Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A harrowing Mahler Fifth for a harrowing century
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 08/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with "Mahlernut" that this performance of the Mahler Fifth is harrowing and disturbing; one can't escape the fact that the condcutor, Rudolf Schwarz, was a concentration camp survivor. Mahler's death preceded the mass horrors of the twentieth century, but he seems to have memorialized them here: this performance cries out with anguish, foreboding, and grim eloquence. Recorded on half-inch tape in 1959, it boasts sonics that have terrific impact, particularly in the bass, and almost no glare on top.
Schwarz takes the first movement in 12:51, within seconds of Karajan's famous reading, but he makes a greater contrast between the opening funeral march, which is quiet, slow, and grave, and the later eruptions, which scream out and make the listener's heart rush. The same emotional contrast is employed throughout, and I can't help but feel that we are hearing true Mahler. The LSO plays very well, but they fall short of the supreme virtuosity to be heard from the Berlin Phil. under both Abbado and Karajan--it hardly matters, though, given Schwarz'a riveting conducting.
The main point of controversy comes in the Adagietto, taken as an Andante, much quicker than usual. At 7:31, it looks very fast on paper compared to the usual timing of 9-11 min., but Schwarz upholds his decision with eloquence, and despite the quicker pace, he sets a mournful rather than elegaic tone. The finale feels a litle retarded in tempo but is full of color and charm. So much so, in fact, that Schwarz solves this difficult movement better than almost anyone else I've ever heard.
In al, this is a highly personal reading that anyone would be justified calling a top choice. At the very least it's one of the great Mahler Fifths on record."
A curious and meritorious achievement!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 07/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
With the Fifth Symphony Gustav Mahler returns to what I would design his mundane conflicts, after the First Symphony. The Second, Third and Fourth symphonies constitute each one by itself, a determined level of concernment; the Second has to do with Resurrection and redemption, the Third is an Ode to nature of marked Pantheist character while the Fourth works out as a clear journey into the memory' s labyrinths, and clear reminiscences to maternal matrix.
In this sense this Symphony became a visible breakthrough because describes the real struggles and conflicts of the contemporary man again the death; he is far to solve this duel, he ensures through thematic and motivic connections between movements. Obviously the Pastoral and festive character of the Scherzo - as most of composers use it - works out as an evasion device a rest in the battle, as a child who seeks refugee into the attic of his home to evade the terrible exterior weather. You may realize for instance, Tchaikovsky makes exactly the same specially in his three last Symphonies, while Beethoven employs the scherzo form as the other side of Prometheus.
But what it' most relevant to remark is the constant change of tonal patterns, and the fact of confer a polyphonic character of individual parts inside the Orchestra, revealing perhaps Mahler embodied the whole mankind, wishing to signify the existential anguish has no nationalities.
That's why in the end Mahler returns to overcome all the difficulties and to declare the man will be able to surpass any obstacle, cleared in this enormous and colossal double fugue and choral that leads up to an exhilarating finish.
Rudolf was not always a consummated Mahlerian conductor, although visibly missed and underrated at the moment to make a fair account around the most expressive and top directors in this field. There are several reasons that support that fact; Schwarz was always a low profile director; he did not cultivate the art of the public relationships and besides he was strictly known in East Europe. His brief incursions with Western Orchestras, made of him practically unknown in North America; on the other hand the presence of giants of the stature of Jasha Horenstein, Bruno Walter, Dimitri Mitropoulus, Hermann Scherchen and Charles Adler literally cornered many other conductors as Jean Martinon, Vaclav Neumann, Erich Leinsdorff or in the musical stages.
It would be quite interesting to pay attention to his approach, because of the fact the ambitious complexity of a composer, the more you need a major number of valid and possible approaches.
Cries out for a new incarnation!
L. Johan Modée | Earth | 07/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD contains one of the very best recordings of Mahler's fifth symphony. It is a shame that it is not available in a new remastering.
Rudolf Schwarz is not widely known today. But at the end of the 1950s, Schwarz was Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. And this recording shows what an excellent Mahler conductor he was.
It is a powerful performance, remarkably balanced. For example, the adagietto is perfectly paced.
London Symphony Orchestra was not, however, in their best shape. And the recorded sound is somewhat dated. But these are minor quibbles.
Grab it if you can find it.