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Sym

Gustav Mahler Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 17.22 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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1. Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor: Part One, Movement I: Trauermarsch. In gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie ein Kondukt
2. Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor: Movement II: Stürmisch bewegt. Mit größter Vehemenz
3. Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor: Part Two, Movement III: Scherzo. Kräftig, nicht zu schnell
4. Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor: Part Three, Movement IV: Adagietto. Sehr langsam
5. Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor: Movement V: Rondo - Finale. Allegro

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Mahler's Symphony in C sharp famously takes an hour and ten minutes to shift up a semitone. More importantly, the Fifth marks Mahler's departure from the literal, programmatic scheme, moving towards the non-conceptual. Nevertheless, it hosts a complex inner drama. Drawing a clear distinction between the dramatic tragedy of the first two movements and the almost over-optimistic Wunderhorn-like feel of the rest, Chailly and the Concertgebow's approach is broad, warm and benevolent. The "Ländler and Waltz" Scherzo really does sound like a Viennese Waltz, and its ominous horn obligato is forcefully played. The horn and brass sections are phenomenal throughout. In the "Adagietto" the phrasing does not fulfil the required span and leaves one longing for greater flexibility. The vast finale is definitely the best movement on the recording. In total, a convincing Chailly, and an elegant Concertgebouw on form--perhaps one could ask for a bit more "edge"? Yngvil V. G.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated Dec 26 2002
By Dave
Format:Audio CD
There are some good things about this recording, such as the unique sound of the orchestra and Chailly's fairly direct approach to the piece. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of 'loose' playing in this performance. You would think it was recorded live, considering the number of late entrances and overall lack of togetherness. The trombones drag noticeably at times, particularly in the second movement. To my ear, the recording quality itself is not the best, either -- too bright in the upper registers and muddy in lower frequency response.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest Mahler Fifths ever June 30 2004
Format:Audio CD
In recent years, it seems that every conductor wants to prove his mettle by tackling one or more Mahler symphonies, and the Fifth is definitely in the "Needs Expert Guidance" category. If nothing else, the piece (like much of Mahler) is just too difficult for some ensembles to tackle. Riccardo Chailly has been chalking up a complete Mahler cycle over the past decade, with impressive results, and this recording, from the mid-1990's, is one of the finest in the whole series. If Chailly's interpretation is sunnier than most, this symphony lends itself to a more optimistic outlook. It begins with one of the most famous trumpet calls in symphonic literature, a sober but glorious solo that catches a listener's ear immediately when done well -- and here it is done *very* well.
The rest of the recording is just sensational, with this terrific orchestra negotiating Mahler's extreme demands with a casual virtuosity that I find irresistible. If interpretively speaking, some find Chailly on the "non-neurotic" side, I can't disagree, but then, there are many ways to play this symphony (as well as all the others). Chailly might be faulted for erring on the side of presenting the Fifth as an orchestral showpiece, but to be fair, it *is* one! The famous "Adagietto" is done in an admirably straightforward way, letting the sentiment speak for itself without too much embellishment. If, for example, you like Bernstein's over-emotional reading of this (and I like his, too), you may not warm up to Chailly's somewhat cooler, more flowing version. But again, the emotion is in the score, and it's not necessary to "add" or "find" more -- it's all in there.
The last movement is just a knockout, in terms of the playing and sound quality.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty stunning April 6 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Funny how people can disagree -- I thought the Adagietto was the only "disappointment" with this recording (so "only" 4 stars). A little lacking in tension, a little too relaxed and easygoing.
Still, it's the most beautifully played, paced and recorded fifth movement I've heard. Incredible detail; if you've got a high-end stereo you'll probably reach for this recording to show off your stuff. The imaging, spaciousness, presence and dynamic range leave little to be desired. It's worth buying to hear the arrival of the chorale after a perfect buildup. The nobly descending trombone line and yelping horns, the timpani resonating ten feet beneath the floor, and the melting, devotional way the brass players sing the chorale -- goosebump material. The *huge* burst of the chorale tune's second phrase, the most effective I've ever heard on CD. It wants to take the roof off my house each time I play it. The breakneck final bars will take your breath away, again with a one-two punch of splendid detail and overwhelming power.
BTW, mvts. 1-3 are equally satisfying...A memorable scherzo, just right in the soft moments, with the wonderful acoustic atmosphere of the Concertgebouw clearly captured. You can sense Chailly really working to sustain tension in mvt. 2, where the accents and dynamic contrasts are played to the hilt. The funeral march is at exactly the right tempo, and rightly sounds here like the single most "Mahlerian" movement of all.
The Amsterdam Concertgebouw is one of the few orchestras (Vienna also) still to enjoy a sound all their own. In a world becoming increasingly homogeneous, this is something to treasure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It can't get any better than this. July 30 2001
By Alan
Format:Audio CD
This recording is worth owning for the opening fanfare alone. Crank up the volume and prepare to be shaken to your bones. From that point onward,the playing and interpretation remain superb. The adagietto, as mentioned by an earlier reviewer, is truly sublime; Chailly's pace seems just right. Even if you own other recordings of the fifth, you won't regret adding this one to your collection.
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