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Mahler: Symphony No. 4 (SACD/CD HYBRID) [Hybrid SACD, Original recording remastered]

Fritz Reiner Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 8.79 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Mahler: Symphony No. 4 (SACD/CD HYBRID) + Dvorak: New World Symp,. Carnival Overture; Smetana: Batered Bride Overture + Sibelius, Prokofiev, Glazunov Violin Concertos
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WoW! Nov. 29 2007
By Christopher OBrien - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I am one to avoid expressions like superlative, quintessential, the best, ultimate and the like...but this reading of Mahler's 4th has astonished me. The texture and detail that Reiner with the CSO at his command is able to pull out of the score is unlike any other reading I have ever heard of this piece. Every instrumental component of the orchestra rings clear and the sound quality is stunning. It is hands above most modern readings in terms of audio quality alone and these guys were dealing with three strategically placed microphones. Not so bad if you ask me. Even if you have others in your collection, such as I, like Bernstein I / II, Gielen, Bertini, Tilson Thomas and on, you should add this to your collection without delay. It has revealed to me elements of the score and as such Mahler's compositional grammar that I was not aware of before. An absolute must for any self respecting Mahlerite.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Mahler Aug. 10 2007
By T. Schmalz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
One does not usually link Fritz Reiner with the music of Gustav Mahler; however, this recording, as well as the newly re-released "Das Lied von der Erde", is quite a surprise. The sound is spectacular and the level of interpretation is of the highest caliber. Lisa Della Casa's contribution is wonderful. All together, this is a glorious edition to RCA's Living Stereo Hybrid SACD series and well worth your money.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reiner Reveals Mahler's Other Fourth Symphony May 31 2012
By Duane M. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have always felt that the Fourth was the most problematic of all Mahler's symphonies. In competition with the First, many people regard it as being the most accessible of all his works because of its relative length and a seemingly more straightforward musical profile.

But it was the Fourth's allegedly more immediate musicality, what was supposed to be its more listener-friendly content and less demanding tonal landscapes that made it the most puzzling to me. When reckoned in such terms, just what was one to make, for example, of its dreamily rhythmic themes, the deliberate juxtaposition of the grotesque and the sublime, its sweet curtness and its rolling expansiveness? And whether one considers the final movement's setting of "Das Himmlische Leben" from "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" to be either inspired or aggravating only adds to a listener's vexation.

In response to the interpretive challenges posed by the work, most conductors appear to opt for the affectionate approach, emphasizing harmonious balance, textural transparency, and an overall cheerfulness of expression. Yet I could not shake the feeling that behind the Fourth Symphony's seemingly bucolic character there were more serious matters afoot, that Mahler--despite the fact that, unlike his two preceding symphonies, there was nothing overtly metaphysical about the Fourth--nevertheless intended the sunny waters of this work to run deep.

It was only recently that I finally listened to Fritz Reiner's 1958 recording of the Fourth, and I found that his reading corresponded to what I have long suspected about the work, namely, that, beneath its generally pleasant exterior, there is a meditative melancholy at work throughout: at times wistful, occasionally sardonically alive, at other times marked by a sense of longing if not outright resignation; in short, Mahler's congenitally brooding nature might be taking something of a break here, but it's not a sustained one.

Comparatively speaking, what characterizes Reiner's approach is his full-throttle display of orchestral detail (at points breathtaking transmitted by the RCA engineers); dynamic and tonal contrasts that do justice to Mahler's lighter instrumentation (without the chamber-orchestra sound some deem essential to this work's performance); and in general a more dramatic handling of the score that reveals just how hauntingly expressive this symphony is both emotionally and philosophically.

Strap on a good pair of headphones and listen to the deliciously aural division and detail crafted throughout: for instance, the way Reiner and the Chicagoans allow you to hear in any given movement (the final one is especially good for this) not only the different sections of the orchestra but also HOW they are arrayed together in his taut but telling handling. Some might find this approach unrelaxed if not strident, but if you let this performance work its magic and submit to this conductor's compelling logic, then you might feel like you're hearing what this symphony has always wanted to tell us.

I have other recordings of this work that I value (Mengelberg, Walter, Abravanel, Kubelik, Haitink, Klemperer, and Abbado--especially the latter two), but Reiner here reveals how Mahler's Fourth is a symphony as lightly serious as any of his others.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reiner leads the Chicago at the Birth of Stereo in Mahler's Wonderful Fourth Symphony Dec 12 2009
By Doug - Haydn Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Now over a half-century old - this Reiner led Chicago Symphony performance of the Mahler Symphony No. 4 was made at the beginning of Decmeber 1958 - we're now treated to a revisit to the original work in the high end SACD format. Reiner was a past master in the works of Richard Strauss, (See for example his shattering recordings of opera excerpts - Richard Strauss: Scenes from Salome & Elektra [Hybrid SACD] so it's a treat to hear Reiner's approach to Strauss's musical peer in probably the most accessible of the Mahler symphonies. Instrumental balances are very nicely judged, order is maintained in the most tumultuous sections, and much of the glamorous sound of the Chicago solo players emerges. Soprano Lisa della Casa does not let the side down in the last movement, and I thought Reiner did justice to most of the score, struggling only a bit when it came to clarifying the profoundly elegaic Andante. People often spoke of the Chicago Symphony under Reiner as the symphonic version of a fine wine - and the orchestra certainly does call up the height of luxury and distinction. While I cannot quite mark this down as an unforgettable performance, it IS an unforgettable opportunity to hear the spectacular Chicago Symphony of that Golden Era under agreat Straussian, Reiner, in such an excellently played and recorded historic performance of a Mahler symphony.

The much ballyhooed SACD sound definitely catches ones attention, with greater detailing and less of the glare heard in a previous version. Notes claim the original tapes were never subjected to any equalization, and I certainly am not going to argue. To my ear RCA made even better and more successful recordings of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra around this time. (See the above) In a couple moments of the Mahler the metal percussion instruments ting out far too harshly.

However, at this price Mahler buffs who like to compare different versions should feel free to indulge their fandom!

Note: For some reason Amazon has crossed over reviews of another modern performance of the Mahler with this reissue under Reiner and Chicago. I left Amazon a note and hopefully they'll fix the confusion.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Revelation Sept. 20 2012
By G. Lapidus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Genuinely amazing both sonically and performance-wise.

Reference System: OPPO 95 (with SACD), Counterpoint 3000 Preamp, 2200 Amp, Thiel 3.5 speakers.

With a library over several thousand CD's & DvD's this stands out as among the finest sounding and enjoyable performances. As many have said about these older living stereo recordings reissued and remastered in hybrid SACD, just wow; could have been recorded today in state of the art venues using such equipment. On many levels it's even better than that; how naturally analogue sounding and detailed the music is.

This particular CD is a must have for any who enjoy great classical music and appreciate excellent sound reproduction.

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