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|Mahler, Simon Rattle, Emi Masters|
Symphony No 5
'Rattle brings a real sense of structural cohesion and an opposite lightness of touch to passages routinely overweighted in the great performances of the past. The finale, deft, vigorous and full of joy, is sure to impress... more »
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'Rattle brings a real sense of structural cohesion and an opposite lightness of touch to passages routinely overweighted in the great performances of the past. The finale, deft, vigorous and full of joy, is sure to impress.' Gramophone Magazine Sir Simon Rattle rose to international prominence as conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and since 2002 has been principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. Born in Liverpool, Rattle studied piano and violin, and his early work with orchestras was as a percussionist. His time with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 1980 to 1998 drew him to the attention of critics and the public. Rattle increased both his profile and that of the orchestra over his tenure. Rattle made his conducting debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1987, and in 1999, he was appointed as successor to Claudio Abbado as the orchestra's principal conductor. The recordings of Sir Simon Rattle's cycle of the Mahler Symphonies commenced in 1986 with the Second Symphony and was completed in 2002 with the Fifth. During that time Sir Simon's period as chief conductor of the CBSO came to an end and he took up his current position with the Berlin Philharmonic. Rattle's Mahler interpretations are widely acknowledged by huge, worldwide critical acclaim and many of these recordings are among the best available versions. Indeed, most of them have received awards from some of the world's most prestigious music publications and organisations, among them Gramophone in the UK; Diapason in France, Grammy in the US as well as awards from Germany, the Netherlands, Canada and the Czech Republic. The Fifth is markedly different from its predecessors. Mahler's capacity for renewal is astonishing and no two symphonies are alike, and hardly any of the fifty movements within those symphonies follow the same pattern. The Fifth is purely instrumental and it follows a largely conventional symphonic shape. EMI MASTERS celebrates the full glory of the greatest performances from the world's greatest catalogue of recorded music. Digitally remastered at Abbey Road Studios direct from the original master tapes, these classic recordings emerge with unparalleled immediacy. You will be left in no doubt that you are in the presence of legendary musicians and ageless interpretations.
Among the Best Mahler Fifths
D. A Wend | Buffalo Grove, IL USA | 06/10/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recently, I have been reading about the first performances of Gustav Mahler's Fifth Symphony during 1904 and 05. His earlier symphonies were winning some acclaim but the Fifth was radical music and was accordingly dismissed by the majority of critics. Several critics said they could never hope to understand the music without a program. The Fifth marks a point of transformation from the symphonies of the 19th century to the 20th.
This recording by Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic is a reissue of the 2002 original recording. The original recording was criticized for the horns sounding too distant, especially in the second movement. This has not changed in this "remastered" recording. But Simon Rattle adopted Mahler's practice of moving the solo horn player in the Scherzo to the front of the orchestra, which makes all the difference. What is very striking in this recording is how the movements flow together, particularly the first and second that makeup the first half of the symphony. The difficult Scherzo is beautifully played bringing to the music as much thought and excitement as I have heard. The Adagietto is played closer to the tempo that Mahler preferred. Many recordings of the Fifth milk the music for its romantic mood and extend the tempo to the extreme. Bruno Walter's recording with the New York Philharmonic lasts under 8 minutes; Simon Rattle adopts a moderate tempo at nine and a half minutes. The Finale is expressively played, bringing out the joyous and exuberant nature of the music.
Simon Rattle's recording with the Berlin Philharmonic is among the top performances of Mahler's Fifth. It is not a perfect recording (if one can be said to exist) but has vibrant tempi and allows the details of the orchestration to shine. This CD is an OpenDisc, which can be inserted into a computer to access bonus material.