Symphony 2 [Import]
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By David M. Goldberg - Published on Amazon.com
If Amazon ran the rest of its business the way it runs its reviews, the company would be in bankruptcy protection by now. Having just purchased this DVD (NOT Blu-Ray ), I received the customary invitation to write a review before I had even stripped the cellophane off the case. Clicking on the icon accompanying the invitation and accessing the previous reviews, I quickly learned that they were 6 in number, ALL devoted to the Blu-Ray version. Faced with the historic task of preparing what seems to be the VERY FIRST evaluation of this product, I could only marvel at the enthusiasm of my half-dozen predecessors, their erudition, the pains they took with their critical analysis of every detail and indeed every note in this vast score, the clarity with which they expressed their conclusions, and the near-identity of the latter to my own. This last point only goes to show that anyone who bought the much more expensive Blu-Ray version must be an idiot, or has too much money to burn! Unless .... Well I will get to that in a moment. Firstly, this is a magnificent symphony that is leaps and bounds above Mahler's "Titanic" 1st, and in my view has not been surpassed by any of his later works. Indeed, I very much prefer it to the 4th, 7th and 8th. Secondly, the performance is utterly brilliant in every respect. Chailly and the Gewandhaus Orchestra have never before reached such heights individually or in combination, and I have seen and heard them apart several times and in different locations. The chorus sings like a choir of angels, exactly as they are described in the text, and the two lady soloists do a fine job ---- Sarah Connolly moreso, perhaps, than Christiane Oeize ; she has after all more to sing about, and Mahler seems to have written more eloquently for the contralto voice in most of his works. The Gewandhaus itself is an awesomely inspiring location that I was unable to see during my only visit to Leipzig in the 1990s because there was nothing on at the time, but the splendid camera work brought it alive in all its glory, as it enlivened every possible aspect of this performance and its performers. I can thoroughly recommend it unless ...... and here comes the rub. The recording adequately captures the silky tones of the strings, the plaintive warbling of the woodwind, and the rasping sonority of the brass. The drum-rolls come through crisply and the rest of the percussion with clarity, even in the louder passages, when the brass are taking a breather. But when brass and drums are going at it hammer and tongs as they must do in the thrilling sforzandos and fortissimo passages, much of the thrill is muffled and masked ---- replaced by a dull reverberation in which the various forces cancel each other out instead of complementing their respective sounds. Mahler is a delightfully capricious composer whose music is replete with more dramatic contrasts than almost any other symphonic writer. He can accelerate from pianissimo to fortissimo in the space of seconds, but somehow the acoustics of this recording are unable to accommodate these extremes in a satisfactory manner. I had the same complaint with the Mahler 9th by Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra that the same team ( Smaczny and friends) also recorded for Accentus ( not Blu-Ray). Yet, I never found this to be a problem with their work with the latter group for the EuroArts label. What is going on here? Is it DVD versus Blu-Ray? Or Accentus versus EuroArts? We won't know until the six gentlemen whose Blu-Ray reviews are inappropriately credited to the DVD version tell us whether they have actually made the former comparison. If there really is a significant difference in sound quality between the two versions, then the additional price of the Blu-Ray is probably justified. Either way, the reviewers should exercise ethical responsibility by withdrawing their reviews from this disc. They simply replicate what is available immediately above under the Blu-Ray disc, even down to the identical order. If they do not, they will be colluding with Amazon in outright misrepresentation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Dr. TJ Eckelberg - Published on Amazon.com
Chailly is THE Mahler guy for this moment in time. The LGO is on fire, beginning with the amazingly exciting first movement. The playful simplicity and charm of the second movement waltz is in direct contrast to the thunder that subsides at the end of the first. Mezzo Sarah Connoly is splendid and the chorus is spot on. This performance is a must for those who like their Mahler with the pedal to the metal!
By Frédéric - Published on Amazon.com
Excellent performance; a perfect Mahler
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By trastevere - Published on Amazon.com
The opening phrases are rushed. Chailly sometimes rams up the turbo when we really just needed to shift into first gear. And-- like Abbado and so many others-- the sound model here is transparency, when a little bloom and mystery (wedded to a a titanic string section)would work better. But there's no denying the excitement achieved in much of this performance. The first movement is a vast improvement over Abbado's bloodless cheerfest. The second movement is perhaps the least effective effort. But the Urlicht here is supreme, and Chailly molds the movements together brilliantly, making the joints (which apparently weren't entirely convincing, even to the composer) feel inevitable. The sequence beginning with the Urlicht and exploding into glory in its wake puts this performance high up on the list.