Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mahler, Maazel, Vpo|
A flat-footed Eighth, but then there's the Vienna factor
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 10/19/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"You can buy two other Mahler Eighths with the Vienna Phil., one under Leonard Bernstein that completed his Mahler cycle after he died by the use of a radio tape that is fairly slapdash. This, however, is the best-sounding account on disc, and that gives pause. Maazel is often a slack, indifferent Mahelr conductor, and he's predictably flat-footed in the glorious outburst of Veni, Creator spiritus, in the first movement. Even so, has there ever been more entrhalling playing and singing from the massed Vienna forces? NOt that I have ever heard.
In a way, hearing the Eighth slowed down and without Solti's razor-edge propulsion is rather appealing. Part Two will always be the tricky part of the Eighth, becasue Mahler's writing can be thin and episodic -- I think you have to have Goethe in your blood, as he did, to fully appreciate his Faust setting. Maazel proceeds deliberately, which isn't the right idea, but once again the execution by the orchestra rivets your attention (I wish Boulez had used these forces for his recent Eighth). The eight vocal soloists are variable, with too much shouting from the bass, Simon Estes, but none are less than good. The professional choral forces, abetted by the Vienna Choirboys, are exceptional.
It all comes down to how fervent you are about the Vienna Phil., who are such a pleasure that they (almost) efface Maazel's dullness.