- Audio CD (Feb 13 2001)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Import
- Label: Universal Music Group
- ASIN: B000056ETV
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
|1. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Veni, creator spiritus|
|2. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Imple superna gratia|
|3. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Infirma nostri corporis|
|4. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Accende lumen sensibus|
|5. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Veni, creator spiritus|
|6. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Gloria sit Patri Domino|
|1. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Poco adagio - Waldung, sie schwankt heran (Chor und Echo)|
|2. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Ewiger Wonnebrand (Pater Ecstaticus)|
|3. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Wie Felsenabgrund mir zu Fuben (Pater Ecstaticus)|
|4. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Gerettet ist das edle Glied (Engel)|
|5. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Uns bleibt ein Erdenrest - Hier ist die Aussicht frei (Die vollendeteren Engel - Doctor Marianus, die jungeren Engel)|
|6. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Hochste Herrscherin der Welt (Doctor Marianus)|
|7. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Dir, der Unberuhrbaren (Chor)|
|8. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Bei der Liebe, die den Fuben (Magna Peccatrix)|
|9. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Neige, neige, du Ohnegleiche (Una Poenitentium, Gretchen)|
|10. Symphony No. 8 In E Flat Major 'Symphony Of A Thousand': Komm! Hebe dich (Mater Gloriosa)|
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Yes. The much-heralded richness of the Concertgebouw orchestra sound continues to delight and amaze, almost regardless of who stands at the helm as conductor in a particular recording. But in his free-wheeling approach to Mahler, my complaint is that Chailly appears to gloss over many of the ... admittedly painstaking... performance indications that Mahler actually took the trouble to write into the score. These multiple swells from extremely soft (ppp or pppp) to extremely loud (ff, even ffff), these micro-dynamics are often allied, to my ear, with the characteristic sense of Weltschmerz that marks the music.
Mahler, after all, grew up in a family headed by a physically limited mother and a drunk, physically abusive father. Several of the many siblings died before reaching adulthood. Mahler and his sister were so familiar with the rituals of death that they would light candles and play funeral. To fail to observe these markings, in my view, tends to deprive the music of one of its crucial, universal stylistic signatures. Romantically considered, this means that the core of nostalgia for childhood innocence, combined with the nearly universal betrayal and violation of that trust (which I hear as making Mahler so accessible, finally, to the 20th century)are lessened, just when they should be heightened. For this very reason, my favorite Mahler conductors have included Jascha Horenstein, and in Symphony 8, the great Wyn Morris recording above all.
Although I enjoy the CD pressing of this Mahler 8 when I listen to it --- you can hardly dare to attempt recording the eighth without having a stellar cast of players and singers, these days --- I am still frustrated by what I hear as Chailly's stylistic failure. Then, I got the multichannel, DVD-audio pressing of this recording. After all, I told myself, I love this music even if Chailly is not my favorite interpreter. WELL!
It certainly sounds better, both from a sheer auditory as well from a musical point of view. Finally, almost uniquely among currently available performances, you hear the full hall resounding. And when the hall is the justly lauded Concertgebouw Grote Zaal in Amsterdam, well hearing the hall is a considerable plus. Also, you can hear this wonderful orchestra in the hall, in something more like its full and particular glory.
This level of sound reproduction means that you can hear even more of the music than before. You can readily differentiate individual instrumental or vocal performers, while still reveling in the overall sound of everybody playing and singing together. I take it, in CD mastering, this sort of combination of detail and overall massive sound field is artfully managed as well as possible within the standard, 16-bit, stereo CD medium.
In DVD-audio, however, you finally get multichannel, 24-bit capacities. It is an astounding level of reproduction, and perhaps the Mahler 8 is just the ticket to show it all off. I would not be surprised if this particular DVD shows up, all round, as a proferred demo disc for customers who are testing and puchasing DVD systems.
Finally, given the glorious singing and playing that is captured in DVD-audio, I can hear past the stylistic shortcomings that I believe Chailly typically brings to his Mahler, and just appreciate how wonderful it all still plays. In high resolution audio, individual soloists sing softly within floating surrounds of soft choral background; yet everybody is still very much there, hanging in the room. Yes, the long-lost Mahler drum is distinctly audible, along with all the rest of the large number of orchestra, choirs, and soloists. Pointed brass or woodwind accents and commentaries upon the music being sung fulfill their own special roles in passing, while still remaining integrated in the shimmering musical textures. Loud passages, and in this symphony Mahler can get quite loud, still show off sweet or pungent narrative musical details of harmony and orchestration that just barely survive in the CD pressing.
You must experiment to carefully balance the multiple channels of the DVD-audio version, if you want to transport yourself back into the Grote Zaal, and relieve something which must be very like the original performances in January, 2000.
Now I am hoping that other Mahler performances will be released in this kind of format. It really, really makes a difference. If your player does not have DVD-audio capabilites, you can still play this disc in Dolby surround, and although I did not test this alternate surround mastering directly, I predict you may find it quite an improvement over the regular stereo-CD version, just extrapolating from how good the DVD-audio is. The better your system components, the better this high resolution version will sound.
In sum: DVD-audio version is Highly Recommended. Five stars, nine wows. Remember to keep breathing as you listen.
I have always loved Mahler. He is in fact my favorite composer. I love all of his other symphonies. Yet this symphony--supposedly his grandest musical statement of all--has continually left me cold.
I have tried Solti. I've checked out Abbado (whose 5th is still my favorite and whose first recording of the 7th is mighty fine). I even went to Tennstedt (who conducted a VERY good 1st). I just wasn't moved.
But now, thanks to Maestro Chailly, his old outfit in Amsterdam and four BLAZING choirs...I have seen the light!!!
This recording of Mahler's 8th grips you from the first moment. It can blow you away. It can overwhelm you with its lyricism and beauty. The best compliment I have to give is to say that this recording is Mahlerian in the very best sense.
Perfect love casts out fear. Don't be afraid to try this recording. You will love it even if you've never enjoyed the 8th or listened to Mahler before.
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has more than enough technique and power for this piece, and when you really think about it, it's amazing that Chailly was able to control the whole orchestra, the soloists, and the several choirs. The combination of Decca's recording and the stunning acoustics of the Concertgebouw hall convey all this in faithful, clear sound.
This symphony is practically an oratorio, so a good set of vocalists is very important. This recording gathers some of the most talented dramatic voices singing today. Ben Heppner and Jane Eaglen stand out in particular. Nobody hoots or yells here, and they make a great ensemble too.
Mahler's eighth is a monument of classical music--in fact, the hugest work in the standard repetoire, and probably ought to be approached after getting familiar with the more well known symphonies. But if you like Mahler even a little, or enjoy your music BIG and sonically breathtaking--and ideally performed, then the buck stops here, with this recording of the eighth.