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Discussion: Mahler: Symphony No. 8 - Sir Colin Davis

Posts: 7

Post by Johnno March 18, 2005 (1 of 7)
I rang up the best shop in Wellington for SACDs yesterday and was sent out a list of their current stock and noticed this recording on it. I don't recall ever hearing Davis conducting Mahler before, so am not sure whether he would be the right man for this work. However I note some of the soloists are favourite singers of mine, like Alessandra Marc, Vesselina Kasarova, Ben Heppner and Sergei Leiferkus.

I'm working my way down the list and would definitely consider this one if I get a good report on it, so any comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

Post by zem06 March 19, 2005 (2 of 7)
Johnno said:

I rang up the best shop in Wellington for SACDs yesterday and was sent out a list of their current stock and noticed this recording on it. I don't recall ever hearing Davis conducting Mahler before, so am not sure whether he would be the right man for this work. However I note some of the soloists are favourite singers of mine, like Alessandra Marc, Vesselina Kasarova, Ben Heppner and Sergei Leiferkus.

I'm working my way down the list and would definitely consider this one if I get a good report on it, so any comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

I haven't heard this one yet myself, but this review was not encouraging.


http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=8519

Post by Johnno March 19, 2005 (3 of 7)
zem05 said:

I haven't heard this one yet myself, but this review was not encouraging.


http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=8519

Thanks for the link, Stephen. I'll wait for something better, as it's clearly a mixed bag.

Post by mdt March 19, 2005 (4 of 7)
Johnno said:

Thanks for the link, Stephen. I'll wait for something better, as it's clearly a mixed bag.

To me it was refered to as a top recording of the symphony, by a sales person at the local record store that has ample knowledge of classical music and recordings. Judgments seem quite controversial you should look out for a store where you can listen before you buy.

Post by akiralx March 21, 2005 (5 of 7)
Johnno said:

Thanks for the link, Stephen. I'll wait for something better, as it's clearly a mixed bag.

You may fine these comments from the Mahler board useful:

http://www.klassi.org/mahler/viewtopic.php?t=599&highlight=colin+davis

http://www.klassi.org/mahler/viewtopic.php?t=635&highlight=colin+davis

Post by tream March 22, 2005 (6 of 7)
In response to Peteyspambucket's review of this disc:

Petey, fine review, but I'm starting to think you have a vendetta against MTT and the SFS-you prefer this performance to one that hasn't even been recorded yet (the MTT)? Yes, you heard a broadcast from a few years ago-but the MTT/SFS Mahler 8 won't be recorded until 2006!

Sheesh.

Post by peteyspambucket March 22, 2005 (7 of 7)
tream said:

In response to Peteyspambucket's review of this disc:

Petey, fine review, but I'm starting to think you have a vendetta against MTT and the SFS-you prefer this performance to one that hasn't even been recorded yet (the MTT)? Yes, you heard a broadcast from a few years ago-but the MTT/SFS Mahler 8 won't be recorded until 2006!

Sheesh.

I can fully understand any exasperation with me that I'm even making a prediction about this, however, it's not a vendetta, but more like lack of faith. In other words, I heard what he wants to do with it. I probably still have it somewhere, and I can pull it out again and give it a whirl. I was very bored with it. MTT is a fine musician, and I know he is capable of getting what he wants out of his musicians, but his brand of Mahler leaves a lot to the imagination. It's not really that out of line to expect that he will repeat the same interpretation with different singers, essentially 2 years later. I also don't have faith that a cast he assembles, given his penchant for choosing lighter voices, would beat Sir Davis' Sharon Sweet, Ben Heppner, Pape or Kasarova, or the musicianship of a German orchestra and chorus for vocal and interpretive authority.

I will admit to having a bit of an axe to grind because people are ooh-ing and aah-ing over his SACD cycle based on the sound quality and mostly ignoring the performances which I have found very bland, eventless, and not worth listening to more than once (IMHO). I have remarked in the past in these forums about that particular "axe". But I do listen very carefully to his Mahler SACDs (and ANY disc that I would choose to publicly review), and readers of my reviews will already know that I prefer the exciting, electrifying kind of Mahler (like Bernstein or Gielen), not the analytical cold kind of Mahler (like MTT or Boulez). (In many ways, I find Karajan's Mahler very much in the middle -- except his two last Mahler 9ths which were recorded only a few years apart, which I find magnificent.)

Obviously, since this MTT performance takes place in the future, I can't possibly judge it already. However, I doubt his interpretation will change much over 2 years. It is pure speculation on my part that the MTT Mahler 8th will not match the excellence that can be found on (at least Part II of) the Davis Mahler 8th, so please do take into consideration that I am aware that I'm making a prediction of sorts (kind of like how I think Roger Federer will win Wimbledon this year). Please note that I would be HAPPILY SURPRISED if MTT came out with a performance that ROCKED MY WORLD!! I can't emphasize that enough. I just have no reason to think, given what he did with the Mahler 1, 2, 4, and 6 SACDs and the radio broadcast of the 8th, that he will do anything to match my favorite recordings of the 8th. I would like nothing more than to have a great recording and performance of the Mahler 8th on SACD! It's all just food for thought, and I don't know what will happen in the future.

Finally, readers of this review have already heard my disappointment with portions of the Davis SACD, and as much as I liked it, I still didn't rave about it. The 8th is a difficult piece just to pull off in a live performance, much less the additional technical effort that it takes to record it right. When it sounds right to me, I won't even care if the recording is SACD, LP, CD, or cassette -- I'm in it for the music.

Yours truly,
Willing-to-be-happilly-surprised

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