Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mahler, Berlioz, Mitropoulos|
Symphony 3 / Requiem
Listen to Samples
O Mensch, gib Acht! - Zu Mahlers Achtzigste
Thomas F. Bertonneau | Oswego, NY United States | 12/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"According to the uninformed tradition, the America's discovery of Gustav Mahler began with Leonard Bernstein and took place in the mid-1960s. Not so. The 1930s already saw some activity, with Ormandy in Minneapolis and Klemperer in Los Angeles (both played the Second with their respective symphony orchestras); indeed, Stokowski had given the Eighth in Philadelphia in 1916. Bruno Walter and Artur Rodzinski also advocated Mahler's cause, both of them making New York the primary seat of their activity. (Several broadcast recordings of "Das Lied von der Erde" attest to this.) Ormandy's replacement in Minneapolis, the Greek conductor Dmitri Mitropoulos, also pressed the Mahlerian cause and when he came to the New York Philharmonic in 1949 he continued to do so. Music and Arts has recently celebrated his devotion to the Mahlerian canon in a boxed set of Symphonies Nos. 1-9, and the Adagio of No. 10. Here, I address a 2CD set from Tahra of a broadcast recording of Mahler's Third that Mitopoulos made with the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra on 31 October 1960, just one day before his death, in Milan, while rehearsing the same work. Called by his biographer "the High Priest of Music," Mitropoulos, raised by two uncles in the Athos monastery and intended for the Orthodox clergy, became in later life, after studies in France and Germany, something of a Nietzschean. No wonder then that the Third appealed so directly to him, for it constitutes Mahler's paean to Nietzsche, whose works, particularly "The Birth of Tragedy" and "Thus Spake Zarathustra," supply the titles for the movements and the text of the Fourth Movement ("O Mensch, gib Acht!"). For Nietzsche, tragedy arises, in the Greek Archaic, out of the ecstatic, orgiastic rites of Dionysus and the Earth-Cult; during the "orgeia," the individual experiences release and rebirth through the shedding of his personality in the impersonality of a collective consciousness structured by rhythm and tone. The celebrant experiences the advent of the god in the bliss of his own wild dancing; it is a pure affirmation of life. Mahler picks up on Nietzsche's identification of the primitive Dionysus with the Arcadian god Pan - hence the title, "Pan Awakes," of the First Movement. Mitropoulos knew that this movement, the longest and most self-contained that Mahler wrote, could easily pass among listeners for a sequence of unrelated episodes and effects. How to reconcile, for example, the stentorian opening (horns) with the "village band" in full parade later on? Mitropoulos answers by treating nothing trivially, including the vulgar parade, but rather by representing the whole as the power of the god, announced straight away in the apocalyptic horns, and then pervading the aspects of existence. The parade might be plebeian, but it betokens life. Dionysus is the spirit of life unbounded. Hermann Scherchen played the Third this way (see his 1953 performance, also on Tahra) and so did Jascha Horenstein (Unicorn). Mitropoulos understands that the Third has a close relationship with the Second, mirroring it in peculiar ways. The vocal Fourth Movement of the Third, for example, mirrors the "Urlicht" of the Second, right down to the brass-band accompaniment. The master-tape, from the archives of Radio Cologne, is superb, although it lacks the stereophonic soundstage. No matter. Stereo has never been as important as high-fidelity, which the Cologne engineers supply in full. If you already own one or more modern recordings of Mahler's Third, then this would form an excellent supplement to your CD library. It might lead you, ultimately, to explore the Scherchen and Adler Thirds from the early 1950s, or to seek out Mitropoulos' Cologne performance of the Mahler Eighth (on Orfeo)."
No holds barred Mahler.
Jeffrey Lee | Asheville area, NC USA | 03/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bernstein(his first N.Y.Philharmonic version), Kubelik(DG) and Tennstedt(EMI) all present very fine accounts of the gargantuan Mahler Third Symphony. To those, I would add this valedictory performance by Mitropoulos, who demonstrates a gripping involvement with the music by projecting images in the most vivid fashion. This is particularly true of the seemingly primeval, mythical and mysterious side of the first movement, where he powerfully demonstrates there's not much room for prettiness or sentimentality. In "What the Animals Tell Me", he continues in straightforward fashion to underscore the darker aspect of Mahler's nature realm. It becomes obvious in his hands that what begins as innocence among the animals is quickly destined to become terrifying awareness and suspiciousness with the appearance in their midst of the creature known as man. Mitropoulos' final movement is warmly expressive, although, in terms of impressive sonic impact, it yields to Tennstedt's in large part because his version benefits from modern, well recorded stereo . Tahra's mono recording for Mitropoulos however is really a pretty good one. Interestingly, in the final chords, rather than ring out exultantly, Mitropoulos' interpretation seems to be saying, "So long for now, the story will resume later." The day after having completed this recording, the conductor suffered a massive heart attack while rehearsing the same Mahler Third in Milan. He passed away soon thereafter."