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Mahler - Symphony No. 2

Jim Taylor

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Yes, that's the one. HDtracks shows the release date as '63

I like Schwarzkopf very much. The quality of the recording, however, is not so great. That was something that you had said was important to you, wasn't it? Jim
 
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Rotiv

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Mahler:symphony no. 2 Eliahu Inbal Radio-sinfonie orchestra Frankfurt.

Great performence, excellent recording
 

FrantzM

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I wouldn't recommend anything but Boulez. Have a look at his prologue in Bruno Walter's book on Mahler. His capacity of being objective with Mahler's music unleashes all its power and significance. One the best, and easy to listen, examples is the 4th's first movement. He fully succeeds in exposing all the ambiguity that makes this music eternal, just taking everything to the maximum, without adding nor subtracting anything, just the music. In my book, Boulez's Mahler integral it's on the top of most relevant contributions to music ever.
I second or third or fourth, the Boulez recommendations.

One interesting thing about the live performance of Mahler #2, is there is a movement where horns are off stage, actually, in the back and a bit on each sides of the audience. This cannot be reproduced correctly in 2-channel.
 

Daverz

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I like Schwarzkopf very much. The quality of the recording, however, is not so great. That was something that you had said was important to you, wasn't it? Jim

I listened to this yesterday (the remastering in the Klemperer Mahler box), and it sounds great.

71VucLECECL._SX522_.jpg


A great box. I wouldn't usually go to this 4th (Schwarzkopf is wrong for the finale) and the 7th is something you might only listen to once (very slow tempos), but the 2 and 9 are great, and the Das Lied is probably the greatest recording ever made of it.
 
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Jim Taylor

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I listened to this yesterday (the remastering in the Klemperer Mahler box), and it sounds great.

71VucLECECL._SX522_.jpg


A great box. I wouldn't usually go to this 4th (Schwarzkopf is wrong for the finale) and the 7th is something you might only listen to once (very slow tempos), but the 2 and 9 are great, and the Das Lied is probably greatest recording ever made of it.

I generally don't do re-masters, but I'll give this a listen. Jim
 
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Kal Rubinson

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One interesting thing about the live performance of Mahler #2, is there is a movement where horns are off stage, actually, in the back and a bit on each sides of the audience. This cannot be reproduced correctly in 2-channel.
Certainly. Of course, while multichannel greatly enhances the sonic quality and the experience of it, it is another variable, independent of performance quality.
 

CtheArgie

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I do like the series that the San Francisco Symphony issues. It is originally recorded in DSD but there is a PCM version available too.

 

Kal Rubinson

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I do like the series that the San Francisco Symphony issues. It is originally recorded in DSD but there is a PCM version available too.
This is series, as well as the Fischer/BFO series on Channel Classics and the incomplete Abbado/Lucerne series on BluRay , greatly benefits from good multichannel reproduction. There are several others, too.
 

fun

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I have the San Francisco Mahler boxed set but have not listened to #2 yet (only #5). I have the discs, and the system, just need the time...
I don't have other Mahler #2 to compare in terms of performance and interpretation, but the recording quality of the Mahler #2 SACD by SFO/Tilson is amazing. The sound is spacious, the timbres of the orchestra is natural, and the dynamics is huge. The Mahler #1 SACD by Telarc/Zander is also spectacular.
 

jcarys

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Well, you obviously have a rich list to go through by now. One of the very first CDs (yes, Compact Disc) that I bought was the Telarc recording from 1982 with Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony, so it's still a favorite. These days I'm also more of a multichannel listener, so I can recommend the Osmo Vanska/Minneapolis on Bis, Michael Tilson Thomas/SF on their own label, and Fischer/Budapest FO on Channel. Have fun.
 
OP
Martini

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So I downloaded two versions, Simon Rattle at BSO w/Baker and Otto Klemperer at Philharmonia w/Schwarzkopf. I listened to Rattle last night and Klemperer today. I will say I liked the Klemperer version better. The Simon Rattle wasn't bad, the sound was better, but after hearing Klemperer, it seemed, well.... a little robotic. Klemperer was a more human. That the best way for me to describe my initial impression. I'd like to get at third just flush things out more and was considering the Jansons RCO, since it sounds like it was well recorded. Also, considering Boulez, Abbado-Lucerne and Jurowski-LSO (saw some good reviews for this) but, I don't currently have a cd/dvd burner and I've only found these available on CD. Also spotted an Ashkenazy at Sydney version, but only see an iTunes availability. I love some of Askenazy's work. He's Rachmaninov-Isle of the Dead and Shostakovich Sym. No. 5 w/RPO are fantastic. Anyone heard his Mahler?
 
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Robin L

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This is sort-of why I was seeking recommendations. I've found that often, with Classical music, that the first version you listen to can color your judgement for subsequent interpretations. So I figure it's best to start with a solid work. Sound-wise, a bad recording can kill a great performance, however a great recording won't save a bad performance.
Leonard Bernstein's third commercial recording, with the New York Philharmonic on DGG, is the recording I have returned to the most often, including many already mentioned here. The sound is more than good enough, Bernstein's way with this work is how I first heard this piece [in the earlier NYPO recording on Columbia, not as good sonically as the DGG recording, but really not bad]. There are plenty of alternate performances that I have enjoyed, but none as much as this one.
 

Kal Rubinson

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So I downloaded two versions Simon Rattle at BSO, with Baker and Otto Klemperer at Philharmonia w/Schwarzkopf. I listened to Rattle last night and Klemperer today. I will say I liked the Klemperer version better.
Agreed. IMHO, it is Rattle's early one with the CBSO that is most interesting, albeit still not at Klemperer's level.
 

Robin L

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Agreed. IMHO, it is Rattle's early one with the CBSO that is most interesting, albeit still not at Klemperer's level.
I remember Rattle conducting the "Resurrection" with the LAPO at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, my first experience of the work in concert. Folks started leaving ten minutes before the climax, doubtlessly to find their way to a bar. This did not happen [many years later] when I was in a front row seat at Davies Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas Leading the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. I wish it was this performance that SFS chose to release, it was one for the ages The SACD is pretty good for those that seek surround sound.
 

JJB70

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Another vote for Bernstein, I also like Tennstedt.

An odd one was Gilbert Kaplan, a wealthy amateur with an obsession for this symphony who pretty much bought his way to conducting it and released his efforts on CD. It sounds like a recipe for a disaster, but I didn't think it was that bad (though neither was it that good).
 
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Martini

Martini

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Agreed. IMHO, it is Rattle's early one with the CBSO that is most interesting, albeit still not at Klemperer's level.
Think that's the Rattle I got..?
rattle-2.1986.jpg

Plus the Klemperer:
klemperer-2.1961.jpg
 

mSpot

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Outstanding recordings have already been recommended, and I'll just add these comments.

If you have a chance to attend a live performance of the Mahler 2nd, don't miss it! Over the years, I've been fortunate to a hear it in concert a few times, and it was always cathartic. A home system doesn't come close to reproducing the experience in a concert hall with full orchestra and chorus.

And finally, don't forget YouTube. There are memorable concert performances to be found. Here is just one (search YouTube for others).

An intense performance by Leonard Bernstein and the London Symphony in Ely Cathedral, 1973. An era when the orchestra was still all men and the soloists (Sheila Armstrong and Janet Baker) in big hair.
 

Presently42

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If ever you're interested in Mahler 7, I strongly recommend Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra's reading of it. I was not terribly fond of the piece, until I heard that performance.

As for Mahler 2, I'd be happy to upload my own recording of Nagano and the OSM performing it - but then you'd be subjected to my terrible tenor croaks! All jokes aside, I think Nagano is a very strong Mahlerian conductor, and lament not being able to acquire recordings of him with the OSM. The Resurrection symphony is rather special to me; and I had a profound experience whilst rehearsing it the first time. I'm always glad to see others sharing in the power of this piece.
 
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