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Similarly Requested CDs
Macabre Mahler...and Levine
Moldyoldie | Motown, USA | 05/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was up at around three this morning and decided to put myself at the mercy of Mahler and his "Song of the Night" symphony. This recording was my sole experience with this work for over twenty years, and then only playing it every few years. The Mahlerian idiom, especially in his thornier works such as this, has since become more familiar and accomodating to my sensibilities. I've read where on balance this is probably the least favorite symphony among Mahlerites; this morning I found it to be an absolute delight! Levine doesn't pussyfoot around and drives the orchestra headlong into the thickets with both confidence and clarity. The recording is vivid and close-up, but not necessarily in-your-face. There was some obvious orchestral spotlighting, however it didn't seem obtrusive in this macabre setting. Oddities such as backward balanced winds and strange timbres only add to the charms. When was the last time you've heard a guitar and mandolin in an orchestral setting? And yes, I got a kick out of the Star Trek theme in the first movement. Fun stuff, this!"
An exciting, extroverted Mahler Seventh with Solti's orchest
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 10/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"During his reign at the Chicago Sym., Georg Solti created a sensation with hard-driving, blockbuster performances of Mahler that eschewed subtlety and went for the jugular. Twenty years later, most of those readings feel too aggressive and one-dimensional. Here we have James levine in 1982 applying the Chicago style, so to speak, but to very different effect. The symphony sitll osunds like a blockbuster--very different from Abbado's detailed, refined view--but the excitement isn't vulgar or overpowering.
For him the Mahler Seventh is not a problem symphony: like Solti, Levine pulnges straight in, irons out the enigmas, pushes the melodic line confidenlty, and thanks to the engineers, eveyrthing is caught in extroverted, up-front sound. The young Levine has lots of musical ideas that aren't imitations of Bernstein's, Klemperer's, or anyone else's. His timings aren't really faster than the norm, but he keeps the voltage high, and one senses a troubled, manic, driven Mahler who is tying us up in his musical contradictions much as he himself was tied up. Fascinating."