on September 11, 2005
Firstly,i'd like to commend the writer below who draws attention to this horrible critic called Cassidy who contributed significantly to Kubelik's downfall in Chicago....a truly miserable affair.Why is there an arts centre named in her honour??!!!
Kubelik's Mahler stands the test of time very well (the most recommendable complete cycle on the market by some margin):there's a freshness and lyricicsm minus that self pitying streak which grounds so many Mahler interpratations.
on June 26, 2004
the arch conservative devil; claudia cassidy literally drove the poor poetic rafael kublik out of chicago for his 'abominable attachment to the moderns'.
kubelik, unfortunately was 'merely' an artist and, lacking political saavy, he could not withstand her vehement attacks.
there is a bit of irony here too because mahler himself was driven from new york by a conservative board filled with claudia cassidy types.
fortunately kubelik left enough recordings to leave his testament of true worth.
this mahler first is easily the most poetic reading you will find.
if there is a hell then i hope old claudia is tortured throughout eternity by being forced to listen to the beauty of kubeliks mahler, or even some xenakis.
by the way, the city of chicago still has a monument to the devil, cassidy.
perhaps someday it will be torn down
on June 8, 2004
this really represents one of the high points in the entire DG catologue. NO orchestra has ever plumed the depths that this Titan takes..partly due to the genius of Kubelik and his ability to phrase and understand pace. Listen for the horns at the beginning of MVt. 1 and you will know what I mean..the inflection and colour is perfect!
the Finale is incredible...the energy and vitality as well as the rustic quality to the Bavarian woodwinds really make this Mahler to live for! Compare this with any Bernstein Mahler and you will go straight back to Kubelik!
on April 3, 2004
Here in the studios of DG in the late sixties percolated a performance of Mahler's Titan symphony that can only be described as inspired!!!\
Kubelik understand the pacing of this music WHERE others fear to tread...go ahead..try to find a performance on record of Karajan or Szell of this piece....
bet you can't...Why is this?
Simply put the above conductors never understood this early work of Mahler...it is structurally very tricky to bring off and to boot the Finale is technically hard to interpret with the Baton!!! In fact, another element of this work that Kubelik understands is that the work is somewhat rough..the winds here are allowed to predominate and also play out!!!
Many conductors like Szell and Karajan were too obscessed with Blend!!! IN Mahler this is death....the electricity of this recording is unreal..in fact I believe the Mahler cycle of Kubelik's is one the best...
he is consistently more interesting and allows the dynamics to emerge without becoming vulgar....just remember how bad Mehta was and you will know what I mean.
on October 28, 2002
This performance of "Titan" is surely on of the best in the market but it's sure that the one of Horenstein's for Unicorn is the best ever. Although not a digital recording the sound is full and Horenstein has cought the sence of power that the music gives you. As an alternative I would recommend Bernstein's performance for DG.
on June 20, 2002
This isn't the Mahler 1st with the finest orchestral playing and it certainly isn't the best recorded, but I listen to Kubelik's version more than any other. The third movement is a particular highlight - its mixture of the rustic, the grotesque and the beautiful hasn't been bettered, not even by Bernstein (well, that's what I think). Kubelik's impulsive, open-air approach to Mahler certainly works better in the 1st and 4th, than in, say, the 6th. This classic recording deserves its near-legendary reputation.
on June 18, 2002
I came to this version of Mahler 1, after familiarity with Bruno Walter's and both versions with Solti. Kubelik is more urgent, especially in the closing pages of the last movement. I am not completely convinced of his urgency, while I also find that Bruno Walter draws things out a little too much at the end. Also the recording quality is not quite as spectacular as that afforded to Walter or Solti. Nevertheless, like much of Kubelik's work, the other movements are very well characterized, enhanced by the refinement of the Bavarian orchestra. Fischer-Dieskau's contribution is also well characterized and distinctive. While there are other versions of the symphony that create more excitement, I think that coupling the songs with this symphony makes this CD an attractive bargain.
on June 3, 2002
Kubelik in this classic (though not especially good-sounding) rendition provides a Mahler First which is just that: a young man's first essay in the symphonic form. That this particular young man was a composer of genius is obvious--but Kubelik never reminds us that the "Resurrection" Symphony followed a few years later. In other words, Kubelik does not inflate this score to the proportions of Mahler's later, larger-scale works, as many conductors do (including some of the obvious "big names"). He presents the First on its own terms, giving us heaps of poetry and atmosphere, and stinting on slickness or showiness which aren't appropriate to the music anyway. (He also stints on exposition repeats, skipping the one in the second movement.)
The playing of the Bavarian Radio Symphony, who sound very much like a Czech orchestra here (Kubelik was, of course, a Czech, and you can argue that Mahler's background was as much Moravian as it was Austrian), is not blemish-free. This is especially evident through headphones. DG's sonics, while clear, can be thin and abrasive; as a result, some climaxes don't have the oomph that they really need (and for this, I blame the recording more than the conducting). If you can listen past these shortcomings, which in my opinion are not deal-breakers, you'll hear a Mahler First which is pretty close to ideal.
As for the coupling, Fish-Disk's circa-1970 "Songs of a Wayfarer" accompanied by Kubelik & Co., I would say it's a valuable adjunct to the symphony. However, either of the great baritone's other commercially available recordings (the 1950s set with Furtwangler, and a live performance in the New York Philharmonic "Mahler broadcasts" boxed set) find him on better behavior, less inclined to over-emote.
on August 21, 2001
From the opening quiet, subdued Sounds of Nature on to the quickened tempo of the second of Mahler's Wayfarer Songs, so familiar and refreshing, then rising to significant climax. This is followed by the Bruckner influenced scherzo, which I very much like.
The finale bursts forth powerfully as if black, swirling storm clouds burst onto a sunny day. Here, he brings us back to the beginning in a victorious sound, which then ends in a horn dominated ending.
This time honored recording by Kubelik is passionate and up-tempo. What has been termed as "breakthrough" in this First Symphony certainly rings forth from the conductor's interpretation and this strong rendering from the Bavarian Symphony Radio Orchestra.
on July 15, 2001
If you only could have one Mahler recording in your collection, make sure it's this one. Kubelik knows how to conduct Mahler, and this is the best of his recordings. Mahler's first symphony is a masterpiece with the first three movement being somewhat passive but beautiful and emotional and surprisingly enough, extremely catchy. This then leads into the most dramatic finale ever written for a symphony(besides beethoven's 7th and 9th). I was absolutely amazed the first time I heard this symphony and even more amazed when i heard this recording. It is faster than other versions that are available, but it is also much more powerful. The sound quality, though not perfect, is rather excellent for an analog recording. Bravo to the remastering team. But not only do you get a symphony but you also get an amazing song set sung by an amazing singer. After listening to the symphony, listen to the songs, and see if you notice any similar themes. I bet you will! Perfect recording, amazing performance, and at a midprice you cannot go wrong. Make sure this disk is a part of your collection.