Viennese Mahler, Recorded 'Live'
T. Beers | Arlington, Virginia United States | 03/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most of the reviews I've seen pan this recording as dull and badly played. I don't agree. Leinsdorf was a classicist, and his Mahler performances always strike some people as too cautious and studied while others find them balanced and mature. I guess I fall into the second category. Although I don't associate Leinsdorf with Viennese charm (in spite of the fact that he was Vienna born and bred), that's exactly what I hear throughout this marvelously well-integrated performance. It's almost as if, on this one occasion, Leinsdorf decided to try to find the Schubert in one of Mahler's knottiest scores. I find it fully persuasive, but certainly not the only way to play the music. Note: this is a live performance with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, recorded in very good digital sound in 1983. It is not a re-issue of Leinsdorf's Boston Symphony studio performance recorded by RCA in 1965-66. The RCA (never reissued, unfortunately) is a much tougher performance conceptually and better played. (There are some executive glitches in Munich that are par for the course in a live performance of music as taxing as this. They're not distracting.) Anyway, given recent cutbacks at BMG don't hold your breath waiting for a reissue of Leinsdorf/Boston. Just thank Orfeo for issuing this fine memorial to Leinsdorf's later career."
Virginia Opera Fan | Falls Church, VA USA | 09/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mahler's most formally classical symphony brought out the best in Leinsdorf's style. Orfeo deserves our thanks for making this concert performance from Leinsdorf's late career available in beautiful digital sound. Yes, there are typical live performance clams from the orchestra but they are secondary to Leinsdorf's balanced conception of the work. The performance of the Andante, one of Mahler's greatest inspirations, is a particular highlight. If there is anything to quibble about, it's the omission of Mahler's indicated first movement exposition repeat. The Bavarian orchestra is not the virtuoso instrument that Maestro Leinsdorf had available in the Boston Symphony for his RCA studio effort. While I prefer the studio effort to this concert performance, BMG/RCA has never released it on CD domestically. I have a copy of the Japanese RCA Red Seal Vintage issue but I suspect is is now hard to find and likely expensive. The first movement repeat is missing in the RCA recording as well. My advice is to pick up a copy of this Orfeo recording while you can. It is a worthy souvenir of a currently undervalued conductor."