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Mahler – The Complete Symphonies (12 CD box set, FLAC)

Mahler - The Complete Symphonies (12 CD box set, FLAC)
Mahler - The Complete Symphonies (12 CD box set, FLAC)

Performer: Vladimir Ruzdjak, Donald McIntyre, Raymond Sabinsky, Anna Reynolds, Christa Ludwig
Orchestra: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 12 CD box set
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Sony Classics
Size: 3.79 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Disc: 1
01. I. Langsam. Schleppend
02. II. Kräftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell
03. III. Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen
04. IV. Stürmisch bewegt – Energisch
05. Symphony No. 10 in F-Sharp Minor: I. Adagio

Disc: 2
01. Part I: Reminiscences by Mahler’s Associates and by Musicians Who Played Under His Baton – William Malloch
02. Part II: Reminiscences by Mahler’s Associates and by Musicians Who Played Under His Baton, Plus Personal Recollections of Anna Mahler – William Malloch
03. Symphony No. 2 in C Minor “Resurrection”: I. Allegro maestoso

Disc: 3
01. II. Andante moderato
02. III. In ruhig fließender Bewegung
03. IV. Urlicht. Sehr feierlich, aber schlicht
04. V. Finale. Im Tempo des Scherzos

Disc: 4
01. Symphony No. 3 in D Minor: I. Kräftig, Entschieden

Disc: 5
01. II. Tempo di menuetto
02. III. Comodo – Scherzando. Ohne Hast
03. IV. Sehr langsam – Misterioso
04. V. Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck
05. VI. Langsam, Ruhevoll. Empfunden

Disc: 6
01. I. Bedächtig, nicht eilen – Reri Grist
02. II. In gemächlicher Bewegung, ohne Hast – Reri Grist
03. III. Ruhevoll – Reri Grist
04. IV. Sehr behaglich – Reri Grist

Disc: 7
01. I. Trauermarsch
02. II. Stürmisch bewegt, mit größter Vehemenz – New York Philharmonic Orchestra
03. III. Scherzo. Kräftig, nicht zu schnell – New York Philharmonic Orchestra
04. IV. Adagietto. Sehr langsam
05. V. Rondo-Finale. Allegro – New York Philharmonic Orchestra

Disc: 8
01. I. Allegro energico, ma non troppo. Heftig, aber markig
02. II. Scherzo. Wuchtig
03. III. Andante moderato
04. IV. Finale. Allegro moderato – Allegro energico

Disc: 9
01. I. Langsam – New York Philharmonic Orchestra
02. II. Nachtmusik. Allegro moderato – New York Philharmonic Orchestra
03. III. Scherzo. Schattenhaft – New York Philharmonic Orchestra
04. IV. Nachtmusik. Andante amoroso – New York Philharmonic Orchestra
05. V. Rondo-Finale – New York Philharmonic Orchestra

Disc: 10
01. I. Veni, creator spiritus
02. II. Final Scene from Faust – London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus

Disc: 11
01. I. Andante comodo
02. II. Im Tempo eines gemächlichen Ländlers
03. III. Rondo-Burleske. Allegro assai
04. IV. Adagio. Sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend

Disc: 12
01. I. Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde – René Kollo
02. II. Der Einsame im Herbst – René Kollo
03. III. Von der Jugend – René Kollo
04. IV. Von der Schönheit – René Kollo
05. V. Der Trunkene im Frühling – René Kollo
06. VI. Der Abschied – René Kollo

Everything that you’ve read is true!

Look at this – after nearly half a century, Leonard Bernstein Mahler cycle continues to generate the same degree of passion that it did after the individual performances were released. My initiation to Mahler’s sound world was through Bruno Walter’s performance of Mahler 1, on the 1970s Columbia Odyssey budget reissue picturing a marble Prometheus (Titan? Get it?) From the opening notes, I was transfixed – as I travelled thorugh a soundscape that sounded at once different, yet oddly familiar, to classical/romantic works I had heard up till that point.

Breaking my personal college budget, I then purchased Bernstein’s boxed set of symphonies 1, 6, and 9. Bernstein’s performance of #1 held me in awe; the playing of the NYP blew me away, I felt like a great mystical secret that had laid dormant within this score had been revealed to me. The Sixth remained more problematic for me at that point in life. The Ninth, however, brought me to tears. I followed these Bernstein performances, and the others in the cycle, through their various incarnations, up through the Bernstein Century and Royal Edition releases, in hope of improvement to the dismal Columbia sound quality heard on both vinyl and CDs.

Awash in Bernstein – including his generally great DG cycle – I postponed re-acquianting myself with his earlier cycle. I avoided the the box set with the garish portrait on the cover, not expecting to hear any improved sonics, and read the reviews of this set with apprehension when it appeared. “Best sound quality yet” means little when the original themselves were so mediocre to begin with.

Well, this past week a price drop on a copy listed here compelled me to give it a shot – and boy, am I glad that I did! These recordings are like canvasses that have had a layer of old, yellowing varnish removed. The sound is fully dimensional, and there is more “air” in the recording. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but these recordings have been given new life, and will gain new fans, and truly become immortal.

As for the packaging, well, what can I say. I am generally a fan of cardboard box sets, but I truly despise Sony’s use of heavy, cardboard sleeves, clumsily pasted together at the seam, and both cumbersome and threatening to the CD surface in the gatefold two-fers. If this set had been part of the Original Jacket Collection (as well it should have been) the sleeves would have been an integral part of the set’s design. As it stands, the sleeves are not terribly attractive and I did not agonize for long before placing the discs in double-sided Case Logic style storage sleeves. This also free up a tremendous amount of space in the box, allowing me to store the discs in the Bernstein/Resurrection/LSO performance + Baker’s Kindertotenlieder, Mahler: Symphony No. 2 – Resurrection / Kindertotenlieder as well as the discs in the Mahler Lieder Box set Leonard Bernstein – A Portrait: Mahler: Lieder. Booklets too. I now have my “ultimate” Bernstein/Mahler Box.

For those who prefer Bertini, what can I say…they are glorious recordings but lack the passion, the vision, the overall comittment of these performances. For those who prefer Solti’s bombast (and I admit that back in those same college days, my allegiance to Bernstein was superceded by the sonics of the Solti cycle) I say, listen to the individualism and spirituality of these performances. For those who are Mahler neophytes, I say – start with this cycle as a frame of reference for a lifetime of listening.

For better or for worse: Leonard Bernstein was synonymous with Gustav Mahler for the latter part of the 20th century. These reviews are also proof that his legacy is alive and well. Listen to these recordings and discover the reasons why this is true.

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