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Similarly Requested CDs
Not a high point in the Tennstedt legacy
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 04/24/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This live Mahler First from Chicago in 1990 was meant to make up for an earlier studio version from 1978 that the conductor never liked. That performance wasn't one of his best, but this later one comes off worse: it is very slow at 61 min. (Kubelik's famous account on DG takes 50 min., Abbado with the Berlin Phil. 54 min.), and the extra time isn't used expressively. Instead, Tennstedt stamps heavily on the phrasing--The Gramophone calls the approach earthy and headstrong--allowing for not a bit of charm or light-heartedness, I would add. The result is heavy going, and I lost interest long before the end. The CSO plays brilliantly, giving us moments of virtuosic amazement, but that's not enough to carry a performance that remains earthbound almost from beginning to end.
P.S. -- After writing this review I came upon another live reading of the Mahler First under Tennstedt. This one is on the Italian pirate label, Memories, which Amazon doesn't sell. It dates from 1977 in Hamburg and is in surprisingly good stereo, the equal of many studio accounts. We find Tennstedt conducting with more flexibility and relaxed nuance than in either of his EMI versions. Yet total timing is considerably faster at 52+ min. For me, it's the one to have, even if the NDR orchestra can't equal the Chicagoans in technical execution."