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Discussion: Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn - Stenz

Posts: 10

Post by SteelyTom October 28, 2014 (1 of 10)
Are this and other issues in the Stenz cycle recorded in PCM, does anyone know?

Post by undertone October 28, 2014 (2 of 10)
I have Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn - Stenz, Mahler: Symphony No. 3 - Stenz and Mahler: Symphony No. 3 - Stenz. The production credits do not mention either DSD or any PCM resolution.

Different balance engineers from title to title, but all were SACD authored by Ingo Schmidt-Lucas, Cybele AV Studios. He should be able to answer your question definitively.

Post by fausto K October 29, 2014 (3 of 10)
Most discs on the Cybele label itself, e.g. Hartmann: Complete Works for String Quartet, are pure DSD recordings. But these are recorded & engineered, not just SACD authored, by label owner Ingo Schmidt-Lucas himself.
Oehms discs are recorded & engineered by a different team (the ones from the Stenz cycle I have, Mahler: Symphony No. 4 - Stenz, Mahler: Symphony No. 5 - Stenz, & Mahler: Symphony No. 7 - Stenz state Dieter Oehms and Jens Schünemann), so most probably they aren't pure DSD. My intuition is that they are 96/24. But they are stupendous recordings nonetheless (and top performances as well, especially M7!)


PS: can the title for this disc be corrected: it's *Des* Knaben Wunderhorn, as it is a genitive.

Post by undertone October 29, 2014 (4 of 10)
fausto K said:

My intuition is that they are 96/24. But they are stupendous recordings nonetheless (and top performances as well, especially M7!)

I agree with fausto K about the performance and sound quality of this series, and wish the label would have included technical engineering details in the liner notes. But that omission doesn't subtract from my enjoyment of the performances.

Post by Lute February 18, 2015 (5 of 10)
fausto K said:
At that price, I'd say go for it, fausto! I like it and feel Geohominid's review is on the mark.

As with Stenz's other recordings of Mahler, sound wise it's second to none.

As for the performance...well, I think you are already familiar with Stenz's way with Mahler. He has a back basics...back to the score approach. I find this refreshing, but I have read comments referring to a blandness...and lack of emotion in his performances. I can understand why some might feel this way. For many listeners, Stenz's recording probably won't be displacing the famous recordings of Szell, Abbado, Bernstein, etc...

The singers are often the cause of disappointment with such a work as this. Fortunately, Michael Volle gives a solid performance. Christiane Oelze is also good. Though, I did read some criticism about her articulation. For my part, I found their singing and this recording as a whole to be a very pleasurable experience.

If you'd like to read another review, try...http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2012/Oct12/Mahler_Stenz_OC647_OC649_OC650_OC657.htm

In short, if you've enjoyed this cycle so far, I am sure you'll also find much to like with this SACD.

Post by fausto K February 18, 2015 (6 of 10)
Lute said:

...

thanks for that! I think I'll place an order. I haven't got a Knaben on SACD yet. And the Stenz's I have (M4, 5, 6, and 7) are all excellent.

As to objections of "lack of emotion" in reviews of Mahler recordings (and most often it's in British reviews!), when I read that, it practically disqualifies the review for me. It's utterly subjective, and without base; what does it mean: "lack of passion/emotion"?? They do that with every fine detailed no-nonsense interpretation, such as Boulez, Gielen, Salonen and so now also Stenz. I concur with you that a back to the score approach is refreshing.

Oelze I know from Stenz's M4; she seems fine to me. Re her articulation: the reviewer of the review you linked says "I didnít find that her words were always clear" and then a bit later he says that he complained about the absence of an English translation of the texts. LOL. If that means he can't follow the German, then it seems to me he has no right complaining about Oelze's articulation (who's German).

Post by Lute February 19, 2015 (7 of 10)
fausto K said:
If you're comfortable with Christiane Oelze's voice on M4, then this recording will be just as fine. She might not have the most powerful instrument, but her soft, tender manner draws me in. Actually, I've got her Christiane Oelze: Verbotene Lieder somewhere around here. I'll have to give it a listen again. I remember I had a favorable impression of it...although it got lukewarm reviews over on (you know where)... music web. ;-)

It's not just the British press. Stateside there are plenty of diehard fans of Bernstein. And even I must admit Lenny's emotion-packed performances of Mahler are hard to resist. :-D

But speaking of hard to resist, I've got Mahler: Symphony No. 8 - Stenz playing as I write. OMG! The sound and performance are to die for on this one! And I just read Geohominid's review. DITTO!

Post by fausto K February 19, 2015 (8 of 10)
Lute said:

....

It's not just the British press, there are plenty of diehard fans of Bernstein in the States. And even I must admit Lenny's emotion-packed performances of Mahler are hard to resist. :-D

But speaking of hard to resist, I've got Mahler: Symphony No. 8 - Stenz playing as I write. OMG! The sound and performance are to die for on this one! And I just read Geohominid's review. DITTO!

Bernstein's early Mahler cycle is absolutely great. No doubt about it (esp. in the excellent DSD mastered "Carnegie Hall presents" box set from 2009).
But, unlike some, I do not believe it's either/or: I recall the almost simultaneous release of Pappano's and Salonen's recording of Mahler 6 a few years back (on redbook, alas). Pappano's is sheer raw, rough-edged passion conducting his Rome orchestra, Salonen the other extreme: precise, rigorous, meticulous. With Mahler you need both, and both are legit, and both are top notch performances. I couldn't do without my Boulez Mahlers, but as you say, neither can I resist Bernstein.

Good to hear Stenz's M8 is so good, as you say. It's my least fave Mahler symphony. I liked Gergiev's reverb-drenched LSO recording.

Post by Lute February 19, 2015 (9 of 10)
fausto K said:

Good to hear Stenz's M8 is so good, as you say. It's my least fave Mahler symphony. I liked Gergiev's reverb-drenched LSO recording.

About a month ago, my movie channel showed the old Ken Russell film...Mahler. What a blast from the past! And I remember how that film turned me on to Haitink's Mahler. I am so glad Pentatone chose to release Mahler: Symphony No. 8 - Haitink. Now we can finally hear that recording the way it was meant to be heard.

I saw Gergiev perform M5 here in Tokyo several years ago. (Even with all the political crap going on now), I have to say that it was an impressive performance.

Post by fausto K February 19, 2015 (10 of 10)
Lute said:

About a month ago, my movie channel showed the old Ken Russell film...Mahler. What a blast from the past! And I remember how that film turned me on to Haitink's Mahler. I am so glad Pentatone chose to release Mahler: Symphony No. 8 - Haitink. Now we can finally hear that recording the way it was meant to be heard.

...

yes, I have that old Haitink M8. But, as you know, I can't enjoy it the way it was supposed to be listened to. I'm sure it's great in MC, but in stereo, it falls flat. I'll have another listen soon.

Oh, by the way, Haitink's most recent recording of the Ninth, with the Bayerische Rundfunk SO, is stunning (on their house label), but unfortunately, they stopped releasing SACDs. So it's stereo redbook only, but very good sound nonetheless.

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