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Symphony 1 Import


Price: CDN$ 87.95
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Feb. 28 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Everest Records
  • ASIN: B0000023GT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

1. Symphony No. 1 In D Major: Langsam, schleppend wie ein Naturlaut
2. Symphony No. 1 In D Major: Kraftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell
3. Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen
4. Smyphony No. 1 In D Major: Sturmisch bewegt

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By A Customer on June 24 2004
This recording came as a bit of a surprise; I had previously only known Boult for his excellent recordings of "The Planets" and other British compositions. I acquired this recording to see what a new mind could bring to this much-played symphony. I was not disappointed, as the performance was quite involving and lucid, and Boult not afraid to bring out the climaxes while still keeping the interludes interesting. Despite being recorded in 1958, it still boasts very nice sound quality, spades better than Rafael Kubelik's Mahler 1 recorded nearly a decade later. However, the players are both better and worse than Kubelik's Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra: while managing a much rounder and fuller sound (especially the trumpets) compared to the brash and oftentimes thin BRSO (this can be partially attributed to the recording quality, however), the London Philharmonic seems to have trouble keeping up with Boult's gestures and liberties he takes with the music. For instance, the surprisingly fast scherzo sometimes shows its seams, with the strings struggling to keep up, and the end of the first movements showcases some low brass about an eighth of a beat apart. Also, Boult strangely slows down for the coda of the finale, and even worse, fails to bring out the strings. All of the BRSO's faults with tone and intonation are forgiven when the strings bounce out of the speakers at the coda, and Boult's slower coda could have been saved by some more assertive playing from the London strings. All in all though, a well thought-out performance that easily rivals any other modern recording. The Kubelik mentioned above is similarly played, and despite the aforementioned playing fluffs is also worth recommending for possibly the best interpretation of the piece.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
My vote for "best" Mahler First! Dec 23 2000
By madamemusico - Published on Amazon.com
It is always a personal, subjective thing to select a "best" performance of any work, but this Mahler First wins on several counts. For one thing, it is bucolic and charming; for another, it has an integrity of tempo within each movement that I do not hear in the vastly overrated Kubelik recording with its whipped-up climaxes and splashy, bashy playing. Last but not least, the stereo sound--though it has lost some of its impact when compared to modern digital marvels--is still lovely, with an orchestral sheen and "open" soundstage so important to Mahler. My only complaint is that the final pages lack a bit of power (O Toscanini, WHY did you dislike Mahler so much??!?), but that is a small price to pay for a truly great performance. Listen to the recorded excerpts if you'd like to hear what I mean.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
mahler to live with Jan. 8 2001
By hillbank68 - Published on Amazon.com
This CD reissues an LP from 1958, originally on British World Record Club and Everest. Jascha Horenstein had been engaged to conduct the LPO in the work in the Albert Hall but was ill. Boult, who could do almost anything at a moment's notice, deputised, and the LP was made afterwards. I remember a review of the concert describing the performance as the loudest Mahler 1 the reviewer had ever heard. It is very powerful, and it has good Mahlerian atmosphere in 1 and 4. The scherzo/landler ('kraftig bewegt') is fast and bouncy, but really a little unyielding - I take off a star for that. However, this performance does give continuing pleasure - you can live with it. It's faithful and very musical, and the symphony sounds fresh and involving throughout.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Boult and Mahler June 24 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This recording came as a bit of a surprise; I had previously only known Boult for his excellent recordings of "The Planets" and other British compositions. I acquired this recording to see what a new mind could bring to this much-played symphony. I was not disappointed, as the performance was quite involving and lucid, and Boult not afraid to bring out the climaxes while still keeping the interludes interesting. Despite being recorded in 1958, it still boasts very nice sound quality, spades better than Rafael Kubelik's Mahler 1 recorded nearly a decade later. However, the players are both better and worse than Kubelik's Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra: while managing a much rounder and fuller sound (especially the trumpets) compared to the brash and oftentimes thin BRSO (this can be partially attributed to the recording quality, however), the London Philharmonic seems to have trouble keeping up with Boult's gestures and liberties he takes with the music. For instance, the surprisingly fast scherzo sometimes shows its seams, with the strings struggling to keep up, and the end of the first movements showcases some low brass about an eighth of a beat apart. Also, Boult strangely slows down for the coda of the finale, and even worse, fails to bring out the strings. All of the BRSO's faults with tone and intonation are forgiven when the strings bounce out of the speakers at the coda, and Boult's slower coda could have been saved by some more assertive playing from the London strings. All in all though, a well thought-out performance that easily rivals any other modern recording. The Kubelik mentioned above is similarly played, and despite the aforementioned playing fluffs is also worth recommending for possibly the best interpretation of the piece.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A truly great Mahler first ! Jan. 27 2011
By Staffan Sundkvist - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
As far as I know Sir Adrian just made one recording of a Mahlersymphony. And what a shame ! In this recording he truly demonstrates that he is a fantastic "Mahler-conductor". He keeps the music together and it has the necessary power whenever it is called for. One of the best Mahler first on record !
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Boult bolts but the risk is worth it Aug. 8 2014
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Mahler is not the first composer associated with Sir Adrian Boult but he was quite familiar with the music and one should not be surprised to find him at home with Mahler's eclectic idiom. Slightly more surprising is the ease and virtuosity shown by the LPO here; their playing is superb, especially the lovely horns and woodwind, who nail both the notes and the style as if they were as familiar with the music as the VPO. At times, their playing is deliberately slightly raw, so there is no danger of too "English-sounding" a refinement.

This, by any standards, is a swift, direct performance. The next fastest I know is just under fifty minutes from Paul Kletzki with the Israel Philharmonic recorded four years earlier and of much less quality; otherwise the tendency over the years has been to get slower, thus most recordings clock in at around the mid-fifties mark, so Boult is pacy by any standards.

That approach pays dividends in the excitement of this recording but that is not to say that Boult is in any way monotonously driven or negligent of the more reflective sections of the music. The opening, for example, is suitably mystical and otherworldly before relaxing into a genial and even humorous account; he then moves on from his relaxed mode to crank up the tension, driving on to a wonderfully exuberant conclusion.

The Scherzo could have turned out to be manically fast in the wrong hands but its high spirits never spill over into hysteria and Boult makes telling use of dynamic contrasts between sections. He presses on in the famous Forest Funeral \March of the Animals, slyly accentuating the dance rhythms and the Finale positively explodes with nervous energy.

This is Boult just getting on with it, providing the antithesis to the reverential, "spiritual" approach to Mahler which does not in fact really suit this deeply ironic symphony. As such, it constitutes a refreshing alternative interpretation.

This is one of the whole series of newly re-mastered re-issues of the famous Everest catalogue. Consequently they are short-measure compared with new recordings but priced accordingly. There is some slight hiss and at first the sound seemed to me to be a little "papery" but the results from using 35 mm tape still sound terrific. The Walthamstow Assembly Hall provides a big, resonant acoustic without obscuring detail.

P.S. Everest (Countdown Media GmbH) producer and engineer, Lutz Rippe says that this recording was "originally recorded in August 1958 on half inch 3-trk tape. Once Everest had switched to recording on 35mm 3-trk magnetic film shortly afterwards these ½ inch recordings were transferred to new 35mm magnetic film copy master tapes. As the original half inch 3-trk tapes are not available anymore, the digital transfers from Countdown Media were made using these 35mm 3-trk magnetic film copy master tapes on our Albrecht MB-51 playback machine."

[This review also posted on the MusicWeb International website]


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