Thread: Your favorite Mahler cycle

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Post by Luukas February 15, 2015 (1 of 64)
Here is my favorite Mahler cycle with various conductors and orchestras. Titles marked * aren't SACDs, only normal CDs.

1) Symphony No. 1 in D major "Titan"
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariss Jansons (RCO Live)
"This is flawless live performance from Concertgebouw's Great Concert Hall. Mariss Jansons, the orchestra's chief conductor, brings this music to life".

2) Symphony No. 2 in C minor "Resurrection"
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Klaus Tennstedt (LPO)*
"Mahler's Second Symphony is my own favorite and this is truly the greatest recording ever! Tennstedt's long career with Mahler's music really sounds from here. Touching listening experience; especially the long finale is breathtaking".

3) Symphony No. 3 in D minor
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Jonathan Nott (Tudor)
"Excellent interpretation with superb surround sound".

4) Symphony No. 4 in G major
Miah Persson (soprano), Budapest Symphony Orchestra, Ivan Fischer (Channel)
"Persson is idiomatic singer for this work; her voice is clear and naive. Fischer leads his team to the Mahlerian wonderland. Channel's outstanding recording crowns this disc".

5) Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor
Wiener Philharmoniker, Leonard Bernstein (Deutsche Grammophon)*
"The famous Adagietto is very moving here. Deutsche Grammophon's realistic engineering is also impressive".

6) Symphony No. 6 in A minor "Tragic"
Philharmonia Orchestra, Benjamin Zander (Telarc)
"This got Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance. Hammer's strikes are like explosions - be careful with your subwoofer!"

7) Symphony No. 7 in E minor "The Song of Night"
London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (LSO Live)
"Thrilling, virtuosity performance. Jonathan Stoke's engineering is wonderful: my subwoofer switched on although this is 5.0".

8) Symphony No. 8 in E flat major "Symphony of Thousand"
London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (LSO Live)
"This performance was real culmination in Gergiev's Mahler cycle. LSO Live's recording surrounds listener; I hear the off-stage bands from my surround speakers! Gripping experience!"

9) Symphony No. 9 in D major
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Riccardo Chailly (Decca Classics)
"...touching finale is unforgettable here".

10) Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major (ed. Deryck Cooke)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle (Warner Classics)*
"Rattle's interpretation of Mahler's Tenth is a classic. Top-notch performance".

Do you agree?

Post by Clavicembalisticum February 15, 2015 (2 of 64)
None of my favorites are SACDs! Overall, I prefer Sinopoli's on DG. Karajan's live Mahler 9th is my favorite performance of that piece. Most of Gergiev's either seem rushed, disinterested, or both!

Post by Polarius T February 15, 2015 (3 of 64)
Ditto. The finest for me aren't on SACD.

Abbado/BPO are transcendental. I'd say even before that Abbado/Lucerne FO, but only their M2 is available as non-BluRay/DVD (at home I only do RBCD & SACD).

I am also extremely fond of Klemperer and always return to Boulez. Extremely satisfying. For variety I choose Sinopoli.

Almost all the rest I've gotten rid of. Life is short and Mahler's symphonies are long.

The above box set of all the symphonies costs 28 quid but what it gives you is not quantifiable.

I've owned complete or partial sets and recordings of individuals works by Ancerl, Bernstein, Chailly, Haitink, Horenstein, Karajan, Kletzki, Maderna (great 9th btw), Muti, Ozawa (very good 2nd), Rattle, Sanderling, Scherchen (I kept his 2nd and 7th), Solti, Tennstedt, Walter, and I am forgetting some; heard individual recordings by Levine, Mehta, Gergiev (can't stand him), Kubelik, Tilson Thomas, Kaplan (a bit embarrassing to even mention), and whatnot; plus heard live performances by Dudamel, Maazel, Masur, and a number of others I cannot even recall anymore, on top of many of those I have recordings by. Fischer I know from his other recordings and do not feel attracted to the idea of him in Mahler. Same goes to Nott. I'm a bit curious about Jansons and Alan Gilbert but don't feel bothered enough, what with this short life. Ditto for Mitropoulos and Gielen, I guess.

Post by Joseph Ponessa February 16, 2015 (4 of 64)
Thanks for recommending Janson's Mahler FIRST, which is playing in the background as I write this. It was something I had bought but not yet heard, a sort of thing of which there has been too much lately. It is a magisterial account, with the maestro assisted by such assets as the hall and the orchestra, which has played this piece under the baton of Mahler himself (25 October 1903), Mengelberg (6 May 1920), Haitink (June 1962 and May 1975), Bernstein (October 1987), Chailly (19 May 1995) and Harding (30 September 2009) among others.

Post by sylvian February 16, 2015 (5 of 64)
For me it is as simple as this:

#1 Zander w. Philharmonia Orchestra
#2 Mehta w. Israeli Symphony (unsurpessed performance from 1982 so far) DVD-A
#3 Macal w. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
#4 Nott w. Bamberger Symphoniker
#5 D. Gatti w. Philharmonia Orchestra (best performance Ever!) RBCD only
#6 Sieghart w. Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra
#7 Jansons w. Bayerische Rundfunks
#8 Chailly w. Concertgebouw Orchestra
#9 Chailly w. Concertgebouw Orchestra
#10 Rattle w. Berliner Symphoniker
DLvdE: Sieghart

Post by sunnydaler February 17, 2015 (6 of 64)
Bernstein, Bernstein, Bernstein!

No. 1: Mahler: Symphony No. 1 - Bernstein, Bernstein (DG)
No. 2: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 - Mehta
No. 3: Mahler: Symphony No. 3 - Bernstein, Bernstein (DG), Mahler: Symphony No. 3 - Chailly, Levine (RCA)
No. 4: Mahler: Symphony No. 4 - Bernstein, Mahler: Symphony No. 4 - Fischer
No. 5: Bernstein (DG), Chailly (Decca)
No. 6: Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 9 - Bernstein
No. 7: Mahler: Symphony No. 7 - Bernstein, Gielen (Hanssler)
No. 8: Mahler: Symphony No. 8 - Bernstein
No. 9: Bernstein-Concertgebouw (DG), Karajan (DG. live), Gielen (Hanssler)
No. 10 - Adagio: Mahler: Symphony No. 10 (Adagio), Kindertotenlieder - Bernstein

Post by Polly Nomial February 17, 2015 (7 of 64)
My preferred take on Mahler:
1-7, 9: LFO/Abbado as the basis and then supplement these with...
1: VPO/Abbado (Proms - I can dream)
2: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 - Fischer
3: BPO/Abbado (RFH - I dream of re-re-mastered BBC sound)
4: BPO/Abbado (Proms - I can dream again)
5: Mahler: Symphony No. 5 - Fischer & BPO/Abbado (Mahlerfest)
6: Mahler: Symphony No. 6 - Nott
7: Mahler: Symphony No. 7 - Nott
8: Mahler: Symphony No. 8 - Stenz
9: BPO/Abbado (Proms - last dream) & Mahler: Symphony No. 9 - Nott
10: BPO/Rattle
DLvdE: Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde - Coote, Fritz, Albrecht

Post by fausto K February 17, 2015 (8 of 64)
Impossible to say which are my *absolutely* favourite Mahlers -- I've got close to 160 recordings (!), so for every mood there is a fitting interpretation. But if restricted to relatively new recordings that I have on SACD, here goes:

M1: Mahler: Symphony No. 1 - Honeck

M2: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 - Zander

M3: Mahler: Symphony No. 3 - Honeck

M4: Mahler: Symphony No. 4 - Haitink

M5: Mahler: Symphony No. 5 - Abbado

M6: Mahler: Symphony No. 6 - Stenz

M7: Mahler: Symphony No. 7 - Stenz

M8: Mahler: Symphony No. 8 - Gergiev

M9: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 - Chailly

M10: Mahler: Symphony No. 10 - Sieghart

LvdE: Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde - Sieghart

Post by windhoek February 24, 2015 (9 of 64)
I'm a Mahler newbie and am just becoming familiar with M2-Mehta/ Berlin PO and with each listen appreciate it more and more. I've ordered Zander's recent SACD release on the Linn Label for the acclaimed m/c mix, although whether it's discrete ala Tomita's quad mixes or most pop/rock m/c mixes remains to be seen. I've also got M4 by Reiner. It's only two, but I'm on my way to completing my first Mahler cycle :)

M2 - Mehta, Berlin PO / Zander L
M4 - Reiner, Chicago SO

Post by Joseph Ponessa February 24, 2015 (10 of 64)
sunnydaler said:

Bernstein, Bernstein, Bernstein!

On SACD I prefer the 1960s Bernstein cycle, though I am also fond of Zinman.

On blu-ray I prefer the emerging Chailly cycle, though I also love the Abbado.

On CD I prefer the Gielen, but also like the Haitink.

On DVD-Audio it's a toss-up between Abravanel and Inbal (nine symphonies on a single disc!).

You didn't ask about Bruckner, but on SACD I prefer Blomstedt, on blu-ray Barenboim, on CD the SHM-CD set of Karajan.

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