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Mahler: Symphony No 1: Janacek: Sinfonietta / Kubelik, Vienna Po

Release Date: 01/13/2009 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 93188   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gustav MahlerLeos Janácek
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MAHLER Symphony No. 1. JANÁ?EK Sinfonietta & Rafael Kubelík, cond; Vienna PO BRILLIANT 93188, mono (77:43)

& Recording session extract

Rafael Kubelík recorded Mahler’s First Symphony in 1967 with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra as part of a series on DG of the complete symphonies. That recording is Read more often regarded as one of the finest on disc, and it has appeared in several reissues on CD, most recently in the Originals series coupled with the Wayfarer Songs sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Thirteen years earlier, the conductor made his first recordings for the Decca label, and it is those recordings that are reissued here. (The occasion is memorialized in the extract from the sessions included on this CD, wherein musicians and the producer express the hope that conductor and orchestra will have a long association.)

The performance of the Mahler Symphony is different in some details, but very similar overall to its later representation. The first movement is marginally more quickly paced, and the offstage brass fanfares are (understandably) less effective in the mono format. But the VPO sounds splendid, and the sound is quite good for tapes of this vintage: hiss is virtually non-existent and instrumental definition is surprisingly clear; only the bass end is deficient.

The Janá?ek Sinfonietta is also a pleasure to hear in these hands: brash, animated, and expertly performed (Marc Mandel, writing about this performance in 28:2, felt that the VPO wasn’t the best band for this work). Only the splendor of the Vienna brass is shortchanged, absent the spacious acoustic of stereo as captured a few years later in this same venue for Solti’s Ring cycle. (Mandel, too, noted the absence of stereo, memorably suggesting that “only black-and-white was being provided where Technicolor was truly wanted.”)

FANFARE: Christopher Abbot
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 1 in D major "Titan" by Gustav Mahler
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888/1896 
Notes: Composition written: Leipzig, Germany (1888).
Composition revised: Germany (1896). 
Sinfonietta by Leos Janácek
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Brno, Czech Republic 

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