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Symphony No. 5

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Product Details

  • Performer: Depriest London So
  • Composer: Mahler
  • Audio CD (Dec 12 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ncl
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #243,423 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Trauermarsch: In Gemessenem Schritt
2. Sturmisch Bewegt - Mit Grosster Vehemenz
3. Scherzo: Kraftig, Nicht Zu Schnell
4. Adagietto: Sehr Langsam
5. Rondo-Finale: Allegro - Allegro Giocoso - Frisch

Product Description

Mahler's Fifth Symphony, a work of huge emotional and structural range, was his first purely orchestral work since the First Symphony of 1888 , and his first orchestral work to dispense with both the human voice and overtly programmatic elements. The seco

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa0a86180) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0afec30) out of 5 stars A suprisingly good one Jan. 12 2008
By Laszlo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As a Mahler fan and collector of versions, I did not expect much from this CD. But I had read a bad and a good review from good magazines, so I decided to find out for myself. After all, at Naxos price, why not? Well... it was a great ride.
Surely there are some things that could have been different (I hesitate to say "better") but the genius of Mahler's symphonies is the many options available to implement different views on details (e.g., tempo) etc.
In any case, I found the long architectural line beautifully done; the structure impeccably conceived; and the recording outstanding (better than EMI's Rattle & Co, in fact). And the LSO is a truly virtuoso orchestra, perfect for Gustav's music.
Naxos did it again.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0afec84) out of 5 stars For once, understated Mahler really works May 13 2007
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
After quibbling over a single tempo choice in the finale, the reviewer below chides the conductor for not following Mahler's score to the letter. This seems absurd after forty years of free interpretation from great musicians like Bernstein, Levine, Karajan, and Abbado. (It would also help if he got the name DePreist right.) Now 71, DePreist has made an honorable career for himself, largely outside major music centers (this CD was a studio production following his belated London debut in 2006), without trading in on the fact that he is black and the newphew of the great Marian Anderson. He broke color barriers the way Marin Alsop is breaking sexist barriers. Curiously, oth have made recent Mahler Fifths with the LSO.

DePreist's interpretation is surprising. It's quite musical and sensitively phrased, but at the same time it strongly goes against the grain by staying on the cool side of apocalyptic--melodrama is completely absent, and the force of Mahler's music isn't buttressed by "personality" conducting. At first I thought I was hearing a somewhat faceless run-through of a score that demands an apocalyptic approach, but then I adjsuted. I began to find DePreist's lack of ego refreshing. There's no lack of power in the LSO's playing, and although the engineering is a trifle distant and murky, plenty of detail emerges.

There's more than one way to hold a listener's attention, and DePreist does it by sensitive phrasing form bar to bar. The Gramophone accuses him of stop-go tactics, but I don't hear that. They also claim that he reins in the music's emotions too tightly, but Mahler doesn't have to sound hysterical and unbuttoned. He has to sound varied, multi-faceted, and vital. DePreist's Mahler Fifth is all of those things, and I liked it form beginning to end. I will be more on the looout for his work on ecords.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1d740d8) out of 5 stars highly communicative Mahler 5th July 8 2009
By Hugh Oliver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As other reviews here would indicate, this is a Mahler 5th rendition which is not going to please everybody. As a musician, but not a Mahler purist or expert, I hear a lot of excellence in DePreist's concept of Mahler. Control is much in evidence, as is transparency--individual instrument colors are wonderful. I realize many listeners will prefer a Mahler 5th of greater extremes of both despair and consolation. This is not to say that DePreist is short on expression. Lyricism is gorgeous in this performance and anguish is present when called for, but not in as overwrought a fashion as some other performances.
The London Symphony is in superb form for this outing. Because I am a brass player (tuba), I suppose I tend to notice the brass sound right away. This is gorgeous brass playing, and no, the playing and recording are not brass heavy--it all sounds right in perspective.
I also have Inbal's performance of Mahler 5th. It too is very fine but the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra does not have the weight, depth, and overtones of the London Symphony.
This is a first class production with outstanding recording quality. Recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1d740c0) out of 5 stars A Perfect Introduction to Mahler for those who usually don't like Mahler! April 23 2014
By goodmusicman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
For years, I had resisted getting into Mahler's music despite being so fond of the music of virtually all of his contemporaries in the late 19th/early 20th centuries (Sibelius, Nielsen, Strauss, Suk, Rachmaninov, etc.). I now realize that there is something in many Mahler performances that, though clearly part of Mahler's musical language, need not be emphasized: mania and angst. It is precisely these two elements that have not appealed to me and, due to their understated presence in this recording of Mahler's Fifth Symphony, this is what has endeared me to this recording. Conductor James DePreist, who died in 2013, was the nation's leading African-American conductor, but he needs no special pleading since his musicality speaks for itself. Here, with the great London Symphony Orchestra at his disposal, he leads a polished, refined and Romantic reading of this great symphony (Mahler's purely musical, non-programmatic symphony) that will have its fan and detractors. Count me among the fans.

DePreist does not exaggerate Mahler's expressiveness; he lets the music speak for itself. The first two movements boast stunningly virtuosic playing by the LSO, and the second in particular is enormously exciting. Anyone who tells you this is a dull performance has not listened to the entire thing. The third movement scherzo, though taken slow, is actually quite beautiful. I enjoyed its entire duration, and did not feel that it dragged too much. (Compare that to Michael Tilson Thomas's account.) The famous slow fourth movement is as moving as I have ever heard it. The LSO strings really shine here. The finale brings us back to the terrain of the second movement. The brass section in particular really shines here. The coda is not in any way hampered by DePreist's retard that some have complained about.

This Naxos CD also features some of the most vivid sound quality I have ever heard on a compact disc, irrespective of price point. The LSO is in truly top form throughout, and DePreist's decision to underplay the angst and not highlight the mania pays off for those who, like me, don't feel that Mahler needs those elements to be underscored. (But of course they are still present even in DePreist's reading: that was Mahler's compositional style, and it is just a matter of emphasizing it or not.) So for those who have been on the fence about buying a Mahler recording for the reasons I outlined, you can do no better than this recording. You may decide to pursue Mahler further after enjoying this CD.
6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1d7457c) out of 5 stars great LSO; bad conducting Dec 15 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Here's yet another maddening Mahler 5th; one in which much fine playing on the part of the London Symphony, gets undermined by one truly huge but dumb interpretive decision on the part of Jame DePriest. Towards the end of the finale, DePriest puts on the brakes too soon before the reprise of the second movement's big brass chorale theme - the main theme of the entire symphony. Mahler, as it turns out, doesn't ask for any kind of ritard until you get to the main body of that chorale, which is located seven bars after rehearsal figure 33. Here, he simply writes: Pesante (etwas gehalten). "Etwas gehalten" means, "somewhat held back" (tempo wise, not dynamics). De Priest, instead, does a sizeable ritard some 22 bars before the spot that Mahler actually calls for one. For me, this completely softens the main point of the entire symphony, which is that that the dark forces that dominate the first half of the symphony (in minor) are defeated by the forces of light (in Major, naturally) in the second half. Too bad because much of what happens before hand is really good. In particular, the horns, both corporate and solo, are outstanding in the middle movement scherzo; and so too the strings in the famous Adagietto movement that follows. While the second movement gets off to a somewhat perfunctory start - with De Priest losing tempo over the first 90 seconds or so - it really comes to life during the last five minutes, where the music turns fast and intense. All of this suggests great promise for the finale, but De Priest pulls the rug out from underneath everything instead. Blame it on today's, "gotta to do something different" interpretive climate. Conductors have to realize that when they deviate from any given score in a major way, what they do has to enhance the work at hand - not detract or subtract from it. Fans of the LSO will be very pleased with the job they do here. But please, no full Mahler cycle from James DePriest, thank you.