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Mahler: Symphony No. 4

Fritz Reiner Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 22.98
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1. Bedachtig. Nicht Eilen
2. In Gemachlicher Bewegung. Ohne Hast
3. Ruhevoll
4. Sehr Behaglich

Product Description

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Mahler's Fourth and Das Lied von der Erde were Reiner's only Mahler recordings with the Chicago Symphony, and both are reminders of his orchestral wizardry and his prowess as a Mahlerian. Tempos are on the swift side for a piece many conductors like to linger over, but the forward flow doesn't obscure telling details. Reiner gives the slow movement a chaste solemnity, and the final heavenly vision is beautifully sung by the creamy voiced Della Casa. This Mahler's Fourth falls closer to Boulez's objectivity than to Bernstein's emotionalism and remains today what it was when recorded--one of the best Mahler Fourths in the catalog. It's also one of the best-sounding, as RCA's Living Stereo engineering holds its own even after 40 years. --Dan Davis

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A notable rarity Nov. 13 2000
Format:Audio CD
It's a real shame that Fritz Reiner only made two Mahler recordings (he and the CSO also did a fine Das Lied von der Erde). Throughout this account, it is clear that the Hungarian maestro had a great feel for the idiom, conducting the first two movements with character, well-placed glissandi, and wit. Also praiseworthy is the playing of the Chicago Symphony in this, their first Mahler recording. Despite the trumpets' tendencies to blast, it is evident that they were a Mahler orchestra of the first rank even in 1959. Although this is one of the quickest Fourth's on record, the recording never seems rushed. The second movement is a particular delight, the CSO demonstrating their ability to play "in between the notes" (to use a Stravinsky phrase). What keeps this performance just below the very best (a select and diverse group consisting of Szell, Previn, and Haitink) is Reiner's unwillingness to play the third movement with the requisite warmth and Della Casa's heavy-sounding soprano in the Finale (the playing gets a little raucous in this last movement as well). Still, the "Reiner Sound" is evident throughout as he makes much of the Mozartisms and Schubertisms that abound and shapes the melodic lines with elegance and authority. This recording is enthusiastically recommended to those who admire Reiner's work in Chicago, to those who do not cotton to some of the other recordings I've mentioned, and especially to those who yearn for a recording from a real "Master of the Baton" (are there any such conductors in existence today?).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Radiant Performance Overcomes Transfer June 26 2000
By D. Roth
Format:Audio CD
I agree with reviewer below-there is a low-frequncy rumble in track two. But honestly, I have played this disc five times since buying it without noticing the flaw. That's the agony of hi-fi-now that the hum has been detected by better ears than mine, I want to listen for it!
Still, nothing spoils the radiant sweetness of this quick but abidingly musical performance. The third movement opening phrases are in fact among the fastest I have heard, but the Chicago string players breath as one player, their lovely tone quality sounding from another generation despite the crisp articulation. In the final movement, the orchestra's clear but gentle delineation of detail creates a perfect accompaniment to Lisa della Casa. Others of Reiner's recordings ( his Beethoven 6th,Strauss Ein Heldenleben, Debussy La Mer) also contradict his severe appearance and image while still showing flawless preparation and execution.
Aside from the rumble, the sound is really beautiful-resonant with orchestral solos in clear perspecive and plenty of mass and power when Mahler's dynamic range opens up. So, test your concentration on track two to enjoy an unforgettable experience!
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5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best Dec 16 2002
Format:Audio CD
This is an excellent recording. Reiner conducts with both verve and sensitivity, the orchestral playing is first class, and the 20bit remastering makes this sound like a contemporary recording, apart from the tape hiss. In particular, I definitely prefer it to the much touted Szell because, while distinguished by beautiful orchestral playing, that interpretation is marred by too slow and careful sounding renditions of the first and last movements. The only qualifications I would offer is that some might find the Reiner orchestral sound too full of cutting edge briliance for such a mellow work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just one question.... May 4 2004
Format:Audio CD
I loved this recording as an lp -- my favorite stereo version, with Kletzki's Philharmonia recording a close second. I love it even more in this excellent sounding format. Now to the question: with Della Casa on hand for this recording, why-oh-why wasn't additional time setup up for her to re-record Strauss' Four Last Songs with Reiner/CSO? It would have made a great 4th side to the Das Lied Von Der Erde set that followed this symphony in the catalog.
One of many potentially great recordings that got away!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent 4th April 15 2001
By Ytzan
Format:Audio CD
Reiner direction is always minimal, letting the music speak for itself. The CSO is in great form and the singing from Lisa della Casa is amazing. A must for any Mahlerian...
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