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Mahler: Symphonie No. 6
List Price: $16.98

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Customer Reviews:

  • Well balanced and beautiful!
    One of the best currently available Mahler 6's. Boulez manages to keep the tension and gentleness in balance. Listen to the trancendent beauty of the 3rd movement, and the explosive sadness of the finale. Add this to your collection if you're a Mahler addict, or an excellent choice if this is your introduction to this great work!...more info
  • Bludgeoned to death with an icicle
    This is, along with the first, Boulez's most acclaimed Mahler and it's easy to see why.

    Boulez is as impassioned in this vision as Bernstein was in his (and admittedly, it's all too tempting to think of Bernstein and Boulez as the Apollonian & Dionysian cornerstones of Mahlerian interpretation) .

    No, the fate of hammer blows do not shake the floor from bowing woofers.
    Instead, the attack is launched with a shimmering, expressionistic icicle and by the time you come to the apocalyptic finale, you will find yourself enveloped in all the maddening colors of a haunted Franz Marc forest.

    In Boulez's hands, this is undoubtedly a milestone in crucial, 20th century works.

    Do not miss it.
    ...more info
  • Mahler interpretation is all a matter of degree & preference
    With Mahler performances, it's all a matter of degree. Tempo, angst, symphonic color, orchestral texture, detail, instrumentation - what sound picture does the conductor bring? In this very well recorded performance with huge dynamic range (albeit the dry "DG" sound) Boulez provides an interpretation with sensational color. Tempos are mainstream, but color and detail abound. There is a prevailing interpretive color Boulez brings to the entire recording. The first movement march theme is not overdriven, but has weight and a raspy quality and nervousness; but nonetheless is more color than a relentless march. The second movement is more "even keel" than that of say Sinopoli, Bernstein or Karajan' s typical ignoring tempos - but again is more of French modernism and lavish symphonic color via the VPO. The 3rd movement in particular shows Boulez' find comprehension of Mahler with steady tempos. I found 4th movement superb. As the rationale and conductor to conductor performances differ so much in any one conductors' cycle -- mention should be made of the fact that I DISLIKED Boulez's interpretation of Mahler's 4th (among the poorest I've ever encountered) and I found Boulez Mahler 7th to be GHASTLY. This 6th though, fits in to my Mahler collection based on it's French neo-classical modernism, Mahlerian color, the VPO ensemble and a new "symphonic color" alongside my Sinopoli 6th. ...more info
  • Surgeon Precision Mahler
    Boulez is so precise in his rendering of Mahler's 6th... there is something about that that makes this album irresistible....more info
    Boulez takes a sympathetic approach to the score, but his curious pacing leads to a rather disappointing finale. Indeed, the concluding movement of Mahler's intense, deeply personal music sounds here like an afterthought, uncertain and directionless in its mood. For a much richer, more heartfelt interpretation, try Christoph von Dohnanyi with The Cleveland Orchestra (London/Decca). You'll find the orchestral playing even more sumptuous and precise as the Viennese, a conductor with a more deep-seated place in the music, and even an extra track (the Adagio of Mahler's tenth). All told, Dohnanyi offers better listening and a better bargain....more info
  • possibly the best single disc Mahler 6th
    First off, let me say that the buisness about andante/scherzo vs. scherzo/andante means very little to me. Perhaps it should, but it just doesn't. Either way, this is still a very finale driven symphony. Boulez follows his first movement with the scherzo, which was the accepted way of doing things for at least three or four decades. These days, the Mahler P.C. Squad has all but outlawed S/A performances, based on what they believe to be definitive information (I'm not so convinced). But doing the Mahler 6th is S/A order, also means that the conductor has to be very judicious about his/her tempo relationships between the first and second movements. Do you start the scherzo at the same tempo as the begining of the entire sympony, or at roughly the same tempo as the end of the first movement (usually far faster)? Wisely, Boulez chooses a tempo that's right down the middle between that of the first movement's opening march (with Boulez, that's a tad slower than normal), and his ending of the first movement (which isn't overly fast either, but still faster than the start). This may seem rather didactic, but I think it gives the impression of Boulez being "correct" over the long haul - something that I don't always get from him. In fact, this is perhaps the most "classical" performance of the sixth that I can think of - sort of like a giant Haydn symphony from his sturm and drang period, but on steroids. Yes, Boulez's two hammerstrokes in the finale are a tad underwhelming. But who cares? - we all know what loud hammmer strokes sound like these days. I could go on, but I'll just wrap up by stating that all four movements are equally strong on this performance, regardless of their inner pecking order (mix and match if you like - make the slow movement the finale and pretends it's the 9th!). Believe me, that's not always the case. Obviously, the Vienna Phil. knows this piece really well - perhaps the one Mahler symphony that they nearly always get right. Here, Boulez is a bit of a non-interventionist, and just let's them play. One could make far dumber moves than that. Along with his somewhat underrated VPO Mahler 3rd, I think that Boulez's sixth is still his best Mahler recording to date. At the very least, it's certainly his most classically structured one....more info