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Larry Kart

Assuming you care and have heard enough to have

18 posts in this topic

an opinon -- what is your favorite Mahler symphony?

Mine is No. 7.

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Torn between 4 and 7 — 4 is more tuneful, but 7 is more muscular.

Ever since I first started to “get” Mahler in my mid-20’s, I don’t think I’ve missed any opportunities to catch live performances of either one (even going to St. Louis from Kansas City — twice! — just to hear the SLO perform 7, about 5 years apart).

I haven’t ever traveled to hear 4, but it’s programmed a lot more frequently.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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My favorite is either 2 or 9.

Preferably with Bruno Walter conducting. 

 

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2 hours ago, Rabshakeh said:

Can I pick Das Lied von der Erde? 

Yes, but pick a symphony too while we're at it.

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7 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

Yes, but pick a symphony too while we're at it.

It is a symphony, isn't it? It's called a symphony. Or isn't it? I forget which was round jr went.

If I can't pick The Song, I'll go with 7.

What led to the question? 

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Larry - What's your favorite recording of the 7th?

Just curious. 

 

 

9 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

If I can't pick The Song, I'll go with 7.

Interesting. Two of you choosing Mahler's "problematic" symphony.

;)

That's not really my perspective, but one that you can still encounter occasionally. 

My favorite conductor for the 7th is Pierre Boulez. 

 

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35 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

Larry - What's your favorite recording of the 7th?

Just curious. 

 

 

Interesting. Two of you choosing Mahler's "problematic" symphony.

;)

That's not really my perspective, but one that you can still encounter occasionally. 

My favorite conductor for the 7th is Pierre Boulez. 

 

I grew up on Horenstein with the New Philharmonia, a while ago acquired the Michael Tilson Thomas, which I recall liking quite a bit, and just the other day got the Boulez, which so far has swept me away. Without going back to check and compare, it seems to me to have one of Horenstein's crucial virtues in Mahler, the ability to settle on central tempos as much as the score permits and not yield to the temptation, especially strong in the 7th I would think, to overstress the, so to speak, episodic episodes. As for the appeal of the symphony to me, I begin with tenor horn theme, which never ceases to thrill, and continue with the sense that there's just so much terrific STUFF in the work -- one thing after another -- and in the hands of the right interpreters it all flows and fits. It's also that the flowing and the fitting together of all this is in itself almost a separate and magical act of prophesy. One can imagine Schoenberg and Webern listening to the first performance and saying to themselves, "Yes, we feel the air of other planets."

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OK. You've inspired me. I'm going pull out Mahler's 7th in next day or so. :)

 

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This discussion brought a bit of sadness - Horenstein invited me to London for the performance of the 7th under discussion.

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22 hours ago, HutchFan said:

My favorite is either 2 or 9.

Preferably with Bruno Walter conducting. 

 

They are all great but if I had to choose two, it would probably be those 2 as well. 

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On 9/11/2021 at 9:40 AM, HutchFan said:

My favorite is either 2 or 9.

Those are my two favorites as well. As for conductors for those symphonies, I like:

• Symphony No. 2 - Klemperer
• Symphony No. 9 - Bernstein (Columbia)

I've actually never heard Boulez conduct Mahler, so I'm probably missing out there.

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1 hour ago, Late said:

I've actually never heard Boulez conduct Mahler, so I'm probably missing out there.

I think Boulez's interpretive approach works best in the middle symphonies: 5, 6, and 7.

 

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The fourth and ninth. Das Lied if you count that. 

 

Least favorite: The 8th, although live it's of course a lot of fun. 

I might want be a contrarian and also say the 10th completed by Cooke is in my top 5.  

Edited by Hoppy T. Frog

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24 minutes ago, Hoppy T. Frog said:

Least favorite: The 8th, although live it's of course a lot of fun.

I’ve never been in the audience for a live performance of the 8th — but I sang in a big production of it (maybe 400 musicians? — the final send-off concert for the longtime music director of the Kansas City Symphony, from 1986-98 (I sang in the KCS Chorus from 1995-2004).

And I fully credit that experience — singing #8 — for making me finally ‘get’ Mahler. I’d heard #1 back in college (and liked the experience, but it was literally the very first large-scale ‘major work’ I ever heard performed live (Chicago Symphony, spring term my freshman year).

But right after I moved to Kansas City, I heard #4 and/or #5 (can’t remember which, or maybe it was both) — and NONE of it made any sense at all, what with all the shifting tonalities and relatively-incessant chromaticism.

Then maybe a year later I start rehearsing #8 — and it makes EVEN LESS sense to me. Singing within the parts of just the half of choir I was in (one of the “double choirs”), NONE of it made a lick of sense to me, though I was getting my part mostly pretty well (I could sing the notes, but the context for it all was bewildering).

So, literally the week we started putting the two (separate) “choirs” together (the two halves of the chorus had been rehearsing separately, for like 5 weeks)… …so literally the week we start putting all the parts together, it SUDDENLY at least starts to begin to make a little sense. And then, by the final rehearsals with the “band” (big, fucking band too — maybe 140 instruments?) — that final week of rehearsals with the orchestra makes the lightbulb mostly go off in my brain.  And the actual performance was nearly transcendent for me.

And THEN I heard either #4 or #5 again (live) about 12-18 months later, and I was a total convert — and I had all 9 symphonies on CD within the next 3-4 months.

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54 minutes ago, Hoppy T. Frog said:

Least favorite: The 8th, although live it's of course a lot of fun. 

Hoppy,

Have you heard Ozawa's recording of Mahler's 8th with the Boston SO?

I'm not usually an Ozawa fan, but his particular recording of the 8th is special.  Ozawa's interpretation integrates the 8th with Mahler's body of work better than any other version I've heard.  IMO, the 8th usually sticks out like a sore thumb, like it has no relationship to Mahler's compositions that come before and after.  But not so with Ozawa.  It's the only recording of the 8th I've heard that sounds it was written by the the same guy who also composed Das Lied von der Erde.

Worth a listen if you come across it. 

 

9 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

So, literally the week we started putting the two (separate) “choirs” together (the two halves of the chorus had been rehearsing separately, for like 5 weeks)… …so literally the week we start putting all the parts together, it SUDDENLY at least starts to begin to make a little sense. And then, by the final rehearsals with the “band” (big, fucking band too — maybe 140 instruments?) — that final week of rehearsals with the orchestra makes the lightbulb mostly go off in my brain.  And the actual performance was nearly transcendent for me.

And THEN I heard either #4 or #5 again (live) about 12-18 months later, and I was a total convert — and I had all 9 symphonies on CD within the next 3-4 months.

What a cool experience.

I've never even heard the M8 live, much less participated in it!  :tup 

 

Edited by HutchFan

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Yeah, I enjoy Solti's 8th (very intense and driven), but the 8th is just not a symphony that I really care too much for.  I've never liked Goethe's Faust Part 2 either (worst literary sequel ever!).  

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