Mahler: Symphony No. 8, Adagio from Symphony No. 10

Mahler: Symphony No. 8, Adagio from Symphony No. 10

by Michael Tilson Thomas
     
 
In spite of its small flaws, this is undeniably a great performance of Mahler's "Eighth." It has the right balance of line and harmony, the right feel for mass and momentum, the right sense of being in and of the moment, and above all, the sheer audacity to pull off the whole mighty and monumental work. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas is not

Overview

In spite of its small flaws, this is undeniably a great performance of Mahler's "Eighth." It has the right balance of line and harmony, the right feel for mass and momentum, the right sense of being in and of the moment, and above all, the sheer audacity to pull off the whole mighty and monumental work. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas is not quite as precise as he should be at every point in the score. Some entrances are not exact, some sonorities are not properly balanced, and some tempo relationships are not as tight as they could be. But these are small flaws in comparison with the greatness of Tilson Thomas' conception and the magnificence of his execution. Similarly, the San Francisco Symphony is not quite as together as they could be in every bar of the piece. There are slips in ensemble, as well as the occasional flub that such virtuoso writing orchestral can cause in even the best bands. But again, the tremendous verve and enormous power the San Francisco musicians bring to the music more than make up for their few mistakes. High praise goes to James Morris for his stentorian bass, and to Erin Wall for her clarion soprano, but another soloist's diction is on-again, off-again. The San Francisco Symphony Chorus deserves cheers for its strength and agility, as do the children's choruses for their purity of tone, but both groups have occasional intonation problems. The weaknesses, though, are insignificant in the face of the sweep and grandeur of the total performance, which grabs listeners from the first bar and doesn't let go until they are left, starry-eyed and laughing, at the last ringing chord of the final Chorus Mysticus. This great "Eighth" is paired on the recording with a reading of the opening movement of Mahler's "Tenth" that makes its composer sound like a self-pitying, self-absorbed weakling. That such a puny and pusillanimous account comes before the first movement of the "Eighth" in the program is deeply regrettable. Played back on a standard stereo system, the performance sounds dim and distant unless turned up to the highest volume, and even then it's not significantly better. When it's played on a quadraphonic super-audio system, however, the performers seem to step into your living room, or, put another way, they're inviting you to step into their concert hall.

Editorial Reviews

BBC Music Magazine
The project has yielded distinguished results, and is distinctive for its deft combination of lean sonority, clean playing, clear recording, probing insights and characterisation.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/25/2009
Label:
Sfs Media
UPC:
0821936002124
catalogNumber:
60021
Rank:
111043

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major (incomplete)  - Gustav Mahler  - Dennis Collins  - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  -  San Francisco Symphony  - Alan Trugman  - Larry Rothe  - Luna Gertrude Steiner  (27:56)
  2. Symphony No. 8 in E flat major ("Symphony of a Thousand")

    • Gustav Mahler
    • Dennis Collins
    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    • Anthony Dean Griffey
    • James Morris
    • Yvonne Naef
    • San Francisco Girls Chorus
    • San Francisco Symphony Chorus
    • San Francisco Symphony
    • Katarina Karnéus
    • Alan Trugman
    • Pacific Boychoir
    • Larry Rothe
    • Laura Claycomb
    • Matthew Edwards
    • Ragnar Bohlin
    • Erin Wall
    • Elza van den Heever
    • Quinn Kelsey
    • Susan McMane
    • Kevin Fox
    • Luna Gertrude Steiner
    1. Part 2. Poco Adagio  (11:12)
    2. Part 1. Hymnus - Veni, creator spiritus  (07:28)
    3. Part 2. Waldung, sie schwankt heran  (04:57)
    4. Part 1. Accende lumen sensibus  (04:29)
    5. Part 2. Ewiger Wonnebrand  (01:14)
    6. Part 1. Infunde amorem cordibus  (08:55)
    7. Part 2. Wie Felsenabgrund mir zu Füssen  (04:36)
    8. Part 1. Gloria Patri Domino  (02:40)
    9. Part 2. Gerettet ist das edle Glied  (05:40)
    10. Part 2. Hier ist die Aussicht frei  (04:19)
    11. Part 2. Dir, der Unberührbaren  (05:02)
    12. Part 2. Du schwebst zu Höhen  (01:19)
    13. Part 2. Bei dem Bronn, zu dem schon weiland  (07:59)
    14. Part 2. Komm, hebe dich zu höhern Sphären  (01:16)
    15. Part 2. Blicket auf  (06:32)
    16. Part 2. Alles Vergängliche  (06:15)

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