Customer Reviews for: Bernstein - The Mahler Symphonies

4 Reviews in Total
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 Magnificent Mahler November 28, 2015
By owen  ryan (lakewood, CA) -- See All My Reviews
Except for Sony's 1999 SACD release of the Bernstein/NYPO Mahler's First, Columbia's marginal '60s audio kept me from acquiring further works in this series. These new remasterings by Andreas K. Meyer are nothing short of sensational. The same could be said of these Bernstein/NYPO performances. Outstanding in this collection are Symphonies 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 9. Bernstein did not seem to have a firm grip on the Fourth's structure resulting in a lack of coherency. The Fifth is ok but Bernstein's DG recording with the Vienna Phil. Is a better performance (but a poorer recording). To me, the Eighth seems more operatic than symphonic---not one of my favorites. In any case, the Solti/CSO offering on Decca is preferable. Despite my reservations on the 4th, 5th, and 8th, I strongly recommend this box set for the other six symphonies; they will take you deep into the magical, mysterious and wonderous sound- world of Mahler. This is a must-have! Report Abuse

 Still crazy (and in much better sound) after all  December 10, 2013
By Paul Breslin (Evanston, IL) -- See All My Reviews
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and recordings were made of vinyl, I discovered Mahler largely through these performances, with some help from Georg Solti (a blazing 6th early in his Chicago tenure)and Jascha Horenstein (the dim Vox recordings of 1 and 9, the LSO recordings of 1,3, and 4). So I bought this Mahler cycle in its earlier reissue (Sony 89499) and thought it pretty satisfactory, as remasterings of 1960s recordings go, but a bit coarse-grained and muddy compared with the best reissues of recordings form that era. (It doesn't exactly duplicate this box--no "Das Lied von der Erde," but it offers songs done by Jennie Tourel and Janet Baker). I sprung for this new reissue because several reviewers said the sound had been much improved--and they were not wrong. Bernstein's projection of Mahler's almost manic intensity comes through loud and clear. More importantly, one can now appreciate his acute ear for the more delicate, chamber-music-like passages, when only a few of the 100+ people on stage are actually playing. Mahler's music encompasses extremes of grandeur and intimacy, and you can hear both in this remastering. There's a consensus that Bernstein's DG remakes of the 1st and 5th are better than his first efforts; fortunately, those are still available separately on a midpriced Arkiv double CD (with Thomas Hampson's "Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen as well). There's also consensus that Bernstein's use of a boy soprano in the DG 4th was ill-advised. I've heard the DG 2nd and 3rd; I prefer the Sony 2nd and would call it a draw in the 3rd. If you want Bernstein for "Das Lied von der Erde," supplement this set with his recording with James King and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau singing the alto part an octave down (an option, if memory serves, that was sanctioned by Mahler. It's one of the great ones. Report Abuse

 a comprehensive Mahler to own and cherish  December 10, 2013
By J. Tatnall (West Grove, PA) -- See All My Reviews
Surprisingly I am coming to most of these performances for the first time, (7th and 8th the exceptions). I have many Mahler sets: Gergiev, Zinmzn, Boulez, and admire those symphonies conducted by Klemperer and Barbiroli, and several from Solti and Levine. I also have the 2nd Mahler go round of Bernstein with various orchestras. As fine as all of these are, this first Bernstein series for Columbia from the 60s seems to be of a mindset bent on proclamation: "Here is Mahler, a composer for our time." It works; it is still Bernstein full of his subjectivity, but without a look backward. These are forward moving. The sound is rich and full, even the 8th recorded in London to make use of massed choirs and organ, which give a perspective of distance. These are going to be performances I will return to again and again. Report Abuse

 This is the edition to own May 2, 2013
By Mary Lynn H. (San Antonio, TX) -- See All My Reviews
This set could be only one anyone would ever need. The remastering is spectacular. The sound couldn't be better. The exception is Symphony 8 which isn't on par with the rest. The 7th is amazing. I've heard some of the DG recordings of Bernstein but these are just better for me. This is a set to savor. Report Abuse

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