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Symphony 1 / Symphony 6
Mahler, Bruckner, Adler
Symphony 1 / Symphony 6
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #2


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CD Details

All Artists: Mahler, Bruckner, Adler
Title: Symphony 1 / Symphony 6
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Tahra France
Release Date: 3/31/1998
Genre: Classical
Style: Symphonies
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 672911223924

CD Reviews

Important Historical Recordings of Mahler & Bruckner
Jeffrey Lipscomb | Sacramento, CA United States | 06/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This Tahra 2-disc CD set contains previously unreleased 1952 radio broadcast performances of the Mahler 1st and the Bruckner 6th, both with the Vienna Symphony conducted by F. (for Frederick) Charles Adler (1889-1959). Adler was a Mahler pupil who served as chorusmaster in the composer's 12 September 1910 world premiere of the 8th Symphony at Munich. Adler was one of only five Mahler associates who recorded any of the composer's symphonies (the others: Oscar Fried, Willem Mengelberg, Otto Klemperer and Bruno Walter). And this is the ONLY recording of the Bruckner 6th in the revised first edition published by Doblinger and edited by Cyrill Hynais. This Hynais was the sole performance edition until 1935, when Paul van Kempen premiered the original edition at Dresden.

Adler was born in London to an English-German banking family. He studied briefly with Mottl (who also mentored Abendroth and Furtwangler). He held various appointments at Ljubljana and Dusseldorf and in 1924-31 was head of broadcasting for the German state radio in Berlin. Adler also operated a publishing house, Edition Adler, which issued music of then little known composers like Charles Ives. Adler emigrated to the United States in 1933 and married Hannah Moriarta in 1936. His wife came from a wealthy family in Saratoga Springs, New York, where she and Adler settled.

Adler was something of a hero to early LP record collectors for his first-ever recordings of such works as the Mahler 3rd & 6th Symphonies, the Bruckner Mass #1, the Liszt Dante Symphony, and a slew of others. The LP notes for that Mahler 3rd were written by Mahler's widow Alma, who concluded by saying "score readers will note that in several places there are small deviations between the published score and the music heard. These differences represent corrections which Mahler himself made after the publication of the score." These recordings were all issued on Adler's own SPA LP label, which ostensibly stood for "Society of Participating Artists" (SPA was really a play on words referring to Saratoga Springs, a town well-known as a resort spa). The Mahler 3 & 6 have been issued in England on the Conifer CD label (lousy transfers). There is also a slightly faster, "live" Adler-conducted 3rd on Tahra 340-341.

This is NOT a set for those who prefer the cool, fast precision of a Reiner or Szell. Adler was not that type of conductor nor was he at that level of excellence. Most of his recordings could perhaps be best described as "noble interpretations, imperfectly realized." If you have heard early 1950's Vienna Symphony recordings by Scherchen, Klemperer or Horenstein, you will know what to expect here: frequent instances of scrappy playing and some "old world" expressive touches in the strings.

The Mahler 1st is, like Adler's other Mahler recordings, rather on the slow side. The opening is broad and aptly mysterious, and throughout there is far more use of expressive string portamento than is heard today (Horenstein's early 1950's Vox recording also has this feature). The entire performance is very rustic (the very slow Trio is really hypnotic). There are some truly "gauche" moments (the strings aren't always quite together in the Scherzo's da capo and in a few instances elsewhere). To my ears, this is one of the essential mono Mahler 1sts, along with the earlier Mitropoulos, Scherchen's, the Horenstein, and the possibly pseudonymous Ernst Borsamsky (see my review of the latter). My favorite stereo 1st - by a wide margin - is the "live" Kubelik (Audite CD).

The Bruckner 6th is better played over-all and is a truly majestic rendering. The Hynais edition doesn't have the severe cuts and wholesale re-orchestrations that disfigure the Schalk edition of the Bruckner 5th. Most of the differences are in the area of dynamic markings. So, for example, the final big statement of the main theme in the 1st mvt. coda, rather than starting with a crashing chord, is initiated by starting piano and quickly swelling to full sound. It's almost like a concise Bruckner "blaze-up" in miniature. Adler's emphatic, bravura handling of the coda itself is magnificently bold and life-affirming, with glorious tympani playing. Also worth noting is the VERY slow Trio, which has a rustic expressiveness that is simply irresistable. The Adagio here is very moving.

Needless to say, I cherish these performances. There is also an extraordinary "live" 1943 Furtwangler account of the Bruckner Sixth (EMI and elsewhere), but unfortunately the 1st mvt. of it has not survived.

Very highly recommended.

Jeff Lipscomb"