Mahler

San Francisco Symphony (Tilson Thomas) – ‘Mahler: Symphony No.9’  An SACD review by Mark Jordan

San Francisco Symphony (Tilson Thomas) – ‘Mahler: Symphony No.9’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

What is a conductor? In a scientific sense, a conductor is a material that transmits electricity. So, in some fundamental sense, the conductor of a symphony orchestra can be seen as transmitting energy. But what is this energy? Part of it is of course excitement and emotional commitment in a musical manner. Yet it should never be forgotten that the critical component of what a musical conductor should be transmitting is the composer’s vision. On the first count, Michael Tilson Thomas brings a controlled, refined focus to this new hybrid SACD from San Francisco Symphony Media. On the latter count, though, I wonder if Tilson Thomas isn’t functioning more as an insulator, keeping Mahler’s blazing inspiration at a safe distance. read more…

Philharmonia Orchestra (Zander) – ‘Mahler: Symphony No.1 in D major, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen’  An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Philharmonia Orchestra (Zander) – ‘Mahler: Symphony No.1 in D major, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Benjamin Zander returns with another distinguished contribution to his Telarc Mahler cycle, albeit one with less blazing conviction than his ‘Third’, ‘Sixth’, or ‘Ninth’. Initially, the concept of a Zander Mahler traversal may have appeared less enticing than a Michael Tilson Thomas cycle (at least to those not familiar with Zander). In the event, however, the Zander cycle has moved from strength to strength while the Tilson Thomas cycle, after an impressive start, has descended into the realm of sleek technical fetish. Zander, conversely, remains devoted to the emotional impact of Mahler, though this recording finds him more reserved than one might expect… or is it just the mix? read more…

Utah Symphony Orchestra (Abravanel) – ‘Mahler: Symphony No.2, Resurrection’ A DVD-Audio review by Chris Salocks

The first thing you notice about the MLP multi-channel version of this 1967 recording, especially in comparison to just about any other recording of the ‘Resurrection, is the vast space around the musicians, both front-to-back and side-to-side. read more…

San Francisco Symphony (Tilson Thomas) – ‘Mahler: Symphony No.4’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

There are two main roads that conductors of Mahler’s ‘Symphony No.4’ tend to travel. One is more strictly classical and focused, with a narrow range of tempos and a smooth flow from one section to the next. read more…

Philharmonia Orchestra (Zander) – ‘Mahler: Symphony No. 3 in D minor’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Now this is the real thing. Here is a disc to remind classical lovers why we got so passionately attached to music in the first place. Mind you, this is not to say that this new hybrid SACD from Telarc will be welcomed in all corners… Let us save Benjamin Zander’s detractors the trouble of writing another clucking review by writing it for them: “Though Zander is a committed Mahlerian, his performance of the ‘Third’ misses the long line of the piece, breaking down into a series of dramatic episodes without an overlying architecture. read more…

Classic Records Release First 192kHz ‘HDAD’ Discs

Classic Records have begun releasing a series of 192kHz 24-bit ‘HDAD’ discs, the titles use both DVD-Audio and DVD-Video technologies to their fullest to deliver two-channel high-resolution versions of renown performances from artists such as Alan Parsons, the Utah Symphony Orchestra and Netania Davrath. read more…

Philharmonia Orchestra (Zander) – ‘Mahler: Symphony No. 6 in A Minor, “Tragic”’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

One of the most fascinating happenings in classical music in the last 50 years has been the gradual rise in popularity of the composer Gustav Mahler. As late as the mid-twentieth century, he was regularly dismissed by critics as an extreme eccentric. read more…

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