Mahler: Symphony No. 8

Mahler: Symphony No. 8 "Symphony of a Thousand"

5.0 2
by Antoni Wit
     
 

Even though Gustav Mahler's vast "Symphony No. 8 in E flat major, Symphony of a Thousand," is the most difficult of his works to mount -- with an expanded orchestra, an organ, eight vocal soloists, boys choir, two large adult choirs, and an off-stage brass ensemble, it outstrips even the massive instrumentation used in the "Symphony No.See more details below

Overview

Even though Gustav Mahler's vast "Symphony No. 8 in E flat major, Symphony of a Thousand," is the most difficult of his works to mount -- with an expanded orchestra, an organ, eight vocal soloists, boys choir, two large adult choirs, and an off-stage brass ensemble, it outstrips even the massive instrumentation used in the "Symphony No. 2, Resurrection" -- it has become one of the most frequently recorded of the cycle. Indeed, its increased popularity is due in part to the greater availability of recordings of the work. This Naxos recording by Antoni Wit and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, augmented by various singers and choirs, is one in a long list of perfectly acceptable renditions, though like most, it is not ideal in every respect. Some slight coordination problems between the choirs and the orchestra make the Veni, Creator Spiritus seem a little loose in the tutti passages; and the the vocal solos and ensemble passages are given too much rubato, specifically at "Infirma nostri corporis" and "Da gaudiorum praemia," an effect that breaks the movement's momentum. Part II bears these affecting touches better, since the final scene from "Faust" amounts to a sacred opera in Wit's interpretation, and such flexible pacing is a time-honored post-Romantic mannerism. On the whole, this performance is enthusiastic and polished, and there are no dull stretches or major mistakes to complain about; for a good recording to study the piece, this double-disc will fill the bill nicely, especially at the affordable price. The sound quality is fine throughout, and many of the orchestral niceties missed on other releases come through quite clearly.

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Editorial Reviews

Stereophile - Robert Levine
[July 2006 Recording of the Month] In addition to being a bargain and a wonderful performance, this is the most aurally stunning performance of this vast work to appear.... The performance by the Warsaw National Philharmonic is absolutely topnotch.... The soloists are glorious, one and all.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/18/2006
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0730099553322
catalogNumber:
8550533
Rank:
301159

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 8 in E flat major ("Symphony of a Thousand")  - Gustav Mahler  - Piotr Nowacki  - Jadwiga Rappe  -  Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir  -  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra  - Antoni Wit  - Henryk Wojnarowski  - Timothy Bentch  - Wojciech Drabowicz  - Izabella Klosinska  - Kazimierz Szymonik  -  Warsaw Boys' Choir  -  Polish Radio Chorus Cracow  -  Choir of Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw  -  Polish Radio Chorus, Kraców  - Wlodzimierz Siedlik  - Marta Boberska  - Barbara Kubiak  - Krzysztof Kusiel-Moroz  - Ewa Marciniec

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Antoni Wit   Primary Artist

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