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Boulez Conducts Mahler - Complete Recordings


Release Date: 11/19/2013 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001931702   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Johan BothaDorothea RöschmannAnna LarssonChristian Gerhaher,   ... 
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic OrchestraVienna State Opera Chorus KonzertvereinigungCleveland Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 14 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Pierre Boulez’s Mahler cycle, which started almost 20 years ago with the recording of the Sixth Symphony in 1994, has now reached its conclusion with the release, this year, of songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn and the Adagio from the Tenth Symphony.

Without a doubt, this Pierre Boulez’s Mahler cycle – with two of the symphony recordings receiving Grammy Awards (Nos. 3 and 9).

The complete cycle of symphonies and songs is now presented for the first time in a single set of 14 CD at budget price. This is a non-limited edition.
The set features the top orchestras: Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Nos. 1 and 9), the Wiener Philharmoniker (Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6, Das Lied), The Cleveland Orchestra (Nos. 4, 7, 10), and
Read more the Staatskapelle Berlin (no. 8). The earlier version (Totenfeier) of the first movement of the Second Symphony is also included.

It also includes Das Lied von der Erde, Lieder eines fahrendes Gesellen, Rückert-Lieder and Kindertotenlieder – all with top soloists such as Christine Schäfer, Anne Sofie von Otter, Juliane Banse, Magdalena Kozena, Thomas Quasthoff, Violeta Urmana, Michael Schade.

The accompanying booklet includes a new essay by Wolfgang Stähr and the sung texts and English translations of all works (with the exception of Das Lied).

R E V I E W: 3754650.zzhf_MAHLER_Symphonies_Nos_1.html

MAHLER Symphonies Nos. 1;1 2;2 3;3 4;4 5;5 6;6 7;7 8;8 9.9 Symphony No. 10: Adagio10. Totenfeier.11 Das klagende Lied.12 Des Knaben Wunderhorn.13 Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen.14 Rückert-Lieder.15 Kindertotenlieder.16 Das Lied von der Erde17 Pierre Boulez, cond; 1,9Chicago SO; 2,3,5,6,12,14,15,16,17Vienna PO; 4,7,10,13Cleveland Orchestra; 8Staatskapelle, Berlin; 2,3Wiener Singverein; 3Wiener Sängerknaben; 8Chor de Deutschen Staatsoper, Berlin; 8Rundfunk Chor, Berlin; 8Aurelius Sängerknaben Chor; 2Christine Schäfer, 4Juliane Banse, 8Twyla Robinson, 8Erin Wall, 8Adriana Queiroz, 12Dorothea Röschmann (sop); 2,8Michelle de Young, 3,16Anne Sophie von Otter, 12Anna Larsson, 13Magdalena Kožená, 15,17Violeta Urmana (mez); 8Simone Schröder (cont); 8,12Johan Botha, 17Michael Schade (ten); 8Hanno Müller-Brachmann, 8Robert Holl, 13Christian Gerhaher (bar); 14Thomas Quastoff (bs-bar) DG 477 9528 (895:12) 14 CDs.


Boulez recorded his integral set of Mahler (containing everything but one of the various completions of the unfinished 10th Symphony) between 1994 and 2011, although the bulk of the sessions took place from the late 1990s to mid-2000s. If there was one thing to learn from his approach, it was that there is more than one way to conduct this music. Boulez avowedly discovered Mahler by working backwards from Berg and Schoenberg, and it shows in the calculated clarity of his performances. This Mahler is incontrovertibly of the 20th century, an early Modernist to rank with Debussy and Stravinsky. Among conductors this makes Boulez the antithesis of Leonard Bernstein, who chartered a blatantly emotional course, convincing himself that he and the composer were one spirit. Mahler is enough of a colossus to withstand both extremes. Critics and music-lovers who initially found Boulez cool because he shunned Bernstein’s interpretative stance soon came to realize that the Frenchman was as fully committed in his own way, that is, on an intellectual and analytical level. These performances are superbly balanced and almost always well paced. Primarily, Boulez’s sense of structure is unerring, in symphonies that are longer and more episodic than most. His level of concentration never falters––unlike Gergiev, whose attention seems to wander unpredictably in his live LSO set.


Boulez is far from uninflected. Listen, for instance, to the delicacy of the “Bimm bamm” movement of the 3rd Symphony, or the touching introversion of its Finale (and how glowingly the climax of this movement opens up). While Boulez seems to have more rapport with his Viennese musicians, all four orchestras play brilliantly for him. He is also blessed with the finest Mahler singers of their generation: Banse’s sweet soprano in No. 4, de Young and Schäfer perfectly balanced in the Second, Von Otter searching and also at her vocal peak in the Third and the Kindertotenlieder. By concentrating exclusively on the composer’s many tempo indications and dynamics––nothing more nor less––Boulez conveys the essential grandeur of the “Symphony of a Thousand” (No. 8) in a stunningly recorded performance with the Berlin Staatskapelle. (Soloists include de Young, Johan Botha, and a slightly too stentorian Robert Holl.) The conductor’s detachment serves to emphasize the Chinese origin of the poems in Das Lied von der Erde, in a highly successful performance with the Vienna Philharmonic, exquisitely sung by the comparatively light-voiced Schade and Urmana (compared, that is, to Fritz Wunderlich and Christa Ludwig for Klemperer, Jon Vickers for Colin Davis or Maureen Forrester for Reiner). Again, the Pointillist delicacy of Mahler’s scoring has never been more telling. In the accompanying interview, Boulez says he prefers Mahler’s orchestration in the song cycles to that of the symphonies.


What do not concern him at all are the extra-musical connotations. If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage: That would seem to be his thinking. So there is not a skerrick of the kletzmer band to be heard in the First Symphony’s third movement: In his hands, that episode suggests a brisk march by Bizet. The sense of mystery in the central “Nachtmusik” movements of the 7th Symphony is more fully conveyed under Abbado; here it is absent. Nor is Boulez deeply in tune with the rustic vibe of the 1st Symphony’s second movement––taken far too swiftly for dancing––or the earthy Knaben Wunderhorn songs, which are nevertheless impeccably sung by Gerhaher and Kožená.


Having said that, this traversal is greater than the sum of its parts. Primarily, it is an intensely musical experience. I would urge interested readers to refer to the Fanfare reviews of these recordings on their first appearance: Christopher Abbott and William Youngren particularly wrote very highly of them. If you swear by Bernstein, Solti, Tennstedt, or Tilson Thomas, this set is still a fascinating alternative view––a Modernist view, if you like––and worth hearing for that reason alone. Music making of this caliber belongs in the Hall of Fame without question.


FANFARE: Phillip Scott
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Works on This Recording

1.
Das klagende Lied by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Johan Botha (Tenor), Dorothea Röschmann (Soprano), Anna Larsson (Alto)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880/1899; Austria 
2.
Des Knaben Wunderhorn by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Christian Gerhaher (Baritone), Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1898; Hamburg, Germany 
3.
Symphony no 10 in F sharp minor/major: 1st movement, Adagio by Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Austria 
4.
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1896; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/2003 
Venue:  Gorsser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna 
Length: 16 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: German 
5.
Rückert Lieder (5) by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Violeta Urmana (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1902; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2003 
Venue:  Gorsser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna 
Length: 19 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: German 
6.
Kindertotenlieder by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1904; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2003 
Venue:  Gorsser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna 
Length: 24 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Language: German 
7.
Das Lied von der Erde by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Violeta Urmana (Mezzo Soprano), Michael Schade (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1908-1909; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Golden Hall, Musikverein, Vienna 
Length: 60 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: German 
8.
Symphony no 1 in D major "Titan" by Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888/1896 
Date of Recording: 05/1998 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 52 Minutes 47 Secs. 
9.
Symphony no 2 in C minor "Resurrection" by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Christine Schäfer (Soprano), Michelle DeYoung (Mezzo soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888/1896; Germany 
Language: German 
10.
Symphony no 3 in D minor by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein Women's Chorus,  Vienna Boys' Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893-1896; Hamburg, Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2001 
Venue:  Great Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 95 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: German 
11.
Symphony no 4 in G major by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  William Preucil (Violin), Juliane Banse (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1900; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/1998 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorim, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 53 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: German 
12.
Symphony no 5 in C sharp minor by Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1902; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1996 
Venue:  Great Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 72 Minutes 17 Secs. 
13.
Symphony no 6 in A minor "Tragic" by Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904/1906; Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1994 
Venue:  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna 
Length: 79 Minutes 22 Secs. 
14.
Symphony no 7 in E minor by Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904-1905; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/1994 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland 
Length: 74 Minutes 53 Secs. 
15.
Symphony no 8 in E flat major "Symphony of A Thousand" by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Michelle DeYoung (Mezzo Soprano), Twyla Robinson (Soprano), Johan Botha (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus,  Berlin State Opera Chorus  ... 
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 85 Minutes 16 Secs. 
16.
Symphony no 9 in D major by Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1908-1909; Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1995 
Venue:  Medinah Temple, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 79 Minutes 46 Secs. 

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