Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
L. Johan Modée | Earth | 09/02/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Shipway's interpretation of Mahler's fifth symphony is superb indeed. The orchestra is in top form, Shipway's grasp of the symphony is quite impressive, and recording quality cannot be better than this. In addition, you will get it for almost no price at all.
However, the problem with this recording is the fourth movement. It is too slow: far beyond 10 minutes. One falls into sleep before the finale. Or perhaps the interpretation can attract meditating New Age people, who usually love music with lack of pace. But this is not how the movement should be performed: go for example to Bruno Walter's 1947 mono take with NYPO (SONY) for a lesson in Mahler exegesis. Rudolf Barshai's interpretation on Laurel records is in the same league.
Nonetheless, for the rest of this symphony, you need to consider Shipway as a serious contender to the very best."
A real sleeper - a superlative Mahler 5
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 02/09/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This superb disc is one of a projected series of supposedly an eventual 150 super-bargain recordings to be made by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under contract with the Tring label. I don't think they got that far and the discs that were recorded are now discontinued and available only on Amazon Marketplace, but they were made by the RPO in their finest form under some distinguished conductors, and there are some real treasures to be discovered amongst those extant - this one above all.
First, regardless of interpretation and performance, the sound is stunning: huge dynamic range but perfectly audible at the quiet end; absolute clarity and a real concert hall ambience (it was made in the magnificent acoustic of the Watford Colosseum). But the conducting and playing, too, are stupendous, especially the brass and horns, so vital to the chorale at the end of the second movement. Frank Shipway should be better known; he is certainly a real Mahlerian, wholly attuned to the sounds of nature underpinnng Mahler's sound world and successfully balancing the potential incongruities between the delicate introspection and defiant bombast which characterise Mahler's expression. The composer's subtle orchestration (well; subtle once he had scored through half the timpani and deleted the side-drum part, following a less than successful first performance in Cologne in 1904) is lovingly realised and Shipway's attention to dynamics is particularly telling. The violence of the thematic reprise in the second movements, the rapt intensity of the Adagietto (Shipway even indulging in some very discreet Barbirolli groaning, perhaps in unconscious homage to that famous exponent of this symphony) and the exuberance of the finale are all ideally recreated.
This is one of those bargains which are not too good to be true and it belongs in the collection of every Mahler lover. My thanks to the Santa Fe listener for alerting me to its existence."
A must-listen from an unlikely source
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 02/05/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We collectors fool ourselves when a great recording makes us say, "I'll never need to own another one." Shipway's Mahler Fifth is like that. While listening to it, I indulged in the pleasant self-deception that all my other versions can now be discarded. It's rare for a conductor to connect so completely with a work of music, all the more startling when it's someone as unknown as Shipway, who apparently has chosen not to pursue a major international career. On the strength of this recording, he certainly could. The highlight is the turbulent second movement, a showpiece in the hands of Karajan, Abbado, and Bernstein, as well as a cause for stormy emotionality. Shipway beats the big names at their own game with a reading that hypnotically rocks between dramatic suspense and emotional release -- you can't tear your attention away for a second.
The succeeding Scherzo is just as riveting and features the same mesmerizing contrast of light and shade. Clearly Shipway wants to bring out this facet of Mahler's idiom, so to counter the sunny mood of the finale, he gives us a very slow (12:36) Adagietto. I disagree with any reviewer who calls a tempo too slow or too fast -- the important thing is how convincing the tempo is within an overall conception. Shipway is entirely convincing to me. He has inspireed the Royal Phil. to give him their most committed playing; this is Mahler that takes risks. The orchestra went through a period of demonstration-quality recordings that went almost unnoticed in the U.S. -- this one daates from 1996 or 1999 (the information on the CD is unclear). Its range and intensity are as enormous as Shipway's conducting. There are few if any Mahler Fifths that sound as full, natural, and detailed.
I can't imagine a devotee of Mahler's music skipping this sensational performance"