Mahler: Symphony No. 5

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Gustavo Dudamel's rise to fame has been rapid, and his exceptional abilities have been extolled by musicians and critics alike; figures as prominent as Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim, and Claudio Abbado have praised his conducting, and he has been the subject of numerous glowing articles in the media, notably Time Magazine and The New York Times. So how does this youthful Venezuelan conductor fare in his 2006 recording of Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor"? Due to its phenomenal popularity, this piece has become an acid test for conductors everywhere, and recording it has practically become de rigueur, so Dudamel faces a great deal of competition from the...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Gustavo Dudamel's rise to fame has been rapid, and his exceptional abilities have been extolled by musicians and critics alike; figures as prominent as Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim, and Claudio Abbado have praised his conducting, and he has been the subject of numerous glowing articles in the media, notably Time Magazine and The New York Times. So how does this youthful Venezuelan conductor fare in his 2006 recording of Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor"? Due to its phenomenal popularity, this piece has become an acid test for conductors everywhere, and recording it has practically become de rigueur, so Dudamel faces a great deal of competition from the myriad recordings on the market. Yet he makes his version with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela noticeable in three important ways. First, he freely shapes the music with an elastic sense of phrasing, using a great deal of rubato in the service of Mahler's wide mood swings, apparently in an attempt to stay true to the spirit of the music, if not necessarily its letter. Secondly, Dudamel's approach is quite dramatic and sweeping, and his prolongations of gestures for dramatic effect and distinctive scene-painting make the symphony feel cinematic, almost as if Mahler had composed it to accompany a film. Third, the orchestra shows high energy and volatility, signs that Dudamel has inspired it to a high level of enthusiasm and bravura playing. All this is good to an extent, as far as flexibility, theatricality, and excitement always work in performances of Mahler's "Fifth." However, there are perhaps too many distinctively shaped moments, as if Dudamel has played with moods and effects too much, and not paid sufficient attention to ensemble cohesion, pacing, and significant details in the orchestration that must be drawn out. One may get the feeling that he tried too hard to make this performance stand out from all the rest, and in the process delivered a "Fifth" that doesn't really hold together through its internal logic, but depends far too much on the conductor's whims and personality. This CD may appeal to some uncritical Mahler fans, but since there are many better recordings, don't let it be the only one you hear.
Gramophone - Richard Osborne
Dudamel and his musicians are superb in the first two movements. This is music which suits their style, serious and impassioned, universal rather than local, untroubled by kitsch.
BBC Music Magazine - David Nice
The gifted Dudamel has produced world-class levels of sophistication.... This Fifth holds up well.
Los Angeles Times - Mark Swed
[concert review] Dudamel's Mahler is not neurotic. But it is violent, and it is exalted, and it is, at many moments, exquisitely beautiful.
San Francisco Chronicle - Steven Winn
Dudamel elicits a sumptuous and svelte string sound. The brasses spit fire and sing; the woodwinds chatter and purr.
Classic FM Magazine
[September 2007 Disc of the Month] The balance of structure and spontaneity makes you hear the music as if it were brand new.

The gifted Dudamel has produced world-class levels of sophistication.... This Fifth holds up well.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/9/2007
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • UPC: 028947773238
  • Catalog Number: 000983702
  • Sales rank: 89,445

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–5 Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor - Gustav Mahler & Nikolaus Boddin (69:22)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Gustavo Dudamel Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Most Worthy Calling Card!

    The miracle/mystery of the gift of great conducting is something audiences for ages have pondered. Given the schooling, the influence in early life of some great mentors, the opportunities or good fortunes that open to certain young conductors - given these and other factors, why is it that only a few conductors are great? And while no one purports to have the answer, the chief factor seems to be the innate musicality of the gifted ones. Gustavo Dudamel has the gift, the insight into the minds of composers, the ability to step onto a podium with assured preparedness, the means of communicating his thoughts and concepts to his orchestra, and the resulting stimulation of his audiences to become wholly involved with the music of the moment. While most every classical music devotee probably has multiple fine recordings of Gustav Mahler's challenging and exquisitely passionate Fifth Symphony, few of those polished recordings played by the big orchestras of the world and recorded in acoustically mellow halls/studios can excite the ear and heart the way that this recording by Dudamel and his Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela can. The approach is straight forward, as though Dudamel conversed directly with Mahler, the insights are gleaming (inner lines have rarely been so clear, portions of the orchestration which has been muddy under the baton of others finds clarity and passion combined, etc), and the symphony makes complete sense as a whole rather than as a series of individual movements. High words of praise? Yes, but for this listener, having just witnessed Dudamel and his orchestra visiting in the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, there have been few equals in the interpretation and playing of this mammoth score. The first desk players are superb (the solo French Horn in the third movement is near perfect) and the commitment of the orchestra to their maestro is evident and unflagging throughout the long symphony. Dudamel and Mahler - prepare for an impressive association. Fortune has smiled on the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Dudamel approaches his role of Music Director in 2009. The hall, his musicality, and the emotional impact of Gustavo Dudamel with the Los Angeles Philharmonic bode well for the music world. This fine recording with his own orchestra of gifted young people is a stunning calling card! Grady Harp

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