Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mahler, Norman, Concertgebouw Orch|
Sym 9 / Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Genres: Pop, Classical
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There Must Be A Better Way To Reissue
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 06/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes I think the people who came up with the Philips 50 reissue series weren't thinking very clearly. Some of these releases have been done very intelligently, but many times the Philips 50 titles have too closely followed and often duplicated the material in the Philips Duo series and elsewhere. For example, Colin Davis recorded two glowing accounts of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique for the label, one with the London Symphony Orchestra and a later one with the Concertgebouw. The Philips Duo features his earlier one with LSO while the Conertgebouw recording became available in 1999 as part of the Penguin Classics series. So in 2001 they decide they need another Concertgebouw release via the Philips 50 series -- no wonder they deleted it and no wonder new classical buyers never know what to buy! They got it all wrong again with the Philips 50 of Colin Davis performing Sibelius' 5th and 7th Symphonies and Mozart's Violin Concertos (see my reviews). Anyway, I ramble because I'm frustrated! So let's get down to this Mahler's 9th Symphony and Des Knaben Wundenhorn set with Bernard Haitink and the Concertgebouw Orchestra. There is no question that this Mahler 9th performance ranks among the very best -- a list that includes recordings by Walter, Bernstein, Klemperer and Barbirolli in my opinion. But this 9th already exists on a Philips Duo that managed to squeeze the entire 80-minute plus symphony on to one CD, and couples it with an outstanding performance of Das Lied von der Erde on disc two. With that being the case, why do you re-release the same Symphony, with only the first three movements (approximately 55 minutes) on the first disc and the fourth movement on the second disc, take away Das Lied and add a mediocre Wunderhorn, and charge more money for less music? I'm being kind by giving this title four stars (but I will because the 9th is terrific), yet pass on the Philips 50 and stick with the Philips Duo. And Universal, look into whose running things over at Philips!"
Splendid Mahler 9th Symphony But Dubious Wunderhorn-Lieder f
John Kwok | New York, NY USA | 04/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Over the past few years I've been fortunate to hear superb performances of Mahler's song cycles, including "Wunderhorn-Lieder" and "Das Lied von der Erde" by soloists with piano accompaniment at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York. Regrettably, this 1976 recording of most of "Wunderhorn-Lieder" isn't nearly as memorable as these free live concerts that I've attended. As one other reviewer so aptly noted, John Shirley-Quirk sounds awful, while Jessye Norman seems more interested in singing Mahler as if it was composed by Richard Wagner for his "Ring" operatic cycle, than in emphasizing Mahler's intentions for these scores. The only redeeming aspect of this recording is the Concertgebouw's rich, glorious sound, in a no-nonsense interpretation from that great Mahlerian, conductor Bernard Haitink itself.
In stark contrast to "Wunderhorn-Lieder", Haitink's glowing, glistening account of the Mahler 9th symphony, recorded back in the mid 1960s with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, remains the best reason to acquire this CD (Though potential customers might consider instead its coupling with Haitink's interpretation of "Das Lied von der Erde" in the Philips Duo series, and yes, this seems to be a bad marketing decision on Philips's part to have the same performance available on two current releases.). Haitink's Mahler 9th is crisp, tautly directed, without the excessive emotionalism that characterizes Bernstein's interpretations. It may be stylistically closest to Boulez's recent Deutsche Grammophon recording, but Haitink's interpretation isn't devoid of emotion; a criticism that is often cited by those acquainted with Boulez's Mahler symphony recordings. Without question, this fine recording of the Mahler 9th symphony still remains one of the finest available."
Lovely sound, bland performance (+ awful Wunderhorn)
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/30/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Because of Shirley-Quirk's major wobble in his voice and humorless unidiomatic singing, the Wunderhorn collection on this Philips two-fer is a nonstarter. Norman is in fresh voice, but she sounds a lot more interested in being Jessye Norman than in interpreting Mahler.
The Ninth Sym. is the main attraction, and it's beautifully played and recorded. The interpretation is literal and low-key, as Haitink too often tends to be. The first movement is brisk, without any pauses for phrasing or lingering to catch an emotional moment. The other movements are straight-ahead time-beating; the finale in particular makes almost no emotional impression, far from the wrenching farewell intended by Mahler. Even at a bargain price I can't see that the Concertgebouw's gorgeous playing is enough to justify a purchase."