Bernstein/Concertgebouw: Mahler Symphony No. 9 - DG 419 208-1 (2LP box set)

$135.00 USD


Box NM- / LPs NM-

This beautiful and rare 2LP box set from Deutsche Grammophon (419 208-1, West German pressing, white circle label, DDD stereo) features Leonard Bernstein’s extraordinary account of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, recorded ‘live’ with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in the spacious acoustics of the Grote Zaal, the Concertgebouw in June 1985 (producer: Hanno Rinke / recording supervision: Hans Weber / engineer: Klaus Scheibe).

Wrote the outstanding critic Simon Thompson for MusicWeb-International: “Many critics have great problems with Bernstein’s 1985 Concertgebouw recording of the Ninth but I am not one of them. True, Bernstein’s finest recording of this work is his 1979 live recording with the Berlin Philharmonic, the only occasion on which he conducted them. Happily this has recently been reissued on one CD as a DG Original and it demands to be heard, in spite of its imperfections. Don’t dismiss the 1985 version, though: it’s far from perfect but has a lot to recommend it. The vast Andante comodo feels expansive and well paced, and Bernstein manages the transitions through consolation and tragedy very effectively, though the final collapse at the end of the “development” (if you can call it that) is not as total as it should be. The horn soloist plays beautifully. The swaggering clumsiness of the Ländler is unsettling while remaining witty and the Concertgebouw trombones have a great time attacking their lines. The Rondo Burleske crackles with intensity but has a radiantly still central section. The finale is controversial (“protracted and pulseless” according to David Gutman) but I still found it utterly involving and never did I find it indulgent or wilful. In fact the final bars moved me immensely.”

Incidentally, the striking cover art, entitled “Voyage de Rêve” was executed by ERTE. The excellent CD-size (as issued with the LP set) 32-page booklet includes wonderful portraits of Bernstein, as well as extensive notes on the music by Volker Scherliess (German, French, and Italian) and Andrew Clements (English).



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