Next on the list for Mahler....

Now that I have heard (and now own) the Mahler Symphony #1 and #2, any recommendations from this composer? I would like somthing with great sound and performance in Vinyl ....please.
Rick (RWD)
I have been listening to the Mahler #3 recently with Jascha Hornstein conducting the London Symphony along with The Ambrosian Singers, Norma Proctor (contralto), and The Wadsworth School Boys Choir on the Nonesuch label (HB-73023), a 2 LP set. Great performance and very good recording as well.
I have Horenstein Mahler #3 on CD/Unicorn . A fine performance indeed.
Kindertotenlieder (DG 138 879), sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is a 'must have' LP in my book

Das Lied Von Der Erde is another beautiful piece. The LP version on DG (2535 184) w/Nan Merriman is beautiful, but the best I've heard is unfortunately a fairly lo-fi live recording CD: Carlos Kleiber conducting, Christa Ludwig soprano, on 'Exclusive ex92t53'. The version of 'The Farewell' on this CD is amazing.
Which Mahler symphony is his most famous? And what is the best vinyl recording of it...both sonics and performance.
Thanks to all.
The Mahler Symphony No. 3 that Slipknot mentions would be my recommendation for your next experience with Mahler. After that, I'd recommend you listen to the Sym No. 8 and then the No. 6. Recommendations for these are:

Sym No. 3: Horenstein/LSO, Nonesuch (originally issued on Unicorn)

Sym No. 8: Solti/CSO, Decca/London

Sym No. 6: Horentstein/StockholmSO, Nonesuch | or Solti/CSO Decca/London.

Each of the recommendations above are excellent performances with very good sonics.

The most famous Mahler Symphonies are probably Nos. 2 and 8. The most accessible are probably Nos. 1 and 3. For the Symphony No. 2, it's hard to go wrong with Solti/LPO on Decca/London (which I find preferable to the Mehta and several others).

Good luck in your explorations!
Tennstadt on EMI in the 5th would be a good next step. Many consider this to be Mahlers' greatest (I don't) but its certainly easy to make a connection with it. I have also enjoyed the 7th by Levine on RCA. This Symphony is way different than the 5th but is also very assessible.

Great vinyl sound and Mahler is a tough task, especially when you add in performance as well. Drop the great sonics part and you'll get a lot more recommendations, such as Bernstein and the NYPO, etc.

If you really get the bug, open your mind to some digital....there is some great Mahler in the little pits.

Re other Mahler Symphonies for the newbie, Save 3, 6, and 9 for later. 3 will likely lose your attention - its long and beautiful but not overly dramatic. The 4th is OK but the heavens just don't part. For many its an easy introduction to Mahler, beautiful vocals though. 6 is in my estimation his greatest, but its a tough listen 'til Mahler gets in your blood. #9 is probably best after you have at least digested #5. All IMHO of course.
I agree with Newbee that 3 might be a little difficult to digest for starters. 4 is very pretty and easy to follow, the EMI re-issue from Testament with Klemperer is excellent. My personal Mahler odyssey took me from 1 to 2 to 5, then 6, so I'd suggest either the 5th or 6th for your next symphony. The 5th is a very accessible symphony with the famous and beautiful adagietto movement in it and very dramatic. On vinyl I like the Solti interpretation on London/Decca, but don't get the Super Analog Disc re-issue, it's far too bass heavy (and if you still have the Betas it'll drive you nuts). I'll defer to others on the other symphonies on vinyl, but I would save 9 for last, and remember when you listen to it that it was written by a man who knew his end was near, makes it that much more moving.

And I agree with Newbee, particularly on SACD with the Tilson-Thomas/SFO and Zander/Philharmonia cycles, there is a lot of Mahler on digital that is superb, both sonically and interpretively.
My favorite Mahlers (on vinyl) but listed numerically, not in the order of listening preference.:

Sym. #1: Carlo Maria Giulini / Chicago Symphony / Angel
Performance ***** Sonics ***** I always use this
this recording to introduce people to Mahler ;~)

Erich Leinsdorf / BSO / RCA Red Seal Dynagroove
Excellent, not boring, but not the Giulini!

Sym. #2: "Ressurection"
O. Klemperer / E. Schwarzkopf / Philharmonia /
Angel -- Great sonics, and Elizabeth Schwarzkopf
makes it worth listening to the end.

Sym. #3. Leonard Bernstein / NYPO / Lipton / Colombia
An excellent recording, frenzied with lots of
dynamics. Bernstein's kind of music, so he's
able to keep it from falling apart ;~)

Sym. #4 James Levine / Chicago Symphony / Judith Blegen
RCA Red Seal. -- Coming from opera (ie a drama
queen like Erich Leinsdorf ;~) Levine is
perfectly suited to this piece, and the singing
is excellent and excellently recorded.

George Szell / Judith Raskin / Cleveland Sym Orch
Columbia. This one is a tough call compared to
the Levine. The Levine is modest perfection,
the Szell is grand spectacle. Take your pick.

Sym. #5 Rafael Kubelik / Bayerischen Sym Orch / DGG
Excellent, but the "bonus" on the second record
is Songs of a Wayfarer sung by D. Fischer-Dieskau
which is worth the ticket.

Erich Leinsdorf / BSO / RCA Red Seal Dynagroove
IMO, Leinsdorf, like Ormandy, is soooooo very
competant, and like Ormandy, has such a great
orchestra behind him. One can sometimes imagine
their performances are artful and passionate.
Usually I can snap out of it. Phyllis Curtin's
bonus side, Excerpts from Wozzeck, is great for
Alban Berg fans.

Sym. #9 Rafael Kubelik / Bayerischen Sym Orch / DGG
Excellent recording. Good performance (ie it
won't put you to sleep,) but I didn't get it.
There must be better.
There's a Columbia LP that you might be able to find of Mahler song cycles (they are wonderful), sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau with Leonard Bernstein on piano. These cycles are usually performed with singer and orchestra, but Mahler wrote them orginally for piano accompaniment. Anyhow, the LP sounds sensational on my system--warmer and with more presence than the CD version.

Also, look for a used 70's vintage DG LP of Fischer-Dieskau singing some of the same song cycles with orchestra, Karl Boehm conducting. The sonics aren't as good, but the performances are first rate.
Mahler's 5th symphony is my favorite. Riccardo Chailly on Decca. This recording is just awesome as far as quality. Performance is very good as well. Bu if you want the best performance of it(but it also happens to be the worst recording quality), try Mahler's 5th by Bruno Walter and New York Philharmonics orchestra. Most emotional, but again, worst quality recording. I think it's even in mono.

Also, if you're into this kind of music, Shostakovich's 5th symphony is great. My highest recommendation after Mahler's 5th.......Enjoy
Be careful with Bernstein and the NY Phil. Lenny's interpretation can't quite overcome the sloppy technique and bad intonation.

Check out Bernstein's recordings with the Vienna Philharmonic on DG. Symph #5 with Songs of a Wayfarer would be a wonderful place to start.

All of Mahler's symphonies have something wonderful to offer. Taking the time to explore them all will be very rewarding. 2, 3, 4, and 5 are my favs.
Also find the vinyl Mahler 7 with Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia Orchestra on British EMI (i.e., don't get the US Angel or German Electrola vinyl pressings). The CD also sounds quite good.

While this may be Mahler's least popular symphony, it is a masterpiece. Klemperer's way is quirky and eccentric, but my favorite. Listen to it several times and you won't want to play the versions of other conductors. He brings out the beauty, angst and mystery of the first movement like no other. The "nactmusik" movements do indeed envoke the mystery and enchantment of the night. Other conductors tend to gloss over this music with too fast tempos, as if they can't quite figure out what Mahler was trying to say.

The sonics are simply knock out quality and come closer to a live concert hall experience than most classical recordings.

The orchestra is amazing in its virtuosity and tonal beauty. In its heyday, it was in a small handful of the world's finest orchestras.

Can't recommend highly enough.
I’ve been a Mahler buff for 40 years, have many Mahler recordings and have heard many Mahler live performances, so I’ll take a shot at your question. You’ve already got the First and Second, so we go from there. The most popular Mahler symphony, and the most accessible one, is the Fourth. It’s also the gentlest, most lyrical, and least bombastic, perhaps the most tuneful, and certainly very beautiful. (The First and Fourth are the shortest ones, and the only ones that could be gotten onto a single LP.) So I’d recommend the Fourth as your next acquisition. (The First, Second, and Fourth are normally recommended as the best introduction to Mahler.) Next I’d recommend the Ninth, and after that the Fifth. Beyond those outstanding symphonies, I’d say all the Mahler symphonies have their own beauties and power—with the exception, for me, of Seven and Eight, which I’ve always found the weakest, least inspired of the nine completed symphonies (the Eighth in particular to my ears seems to be trying to make up in elephantine scale and bombast what it lacks in true inspiration, but that’s just one man’s opinion).

I’m a CD guy so can’t comment on the best versions available in vinyl today, but two superb analog recordings of the Fourth that were issued on vinyl are the Szell/Cleveland from 1965, a classic, and the Solti/Concertgebouw from 1961 (not his digital remake with Chicago). The Szell/Cleveland always had considerably better sound than the norm from Columbia in the 1960’s, and the Solti/Concertgebouw was engineered by the great Kenneth Wilkinson and has wonderful sound; if you can find it, it’s a gem. I will simply add that the best-sounding Mahler symphony recording I’ve ever heard from an audiophile point of view is the Chailly/Concertgebouw performance of the Ninth on Decca, recorded in the Concertgebouw in 2004; stunning sound and also a magnificent performance. The Das Lied von der Erde is also indispensable; it and the Ninth are Mahler’s indisputable late, crowning masterpieces. The greatest recording of it is the Bruno Walter/Vienna Philharmonic/Kathleen Ferrier version from 1952 (monaural), unlikely to be surpassed as a performance, but inevitably showing its age sonically. (It’s been successfully remastered in Decca’s “Legends” series of remastered CDs.) Happy listening.
I agree with Texasdave that the 4th Symphony is a good next step. Along with the Szell he recommends, I suggest trying to find the Paul Kletzki/Philharmonia Orchestra version from 1958, last seen on LP on the Seraphim label. I used to own that disk and it sounded pretty good sonically (not as good as the Szell though), but it's gone now. Now I have it on CD (Royal) coupled with Mahler's 1st. Musically, they are both classic performances, but the 4th in particular is truly outstanding.
I would add on the list the cycle of songs Des Knaben Wunderhorn. I think, one of the best version is Szell, Schwarzkopf, Diskau and Cleveland SO. This cycle of songs is a key to understand motives of Mahler, and helps to understand also its first symphonies. Also a great introduction as i has a lighter texture than the symphonies.
What about Mahler's Symphony No.1 on vinyl. Any idea which version to hunt for? How is this Solti recording? Any good?
Thanks for the ideas.....

The fifth probably is his most popular. Get that one next.

Then 4, 6, 9 (no particular order)

Then 3, 8, 7.

The seventh is his most abstract symphony; hardest to warm up to, I think.

Sorry I can't help with vinyl, I'm strictly a CD guy.

Your post reminds me of when we went up to Cincinnati to hear them do the Second. My wife, who didn't really know the piece, was dumbfounded, mouth gaping open and goosebumps up and down her arms.

Steve O.
Audphile1, for the Mahler Symphony No. 1 on vinyl, I can recommend the Horenstein/LSO performance on Unicorn RHS 301 (also reissued on Nonesuch, I believe), and the Solti/LSO performance on Decca SXL 6113 (Speakers Corner reissue) that you referenced in your post. These are very different performances, both good and in good sound.
Rushton, thanks. I'll check out Solti/LSO recording probably.
Agree with Rushton, the Solti reissue is quite good quality, both recording and perormance.
If you want something so beautiful, it will make your heart weep, try the Solti recording of Das Lied von der Erde.
There is a superb DECCA 12 CD Box set of Mahlers syphonys 1-10, Richard Chailly superbly conducting, available at a super budget price. For about $30 you can listen to them all and then decide which you want to concentrate finding specific LP's of. I'm sure you will be pleased as these are excellent musically & sonically. Cheers & good luck.
Just checked on Amazon and the 12 CD box set Is now $95.98 new and from $52.88 used. Bit of a price hike, but If Its good It maybe worth It.
I feel that Chailly's style suits Mahler's work very well.
Chailly does an excellent job on the 2nd, 3rd and 5th. These are the works that stand out in this particular set. However, the rest of the set is really good as well.