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R. C. Ross (Birmingham)
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Mahler: Sinfonie Nr. 10
Mahler: Sinfonie Nr. 10
Preis: EUR 19,31

3 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Re-newed Thanks to Deryck Cooke!, 4. Januar 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Mahler: Sinfonie Nr. 10 (Audio CD)
The overwhelming response generated by Zinman's performance is gratitude: gratitude to the late Deryck Cooke for his sensitive restraint in preparing his 'performing edition' of this sublime - and in some senses paradoxically most emotionally complete - Mahler symphony.

This `completion' by Clinton A. Carpenter (a hubristic claim if ever!), when heard in the context of Cooke's `performing edition', seems misconceived and, rather than being at the service of a fuller understanding of Mahler's intentions, conspires to bewilder. Matters are not helped in this respect by the confused and confusing liner notes. (For a reliable guide to the work read Michael Kennedy's analysis together with Cooke's own.)

This whole enterprise is over-elaborate, too heavily embroidered. It is as if the arranger is afraid to let the music stand in the simplicity of its own sublime beauty. Whatever sublimity survives in the gentle tides of peace that move the work to its close are wholly due to the transcendence of Mahler's most inspired score.

There is no gainsaying the fact that there are fascinating strokes of imaginative colouring, most impressively heard in the deep sonorities of the introduction of the fifth movement (although the muffled drum strokes are surely too remote to register as they must - and I'm not pleading for Rattle's earth-quaking explosions!).

One devise used in this version (to fill out textures) is the introduction of `jig-saw pieces' from other Mahler symphonies. This is a huge miscalculation, serving only to subvert the symphony's inner logic, displacing the work within Mahler's sequence. Snatches of the Sixth, the Seventh, etc. become a grotesquely misplaced `spot the tune'. The relative sparseness of the textures in Cooke's version place the symphony in the company of the finales of the Song of the Earth and the Ninth symphony.

Throughout Zinman's recording one is aware of the arranger thinking and re-thinking his ideas - all is too contrived, far too pernickety. Nowhere is this more obvious or more damaging to the purpose and intent of the symphony than in the ruinous treatment of the finale's sublime flute solo. This aberration of scoring is rendered even worse in its effect by playing that (here) is incomprehensibly bland and conducted at an insensitively rushed tempo. What a travesty!

Tragically this episode is symbolic of the interventionist manner pervading both the edition used and the manner of Zinman's response. The purpose, the inner logic of this wonderfully crafted movement is dissected and negated. The performance seems an exercise in deconstruction: a thread is pulled and the whole fabric disintegrates.

With Cooke's performing version lying at hand it is almost an act of perverse non-conformity to opt for any alternative.

Still we wonder: what Mahler would have left had been allowed time enough!

More satisfactory alternatives? Rattle, Levine, Ormandy and, crying out for re-issue, the not to be forgotten performance from Wyn Morris.


Mahler: Symphonien Nr. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 & 10
Mahler: Symphonien Nr. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 & 10
Preis: EUR 24,72

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Front Rank Mahler!, 2. Januar 2011
In his review for the Gramophone some years ago of Levine's recording of the sixth symphony, RO (Richard Osborne) was scathingly dismissive of Levine's manner with the piece. In particular, he complained that Levine's way with the slow movement of the sixth `veers between fine balances, blandness, saccharine sentimentality and unmitigated uproar'. I cannot imagine why RO felt it to be so!

May we take a look at this reissue from three perspectives? Firstly, the recording quality throughout is superb. To me it is mildly ridiculous to complain, as does Osborne, that a `fourth horn is weak at bar so-and-so', etc. These recordings are all remarkable for their superb clarity and balance. Detail is thrillingly present without being spot-lit exaggeratedly (as is sadly often the case in Bernstein's CBS set). For faithfulness to the depths and heights, the whispers and thunderings of a Mahlerian orchestral sound these recordings are exemplary.

Second, the standard of orchestral playing is breathtakingly accomplished. Throughout this long symphony the orchestra (the LSO) perform with a consummate degree of concentration, individual phrasing, tone and colour. And the same can be said of all the orchestras that feature in this set - a testimony to Levine's excellence on the podium.

Thirdly, Levine's greatly impressive conducting. Osborne dismisses Levine's reading as `a trifle naive', a naivety that, he suggest, is the `product of a generation which has known neither war nor cultural collapse'. That is a strange, and highly contentious, remark, all the more so in view of the fact that Osborne has in his review already quoted Bernstein's remark that `ours is the century of death and Mahler is its musical prophet' - the century to which, of course, Levine belongs as much as any of his contempories!

It is enough to say that there are few, very few, recordings of this tremendous symphony that are more complete in their precision, sensitivity and power. Levine achieves a rare and greatly desirable paradox: a reading that is penetratingly and eloquently objective while being also and in equal measure profoundly responsive and personal.

A few years after Osborne's review of the sixth, Michael Kennedy reviewed (also in the Gramophone) Levine's recording of the fifth; MK voiced a far more mature and reliable judgement:

`I am not sure that James Levine's Mahler is appreciated so fully as it ought to be. His recording of Symphony No. 7, perhaps the most difficult of the set to bring off, is a magnificent achievement and some might think that he is superior in the finale even to Abbado.... This No.5 is first-rate in every respect. ...the playing of the Philadelphia Orchestra (particularly its brass and woodwind soloists) is truly amazing and the recording is bright, warm and well-balanced.'

MK's response in his review of Levine's recording of the ninth is similar:

`For reasons never quite clear to me, some Mahlerians tear their hair when confronted with Levine's performances. He is often a whippingboy for the American critics, apparently, but no serious listener could deny the strength and integrity of his music-making. This is an impressive account of the Ninth Symphony, an interpretation which eschews self-pitying whining and stresses the courageous, positive elements of the symphony.

While that doyen of Mahlerians, Deryck Cooke, refers to Levine's conducting (in this instance of the fourth) in these terms:

`James Levine is a true Mahler conductor. He really cares about all those multifarious tempo and expressive markings, and follows them in an entirely natural, unfussy manner, so that the feeling of the music is enhanced in the way one feels Mahler intended it to be.

`...Levine can be seriously considered on the level of the two conductors who have hitherto led the field where the Mahler Fourth Symphony is concerned--Kletzki (HMV Concert Classics) and Szell (CBS Classics). His performance is a really beautiful one, which explores the depths as well as the charms of this work, especially in the slow movement, which is quite remarkable. ... The recording is one of great clarity....'

I have quoted these comments to redress a popular misconception. For many years I was persuaded, by the negative attitudes of reviews like Osborne, to dismiss Levine's Mahler as sub-standard. That was my mistake - and what a mistake!

This set (at an almost unbelievably low price) is decidedly of the front rank. I cannot imagine anyone who loves the music of Mahler being other than delighted and grateful. Very strongly recommended.


Beethoven: Masses 3-CD
Beethoven: Masses 3-CD
Wird angeboten von MUSIK-PARTNER-DE
Preis: EUR 19,99

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Gratias agimus tibi !..., 28. November 2010
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Beethoven: Masses 3-CD (Audio CD)
Although, ultimately, such a claim is futile (what categories do we have to assess these questions?) it has been frequently argued that Bach's B minor Mass and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis are the two supreme peaks of all music. That is, in itself, of considerable interest. I mean that these two works, settings of the essence of the Christian faith, are prime contenders for this (specious) honour. Is not that fact alone some sort of palpable proof that `the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of... Christ'?

If the proposition, that these two works are supreme, is accepted (for all its pointlessness - I mean, who are we likely to convince not already convinced?) then I believe Beethoven's Missa to be is the greater. The simple fact that Bach's B minor Mass is, to a very large degree, a utilisation of previously composed music, music composed to texts other than the Mass, carries an implication that Beethoven's work is the greater. Greater, that is, being a more direct, subtle, psychologically, spiritually and theologically sensitive exposition of the text. The miracle, and miracle it undoubtedly is, is that Bach's B minor Mass is such a prodigy of musical and spiritual integrity.

Until recently I would have suggested that Klemperer's performance with the New Philharmonia was the supreme recorded version of the Missa Solemnis. I have known, loved and lived with that version since it was released and it has claimed my attention beyond all others - an account that possesses an innate truthfulness that few, if any, in my experience, rival let alone surpass.

Then, very recently (and far too late) I have been privileged to listen to Giulini's recording (with the London Philiharmonic, Heather Harper, Janet Baker, Robert Tear, Hans Sotin and the New Philharmonia Chorus). Giulini directs a performance that is magnificent and sublime.

From the opening orchestral phrases the performance is informed by a profound sense of understanding and commitment. The Missa Solemnis contains (you might almost say, consists of) a secession of seemingly desperate, inchoate ideas. The connecting thread is the text and the inchoate nature of the piece is itself an acknowledgement of the reality the text expresses, the incomprehensible transcendence of the the truths in the text. The particular genius of Giulini's performance is that it is a thoroughly integrated whole. Not by imposing an 'order' on the work but by a profound insight into both the musical and the theological texts. The whole work flows like liquid gold; the most testing transitions are woven with exquisite sensitivity into a seamless robe. Climactic moments are realised with overpowering majesty or terror, as the case requires. Passages of hushed awe conveyed with intense reverence, where all is suspended in a stasis of breathless devotion. The entire work is illuminated by Giulini's consummate comprehension of and identification with the score in its depths and breadth. If ever it was true that `our end is in our beginnings' it is true here.

The ideally focused recording permits the precise articulation of soloists and choir to carry the text with clarity and precision. Equally, the orchestra is presented with a naturally warm tone and balance. The dynamic range is impressive: from the mere whisperings of the Et Incarnatus...' and Sanctus, to the blazing affirmations of the Gloria and `Et resurrexit..'. The recorded balance, dynamic range and tonal truthfulness are aspects where, as a recording (as opposed to a performance) Giulini's version is far superior to Klemperer's.

As a performance I would suggest that Guilini's more `finished' manner is possibly closer to the score than Klemperer's `rough hewn' style. What I mean here is that Guilini's polished granite seems to follow better the contours of Beethoven's blueprint, Beethoven's meticulously composed score; whereas Klemperer's rugged chisel-etched sculpture, mightily impressive as it is, represents a style not wholly congruent with Beethoven's astute, immeasurably painstaking and minute attention to even the smallest detail in his score.

Be that as it may, listening to Guilini's version, after some fifty years of listening to a succession of magnificent recordings of the Missa, has opened up to me previously unrecognised psychological, emotional and, above all, theological aspects of this peerless composition.
Kommentar Kommentar (1) | Kommentar als Link | Neuester Kommentar: May 3, 2011 3:28 AM MEST


Missa Solemnis
Missa Solemnis

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Gratias agimus tibi !..., 28. November 2010
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Missa Solemnis (Audio CD)
Although, ultimately, such a claim is futile (what categories do we have to assess these questions?) it has been frequently argued that Bach's B minor Mass and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis are the two supreme peaks of all music. That is, in itself, of considerable interest. I mean that these two works, settings of the essence of the Christian faith, are prime contenders for this (specious) honour. Is not that fact alone some sort of palpable proof that `the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of... Christ'?

If the proposition, that these two works are supreme, is accepted (for all its pointlessness - I mean, who are we likely to convince not already convinced?) then I believe Beethoven's Missa to be is the greater. The simple fact that Bach's B minor Mass is, to a very large degree, a utilisation of previously composed music, music composed to texts other than the Mass, carries an implication that Beethoven's work is the greater. Greater, that is, being a more direct, subtle, psychologically, spiritually and theologically sensitive exposition of the text. The miracle, and miracle it undoubtedly is, is that Bach's B minor Mass is such a prodigy of musical and spiritual integrity.

Until recently I would have suggested that Klemperer's performance with the New Philharmonia was the supreme recorded version of the Missa Solemnis. I have known, loved and lived with that version since it was released and it has claimed my attention beyond all others - an account that possesses an innate truthfulness that few, if any, in my experience, rival let alone surpass.

Then, very recently (and far too late) I have been privileged to listen to Giulini's recording (with the London Philiharmonic, Heather Harper, Janet Baker, Robert Tear, Hans Sotin and the New Philharmonia Chorus). Giulini directs a performance that is magnificent and sublime.

From the opening orchestral phrases the performance is informed by a profound sense of understanding and commitment. The Missa Solemnis contains (you might almost say, consists of) a secession of seemingly desperate, inchoate ideas. The connecting thread is the text and the inchoate nature of the piece is itself an acknowledgement of the reality the text expresses, the incomprehensible transcendence of the the truths in the text. The particular genius of Giulini's performance is that it is a thoroughly integrated whole. Not by imposing an 'order' on the work but by a profound insight into both the musical and the theological texts. The whole work flows like liquid gold; the most testing transitions are woven with exquisite sensitivity into a seamless robe. Climactic moments are realised with overpowering majesty or terror, as the case requires. Passages of hushed awe conveyed with intense reverence, where all is suspended in a stasis of breathless devotion. The entire work is illuminated by Giulini's consummate comprehension of and identification with the score in its depths and breadth. If ever it was true that `our end is in our beginnings' it is true here.

The ideally focused recording permits the precise articulation of soloists and choir to carry the text with clarity and precision. Equally, the orchestra is presented with a naturally warm tone and balance. The dynamic range is impressive: from the mere whisperings of the Et Incarnatus...' and Sanctus, to the blazing affirmations of the Gloria and `Et resurrexit..'. The recorded balance, dynamic range and tonal truthfulness are aspects where, as a recording (as opposed to a performance) Giulini's version is far superior to Klemperer's.

As a performance I would suggest that Guilini's more `finished' manner is possibly closer to the score than Klemperer's `rough hewn' style. What I mean here is that Guilini's polished granite seems to follow better the contours of Beethoven's blueprint, Beethoven's meticulously composed score; whereas Klemperer's rugged chisel-etched sculpture, mightily impressive as it is, represents a style not wholly congruent with Beethoven's astute, immeasurably painstaking and minute attention to even the smallest detail in his score.

Be that as it may, listening to Guilini's version, after some fifty years of listening to a succession of magnificent recordings of the Missa, has opened up to me previously unrecognised psychological, emotional and, above all, theological aspects of this peerless composition.


Missa Solemnis/Messe C-Dur
Missa Solemnis/Messe C-Dur
Preis: EUR 13,99

3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Gratias agimus tibi !..., 28. November 2010
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Missa Solemnis/Messe C-Dur (Audio CD)
Although, ultimately, such a claim is futile (what categories do we have to assess these questions?) it has been frequently argued that Bach's B minor Mass and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis are the two supreme peaks of all music. That is, in itself, of considerable interest. I mean that these two works, settings of the essence of the Christian faith, are prime contenders for this (specious) honour. Is not that fact alone some sort of palpable proof that `the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of... Christ'?

If the proposition, that these two works are supreme, is accepted (for all its pointlessness - I mean, who are we likely to convince not already convinced?) then I believe Beethoven's Missa to be is the greater. The simple fact that Bach's B minor Mass is, to a very large degree, a utilisation of previously composed music, music composed to texts other than the Mass, carries an implication that Beethoven's work is the greater. Greater, that is, being a more direct, subtle, psychologically, spiritually and theologically sensitive exposition of the text. The miracle, and miracle it undoubtedly is, is that Bach's B minor Mass is such a prodigy of musical and spiritual integrity.

Until recently I would have suggested that Klemperer's performance with the New Philharmonia was the supreme recorded version of the Missa Solemnis. I have known, loved and lived with that version since it was released and it has claimed my attention beyond all others - an account that possesses an innate truthfulness that few, if any, in my experience, rival let alone surpass.

Then, very recently (and far too late) I have been privileged to listen to Giulini's recording (with the London Philiharmonic, Heather Harper, Janet Baker, Robert Tear, Hans Sotin and the New Philharmonia Chorus). Giulini directs a performance that is magnificent and sublime.

From the opening orchestral phrases the performance is informed by a profound sense of understanding and commitment. The Missa Solemnis contains (you might almost say, consists of) a secession of seemingly desperate, inchoate ideas. The connecting thread is the text and the inchoate nature of the piece is itself an acknowledgement of the reality the text expresses, the incomprehensible transcendence of the the truths in the text. The particular genius of Giulini's performance is that it is a thoroughly integrated whole. Not by imposing an 'order' on the work but by a profound insight into both the musical and the theological texts. The whole work flows like liquid gold; the most testing transitions are woven with exquisite sensitivity into a seamless robe. Climactic moments are realised with overpowering majesty or terror, as the case requires. Passages of hushed awe conveyed with intense reverence, where all is suspended in a stasis of breathless devotion. The entire work is illuminated by Giulini's consummate comprehension of and identification with the score in its depths and breadth. If ever it was true that `our end is in our beginnings' it is true here.

The ideally focused recording permits the precise articulation of soloists and choir to carry the text with clarity and precision. Equally, the orchestra is presented with a naturally warm tone and balance. The dynamic range is impressive: from the mere whisperings of the Et Incarnatus...' and Sanctus, to the blazing affirmations of the Gloria and `Et resurrexit..'. The recorded balance, dynamic range and tonal truthfulness are aspects where, as a recording (as opposed to a performance) Giulini's version is far superior to Klemperer's.

As a performance I would suggest that Guilini's more `finished' manner is possibly closer to the score than Klemperer's `rough hewn' style. What I mean here is that Guilini's polished granite seems to follow better the contours of Beethoven's blueprint, Beethoven's meticulously composed score; whereas Klemperer's rugged chisel-etched sculpture, mightily impressive as it is, represents a style not wholly congruent with Beethoven's astute, immeasurably painstaking and minute attention to even the smallest detail in his score.

Be that as it may, listening to Guilini's version, after some fifty years of listening to a succession of magnificent recordings of the Missa, has opened up to me previously unrecognised psychological, emotional and, above all, theological aspects of this peerless composition.


Missa Solemnis
Missa Solemnis
Preis: EUR 8,99

2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Overblown Beethoven, 27. März 2004
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Missa Solemnis (Audio CD)
Big, brash and blowsy may suit Sousa but it sure does Beethoven no favours. The impression is more Missa Violentus than Missa Solemnis. The recording matches the performance, starkly aggressive, very much 'in your face' - the listener feels within a couple of steps of the choir and at an arms length from the soloists. With soloists as abrasive as this quartet can sound that is not a comfortable place to be. The orchestra is set some distance behind all this. But sadly the extra distance doesn't bring any greater subtlety. Judging by this performance Kenneth Schermerhorn doesn't 'do' subtlety or sensitivity. The approach is blatant, hectoring, hieratic. Even in the sublime 'Et incarnatus est' the manner is hasty and hollow. The whole approach radiates the ethos of neon lights, shiny chrome and the Broadway musical.
After a Kyrie that moves with the gait of an overweight alligator (over ten minuets, Klemperer takes less than nine and a half, Zinman less than eight) it was predictable that the Gloria would bound from the traps with all the eagerness of a rodeo mustang. It does. But it's not only ill-judged pacing that is the problem with this disappointing recording, it's also the unsympathetic dynamic balance and an unremitting impression that as this is a great work it must go with great volume and great insistence. But they are no substitute for the depths of insight and vision that inform the very different approaches of the equally inexpensive performances of David Zinmann (Arte Nova), Michael Gielen (Point Classics) and Eugene Ormandy (Sony) or, for a few pounds more, Klemperer's (EMI) magisterial recording.


Missa Solemnis
Missa Solemnis
Preis: EUR 11,99

20 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Peerless, 13. Februar 2003
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Missa Solemnis (Audio CD)
Let's not mince words. Towering, monumental, magisterial, noble - peerless. In this case there is little point in analytical dissection. This recording is a 'gestalt', the whole exceeding the greatness of it parts. And this is greatness. An extraordinary symbiosis between composer/conductor. A performance that gloriously achieves the desideratum of providing a genuine objective correlative to Beethoven's superscript-'From the heart - may it return to the heart!' Making the only appropriate response that of the Gramophone reviewer-'Heartfelt thanks!...'


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