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Notes and Editorial Reviews
What an odd coupling: Mahler's Fourth and Eighth symphonies. One can imagine the First and Second or the Fifth and Sixth or the Ninth and Tenth together, but the Fourth and Eighth stand apart in Mahler's symphonic canon -- apart from everything else and apart from each other. The Fourth is his most lightly scored symphony -- no trombones! -- while the Eighth is his most heavily scored symphony -- it's not called "The Symphony of a Thousand" for nothing. The Fourth is light and witty and floats up to heaven on the wings of a song. The Eighth is heavy and earnest and storms the gates of paradise with wave after wave of counterpoint. The Fourth is for fun. The Eighth is for keeps.
But whether they belong together or
not, Mahler's Fourth and Eighth are joined here in EMI's Great Recordings of the Century series with Klaus Tennstedt leading the London Philharmonic and, in the Eighth, a veritable host of others. Whether the recordings are of Tennstedt's 1983 Fourth and 1987 Eighth rather than, say, his thrilling Fifth or his blazing First, is somewhat beside the point. All the performances in Tennstedt's complete Mahler cycle were admired in their time for their endless power, their boundless glory, and their infinite spirit, and this Fourth and Eighth are certainly representative of the conductor at his best. His Fourth sings, soars, and surges with a delectable Lucia Popp in the heavenly finale while his Eighth is just as strong and dramatic as the best contemporary recordings, plus his has a drive and a flexibility that many of even the best lack. Recorded in EMI's plushest sound, these performances will serve to introduce listeners unfamiliar with Tennstedt to the series of recordings for which he is deservedly best remembered. But listeners who enjoy these performances are likely to want to check out the remainder of Tennstedt's Mahler, too.
-- James Leonard, AllMusic.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 4 in G major by Gustav Mahler
Lucia Popp (Soprano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1892-1900; Vienna, Austria
Symphony no 8 in E flat major "Symphony of A Thousand" by Gustav Mahler
Edith Wiens (Soprano),
Jorma Hynninen (Baritone),
Elizabeth Connell (Soprano),
Nadine Denize (Alto),
Trudeliese Schmidt (Alto),
Richard Versalle (Tenor),
Hans Sotin (Bass),
David Hill (Organ)
London Philharmonic Orchestra,
Tiffin School Boys Chorus,
London Philharmonic Choir
Written: 1906; Vienna, Austria
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Wonderful Memories February 4, 2013
By S. Kowal (Boston,, MA) See All My Reviews
"Thank you for reviving my memories of concerts at the Boston Symphony performances that propelled his fame in the US etc. Seeing him with the long arms extended outside his jacket sleeves and instead of listening to a usually ordinary performing of the Ozawa orchestra, they reached out to him, simply changed, and soared with all their innate beauty and talent so one was riveted to the music. And it happens in these recordings even if I cannot see him I hear him again with the same alive soaring sound from every one of the instrumentalists and singers. I was rewarded by seeing him and listening to these recordings simply brings him back. I find them on a par with both Bernstein recordings in NY and Vienna especially for the clarity of the phrasing and dynamic qualities. No one seems to want to 'let go'."