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Mahler: Symphony No. 5 / Abbado, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Abbado / Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 10/09/2012 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001739502   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

As with just about all the Mahler symphonies, Abbado has made multiple recordings of the Fifth, but this, his first, remains his finest, and an exceptional performance by any standard. It has all of the famed Chicago virtuosity but also a welcome attention to detail and willingness to savor a phrase that you almost never find with Solti’s Chicago Mahler. It’s great to hear a coda to the second movement that for once does not sound anti-climactic. We expect the horn playing in the scherzo to be stunning, and so it is, but the music also has grace, charm, and plenty of atmosphere at an appropriately relaxed basic tempo that, as you can hear, leaves plenty of space for the big moments to expand.

The one controversial element in
Read more this performance, at least by today’s standards, is the very, very slow tempo for the Adagietto: a bit more than twelve minutes. It’s gorgeously played and beautifully sustained. I don’t consider it to be too slow. Within the context of the performance it fits, particularly when the finale has so much contrasting energy and freshness. Sonically, too, this was probably the best of Abbado’s Chicago Mahler recordings, a fine analog effort that was eclipsed by the subsequent rise of mostly awful sounding early digital productions. DG seems to have stopped using SPARS codes on its discs, at least for this reissue, hiding the fact that this is not an original digital production, but that’s all to the good. Surely one of the great Mahler Fifths, this performance represents one of the rare times that Abbado lived up to his potential in a Mahler symphony.

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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 5 in C sharp minor by Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1902; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 71 Minutes 5 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Symphony No.5 in C sharp minor: 1. Trauermarsch (In gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie ein Kondukt - Plötzlich schneller. Leidenschaftlich. Wild - Tempo I)
Symphony No.5 in C sharp minor: 2. Stürmisch bewegt. Mit größter Vehemenz - Bedeutend langsamer - Tempo I subito
Symphony No.5 in C sharp minor: 3. Scherzo (Kräftig, nicht zu schnell)
Symphony No.5 In C Sharp Minor: 4. Adagietto (Sehr langsam)
Symphony No.5 in C sharp minor: 5. Rondo-Finale (Allegro)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Smelling The Roses March 26, 2015 By owen  r. (lakewood, CA) See All My Reviews "During the first few movements Abbado strides purposefully down the path laid by Mahler. However along the way he saunters off the path to smell the roses (possibly somewhere around the adagietto). In doing so he seems to lose his momentum. I played this disc a number of times savoring it through the scherzo but losing my focus after that. I won't say that this ls not a good performance, it certainly has its moments of glorious playing.I will say that this is an excellent recording showing the Chicago Symphony at its best (ooh, those horns). For now my favorite Mahler Fifths are: Bernstein/Vienna Phil.(DG) and Karajan/BPO (DG) followed by Barbarolli/New Phil. (EMI). Giving equal weight to both performance and sound quality, I think top pick goes to Karajan's 1973 recording on DG's ''originals'' issue." Report Abuse
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