Symphony No. 9
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a real 'book-ended' symphony, with the first and last movements holding the most powerful meanings and the middle two offering respite and intrigue. Here Abbado seems to just let the orchestra play, and play they do. Breathtaking music-making!
The finale features some of the richest string sound I have ever, ever heard on a recording, the beauty of the sound and weight of the emotions are almost overwhelming, climaxes are full of grit and strength and unfold naturally from the music. The line moves and moves and moves . . . in the closing pages, Abbado still allows the music to breathe, one simply waits and the pauses last just as long as can be right, the music as soft as it should be, the notes speaking for themselves, no need to add to what Mahler has to say, really exceptional. There is an extended silence before the applause begins, almost 20 seconds, and I do hope that is as it was in the concert, because THAT is how you will be feeling at home, listening to this. Buy it.
Having found some of the earlier Abbado Mahler recordings to be solid but not especially inspired, I wasn't expecting much of this one. It turned to be a superb performance (as is Abbado's new Mahler Third with Berlin).
This is a visceral reading, battering the listener with waves of sound. It is a pretty savage performance, though hardly lacking in the lyrical side. Rather, Abbado and Berlin play everything to the hilt, creating an emotional roller coaster that seems very right.
Of course, the Berlin Philharmonic is an orchestra that can respond brilliantly to almost any demands that are placed on it. Even in this live performance, the orchestra's intensity and accuracy never flag, no matter how hard Abbado drives them.
Perhaps because it was recorded live, some balances are just a little off and the sound lacks some power at climaxes. But there really is a spontaneity here that you rarely hear in studio performances.
The Mahler Ninth has fared well on disc. Though it would seem to be one of the most challenging Mahler symphonies to realize successfully, it brings out the best in a lot of conductors and orchestras. Abbado is yet another excellent recording, joining Klemperer, both Karajan recordings, the Horenstein Vienna Symphony and London Symphony recordings, Kubelik, and Boulez among my favorites.
If you REALLY know the score to the Mahler 9th, you might be intrigued by all of the weird balances and interpretive touches. But, if you're shopping for a performance which presents this perhaps greatest symphonic utterance of the early 20th century as-is, then I'd look no further than the recently refurbished Barbirolli (with the Berliners in 1964), or else Karajan's analogue outing.
Most recent customer reviews
This Mahler 9th may be equal to Karjan's great (2nd recording) of the work. I have to say was well as the Berlin Philharmonic played for Karajan, they play even better in this... Read morePublished on May 10 2004
Some people may say Karajan, Barbirolli, Horenstein, etc are better, but I don't believe there's only one definitive recording. Read morePublished on Dec 2 2003 by snhnpark
This is Mahler at its best- phenomenal playing (no other orchestra, past or present, comes close) that is in sync with conducting of great imagination and spontaneity. Read morePublished on March 25 2003 by J. Kim
Recorded "live" at the Berlin Philharmonie Hall, September 1999 this is the last of three new Mahler releases on DG. Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2002 by H. Granot
If Abbado's earlier set of Mahler symphonies (also on DG) already was worthy of special acclaim, these new valedictory recordings (including the third and seventh symphonies) only... Read morePublished on July 19 2002