set (see my review), go with Haitink, especially if you only want one performance."