Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mahler, Bertini, Cologne Radio Orchestra|
Symphonies 9 & 10
MacGuffin | New York City | 06/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't think I can honestly say that I have a favorite composer, and yet my Mahler performances outnumber all others in my classical collection. This is ironic because for a long time I was actually cool towards his work (I confess--I'd heard Bernstein's bombast)...until someone whose taste and knowledge I respect guided me through the near-limitless catalog of Mahler performances available on CD.
His top recommendation was Bertini's series with Cologne.
Not only was his advice spot-on, but it seems that the rest of the music industry has finally gotten off its collective posterior and is now according Maestro Bertini the kudos he deserves, posthumously, as it happens.
I own a numbers of 9's that I feel are select; these include Karajan's live reading with Berlin and Ancerl's gorgeous Czech Phil on Supraphon. I won't say that this recording betters those accounts, but it's of the same caliber and although its slowness is like the Karajan, the resemblence ends there; it's not like either of them (which, to be precise here, are unlike each other). The audio quality, however, IS better than either; at points, the strings positively shimmer and the precision and clarity are unbelievable. This is truly a 9 for the ages, and if you're a fan of this work, you're cheating yourself if you don't familiarize yourself with it.
Bertini, whose fidelity to Mahler "as written," would never have considered performing a "completed" 10, gives us a performance of the adagio that'll knock your socks off. This is a disturbing, subtly sinister work that scares the bejesus out of me in a way that much more obvious works that I favor--such as "Le sacre du printemps" and "Scythian Suite--can't approach. It puts me in mind of some of Herrmann's eerier work, and I can't help but wonder if this might have served as inspirational fodder.
If you can find a used copy of this at a reasonable price and you're only looking to acquire another 9, buy all means, grab it--it's a two-disk space hog (why oh why did the development of "slimline" jewel cases take so long?), but the booklet is nice. My recommendation is, though, that you jump on EMI's recently released (to rave reviews, I might add) box while it's available and avail yourself of the entire cycle in a space-saving presentation. It can be had very reasonably on Amazon and contains some of the best Mahler you're likely to ever hear."