- CD de audio (15 de septiembre de 2011)
- Ten en cuenta: Necesita un material compatible con Super Audio CD
- Número de discos: 17
- Formato: Cofre, CD, Sonido digital, SACD Híbrido - DSD, Super audio CD - DSD
- Sello: San Francisco Symphony
- ASIN: B004WSX6DO
- Valoración media de los clientes: 5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Ver todas las opiniones (1 opinión de cliente)
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon:
Mahler: the Mahler Cycle Cofre, CD, Sonido digital, SACD Híbrido - DSD, Super audio CD - DSD
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The legendary Michael Tilson Thomas-San Francisco Symphony Mahler cycle is presented together for the first time in a 17-Hybrid SACD box set, with a never-before-released bonus of mezzo-soprano Susan Graham singing Rückert Lieder accompanied by MTT at the piano. The foremost Mahler cycle of our time, by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, is brought together for the first time in a single package: a magnificent collection of 17 Hybrid SACDs enclosed in elegant gatefold digi-packs and housed in a stylish and compact box set. In addition to all of Mahler's Symphonies and the Songs with Orchestra, the set includes the first ever release of mezzo-soprano Susan Graham singing Rückert Lieder accompanied by Michael Tilson Thomas at the piano. The release coincides with the 100th anniversary of Mahler's death on 18 May, as well as the Symphony's European tour to such cultural capitals as Barcelona, Brussels, Luxembourg, Madrid, Paris, Prague and Vienna. The MTT-SFS Mahler series has sold over 130,000 units worldwide, earned international critical acclaim, and received seven Grammy's and a Gramophone Award. This new presentation is an efficient and affordable way to acquire Mahler's entire orchestral output by the composer's most notable modern-day interpreters. Critical acclaim: "Viewed in its entirety, [Michael Tilson Thomas's Mahler cycle with the San Francisco Symphony] has yielded distinguished results and is distinctive for its deft combination of lean sonority, clean playing, clear recording, probing insights and characterization." - BBC Music Magazine Personnel: San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor, piano), Susan Graham (mezzo-soprano) and others
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I have a fairly good sound system: GoldenEar Triton Ones, and GE all around in a Auro-3d config, Bryston Amps, Oppo 105, Velodyne HGS 18 x2, Audioquest cabling throughout, Bryston pre for 2ch music, Marantz 8802a for 2-3ch or surround music/movies. Was in the AV world for many years; not ultrahigh end but great sound!
I once went to one of the performances of the 7th symphony that led up to the recording offered in this set. At the time, the sound of the SFSO struck me as being a, 'concerto for trumpets with Broadway pit band accompaniment'. The recording of the 7th strikes me much the same way. That's not to mention the several interpretive pitfalls that MTT slips into, such as taking the first movement at a racing tempo that is faster than most of the finale. On top of the that, the first Nachtmusik (second movement) has absolutely zero atmosphere going for it. But this is just one example. As I see it, the main problem is MTT's desire to impose a personal interpretive viewpoint on Mahler that often times results in being anything but fully convincing - a desire to basically out-Bernstein Bernstein.
MTT's unwillingness to allow Mahler's music to speak for itself reaches its zenith in his recording of the 8th symphony, taken from a more recent performance that falls far afield of the outstanding and monumental M8 that he had given in S.F. in 1991. In fact, in both cases where MTT has recorded a Mahler symphony previously - M3 and M7, both with the London Symphony - the earlier efforts are far preferable from an interpretive standpoint (granted, not so in terms of orchestral execution and recording quality). By the way, the 8th comes with a 10th symphony Adagio (no 'completed' 10th here) that is not only slack in tempo, but contains a climactic passage that fails to make much of impression at all. There's more.
In many cases, the scherzo movements fail to have any frightening or nervous qualities about them - they're just 'there' (scherzo of M6 and the Rondo-Burlesque from M9 come to mind). Slow movements are often times taken at extremely slow tempi that just come off as slack. In the 4th symphony, MTT's slow movement reaches out to nearly 25 minutes (it works just fine at 20 or 21). In the 6th symphony - a slow movement which is marked "andante moderato", not adagio - he stretches out to nearly 19 minutes. Much was made about Laura Claycomb's singing in the finale of M4, but notice how she consistently sings her dotted eighth/sixteenth note figures as triplets, thus depriving that finale of the joyous enthusiasm of a youth who, through death, now has plenty of the food and 'fun' that he was deprived of on earth. It should have an almost yodeling quality about it. There needs to be an outdoors-y freshness to it, and that's simply lacking here. It's too cozy from the start.
In the scherzo movements to both M2 ("Resurrection") and M3, Tilson Thomas exaggerates suspensions in time that Mahler had already built into the music (simply by the amount of measures Mahler uses until resolving these 'suspended' sections). In the 3rd symphony, this is particularly true at the 'harmonic cadence points' at the end of each Posthorn episode (offstage trumpet) - the junctures where a pair of onstage horns join the offstage trumpet in bringing the harmonies back to the tonic chord. That's a lot of fancy explaining of where I'm talking about, but the point is that MTT truly puts on the breaks at these junctures.
Yes, there's plenty of vocal music provided with this set, but much of it is sub-standard. The finale of the "Kindertotenlieder" (Im diesem Wetter) with Michelle DeYoung has nothing to it that's imposing, much less truly frightening. Thomas Hampson sounds a bit worn in "Das Lied von der Erde", and simply barks his way through the rough-hewed, male oriented songs from "Des Knaben Wunderhorn". That also begs the question: why not a complete "DKW"? The best vocal performance comes from the much missed Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in the "Resurrection" symphony - she's truly outstanding, and genuinely steals the show in that particular performance. Oddly enough, the very best item in the entire cycle is the early cantata, "Das Klagende Lied", a recording which was made under the supervision of RCA nearly a full decade before the the other recordings in the set (hence, it's basically an SACD reissue of the RCA version). Mahler 5 and 9 are also pretty good, as they're free of the many interpretive excesses to be witnessed in the other performances.
Going back to the 8th symphony, there is some good singing involved, particularly from the women in the cast. But tenor Anthony Dean Griffey is pretty hard to take, and bass-baritone James Morris has certainly seen better days, vocally speaking. Worst of all - aside from the massive ritardandos and unsolicited pauses in Part II - is that there is nearly zero organ in the concluding "Chorus Mysticus" and orchestral postlude (and voila! - Davies Hall's magnificent Ruffatti organ is there, in all its glory, in the MTT/SFSO recording of Copland's "Organ Symphony").
In the final analysis, this is is not by any means a terrible Mahler cycle. Certainly any novice will learn his/her Mahler from it. Audiophiles will get a thrill from its 5.1 surround sound capabilities. But neither does it knock down other complete Mahler cycles available in a convenient box, the best being Bernstein (Sony and DG), Riccardo Chailly (Decca), Gary Bertini (EMI) and even Simon Rattle (EMI). In terms of the vocals that are provided, better still is EMI's box of "Mahler, The Complete Works", using cuts from many of the best performances in EMI's vast back-catalog. For far less money, I would start there first.
Starting with the most superficial feature, the sound is absolutely incredibly, the finest engineered recordings of any type of music I have ever heard in 40+ years of listening to music. From the very start of this project, the Symphony and the engineers took great care with the recordings, building a mic rig that hangs over the orchestra on stage (these are all live recordings, each edited together from a series of three of four performances of each piece). The result is a field that places the listener pretty much where MTT is at the podium, the orchestra coming across with physical power, wide and deep range and the kind of clarity that I had previously only experienced in the concert hall.
This superior sound reveals the kind of details that show the music-making to be even greater. MTT is a great musician with a great understanding of Mahler's technical means and emotional aims. He is an interpreter, guiding the music to a particular general area of meaning, hardly ever willfully, though, almost always with the context of what Mahler provides in the score (the one exception is noteworthy, however, and worthwhile). While the interpretations fall into an idiomatic context, there is tremendous freshness, even new thinking. The Symphony No. 9 is a great example of this: it's accepted that the music moves towards a dissipation that has a direct connection to the contemplation of death, but with this conductor the music takes on a larger, more mysterious concept, that of the universality and inevitability of entropy, on essentially a cosmic scale. MTT adds a richer intellectual dimension to the piece than almost anyone else, rivaling and, depending on your inclination, exceeding the political-historical context of Bruno Walter's live Vienna recording. This recording of the symphony is one of the greatest.
There is no set, even the complete compilations, that is OMIGODFIVESTARSULTRA! in every moment, throughout. This box is no exception, but the overall level of the music means that the performances range from excellent to the very finest musical and intellectual explorations of Mahler put on disc. A brief run down would be:
- Symphony No. 1; arguably the finest, with great pace, exceptional phrasing throughout, it sings all the way through
- Symphony No. 2: beautiful and powerful, though oddly lacking the intensity that I experienced live in the hall
- Symphony No. 3: The best, cogent, coherent, a sustained line throughout. MTT is able to build tension, lyricism and release in the long, ungainly first movement
- Symphony No. 4: The best, and one of the finest Mahler recordings ever made, incredibly beautiful
- Symphony No. 5: Excellent, going from searing wildness to great beauty, tranquility and joy
- Symphony No. 6: The best, and very special. The first in the project, this was recording the week of 9/11, and the music-making has a dark, deep intensity to it, saved from hysteria and brought to humanity by an understandably wrenching Adagio take on the third movement
- Symphony No. 7: The best, again MTT makes something gripping and coherent out of this mystery of a piece
- Symphony No. 8: Arguably the best, completely magnificent and dramatic
- Symphony No. 9: See above
- Das Lied von der Erde: For tenor and baritone, a combination that rarely works but does here, magnificently
The box inclues his earlier recording of Das Klagende Lied, one of the best of its kind, as well as the remaining orchestral songs. The care put into all the music is obvious, every note in the orchestra is directed towards conveying meaning, every phrase, accompaniment and transition has been thought through, every line is not just played but shaped from beginning to end, the musical constantly flows along Mahler's path of fecund expression and craft. Some things are worth spending money on, and while again this is no bargain, it is absolutely worth it. The very best.