I have Kaplan's 1st recording of the M2 - I think its amazing, considering that Kaplan is not a professional musician, that he could come up with this kind of performance. That said, I find the performance itself unexciting. It has only been listened to a couple of times. My interpertation of the reviews that I have read about the new VPO version is that the recording may be better but that the performance itself isn't all that much, albiet some, different. In view of the many outstanding 2nd's available, I've had no interest in acquiring a 2d Kaplan. Sorry to sound negative..............
I have the recording, wasn't enthralled by it the first time around, but need to listen to it again at a louder volume (as any Mahler needs) before I can really say anything definitive. Interpretively it is very similar to his first recording, though a bit more polished as Kaplan has gotten better as a conductor and the VPO is a superb orchestra. Sonically it was OK, though I felt the Delos recording with Litton and the Dallas was superior sonically in terms of sounding like what you'd hear in a live performance. I've never been a fan of DG's recording style, but in this case, given Kaplan's hands-on approach to the piece and recording, the use of multi-miking and EQ may actually serve as a benefit, if you agree with Kaplan's interpretation--you might not hear it as you would in a concert hall, but the highlighting of particular instruments may make the performance more compelling. I'm awaiting the Tilson-Thomas and Zander versions on SACD, given the quality of the earlier recordings in their cycles, they may be worthwhile.
I am not going to pay full price for new Kaplan/DG, every review I ahve read prefers the original Kaplan/Conifer (which I do already own) These are my preferred CD versions to date:
Bernstein/Sony (prefer this to newer DG version)
Solti/London/CSO (prefer this to earlier LSO version)
Best deal has to be latest remastered Klemperer/EMI Great Recordings of the Century version. Single CD at mid price level, spiritually moving performance but not the last word in dramatic excitement. I had the previous non remastered version and the sound improvement is quite dramatic.
Megasam, if you had to pick just one of the CDs you listed above, which one would it be and why? BTW, I already have the Mehta/Decca and I like it, the entrance of the pipe organ and the very end is simply magnificent! Thanks.
Be patient and wait for the MTT recording to come out on SACD. I attended 2 performances of this concert a few weeks ago and was transported each time. Simply magnificent. I hope the recording will do the performance justice.
The SFS orchestra was in top form. They played as if their lives depend on it. Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson and the chorus were really inspired, Isabelle Bayrakdarian not far behind.
I don't know when the street release is due. From past releases, I estimate may be 6 months.
Yes the new Tilson Thomas Mahler series has gotten much praise, but they are very expensive for some reason. Don't own any currently but someday will have to pick up a couple of the better ones.
The Rattle/EMI may be best overall choice that balances all elements pretty well, downside is that it is still full price 2CD version.
I like plenty of dramatic energy in my Mahler 2 so check the Litton/Delos with outstanding Delos sound and powerful climax that will really impress, very inexpensive 1CD at mid price.
The Solti/London/CSO is also impressively dramatic but only available in complete Solti set.
The Bernstein/Sony has more energy than new Bernstein/DG but sound is slightly thinner and sold as 2CD set with part of 8th symphony......best to get complete Bernstein/Sony set for @$50-60 many places online.
Megasam, I've seen the MTT Mahler cycle available as "blue-line special new" for $12.99 to $14.99 per Hybrid SACD at Amoeba Music.
Gaudio, that's great news! I had assumed the 5th would be next, as the SFO was touring playing that piece earlier this year. Any report on their performances of the 5th in Davies?
Mahler's 9th will be scheduled for September-October then comes the 7th in March'05. They will most likely be recorded.
I heard the 5th about 2 years ago but it was not recorded at the time. SFS will most likely pull out all the stops and program the 8th and 5th together the following year (i.e. 2005-2006) alas.
The 8th and 5th together?
Is the concert being sponsored by Prosac or the psychiatrist's union?
Also, I guarantee you that the musician's union (representing the brass section, in particular) will make a housecall on the SFS. After the players are permanently crippled, the orchestra and Maestro Thomas can start that eagerly awaited Vivaldi cycle.
I find the Kaplan VPO performance overly analytical and therefore boring. There are many other fine performances of the Mahler 2nd - eg, Klemperer (this classic recording is simply amazing for the beauty of sound and performance - be sure you get it in EMI's "Great Performances" series for the improved sound) and Bernstein (check out the London Symphony performance at Ely cathedral)
I bought SACD of this recording two weeks ago. I like it, recroding and performance are both good, very rare! To me, this is one of few that can make audiophile and music lover happy. This is the only SACD Mahler I like in terms of performance so far. Although living in bay area, I have to say that VPO is better than SFO. Somehow, MTT's M? never really touches me as the praise promised. If you don't care so much about good recording and wanted to be touched in the heart, I recommend Walter, Klelmperer, Barbirolli,...
Mahler fans can consider symphonies performed by Klaus Tennstedt and the London Philharmonic. I find Tennstedt's performances to have a correct balance of passion for life, bitterness, fright of death, melancholy, frustration, loss, and love.
Benjamin Zander's performances on the Telarc label have additional CDs where the conductor explains the background and technical aspects of the compositions, which function as great tools for learning Mahler's music.
Tennstedt's cycle is unfortunately saddled with some of the early digital sound that, in spots, has made my nose bleed. It's unfortunate because his performances, I agree, have many outstanding qualities.
Another conductor to mention is Sinopoli. His cycle is extremely well performed and the sound, in particular the 3rd, is spectacular.
Whether the psychotic (Bernstein) or the psychiatrist (Sinopoli), you can find much to enjoy in their Mahler interpretations.
I almost recently purhased the Tennstedt/EMI Mahler 3/4 at budget price which is supposed to be one of the best 2CD sets from complete cycle.....but held off. Been curious to hear his Mahler style.
Checked my Mahler 2 collection to see if there are any other ones that should be mentioned here. There is another Klemperer/EMI (Klemperer Legacy) Mahler 2 that is remastered live version of 1965 concert. I prefer the sound of studio GROTC version however which has more dynamic range especially deep bass. The live version does have more energy in performance, but need the power projected by studio version.
I am not a big Walter fan but do have his famous Walter/Sony Mahler 1/2 set, good to have to show other end of performance spectrum with relaxed spacious reading. (though I prefer the more energetically charged performances.)
I wasn't going to give specific recommendations, but since thats the way the thread has been going - -
Two performances that have not been mentioned, but which are excellent, and which are clearly different views of how this symphony should be performed, are Abbado's 1976 performance with the CSO and Slatkins with the SLSO on Telarc.In my view Abbado does every thing right with good a good soloist and chorus to match. This is a performance that excites! The Slatkin performance is much different, i.e. much more like Walter, more lyrical and in much better sound (than Walter).
I agree re the quality of Tennstadt as a Mahlerian in general, its just too bad the recording quality of his performances on CD's isn't better.