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Posted October 1, 2010
This is a very competitive recording of Mahler's 8th Symphony, otherwise
known as the "Symphony of a Thousand" due to the number of performing
forces at the premiere. The number of performers on the present CD may
not be a thousand, but it comes pretty darn close judging from the picture on the back of the jewel case. The symphony is in two parts, the
first a massive chorus based on the Latin chant "Veni Creator Spiritus" and the second a musical setting of Part II of Gorthe's Faust.
This performance has the misfortune of competing with the older "super-
star" versions such as Bernstein and Solti. Excellent as those record- ings are, to not consider this recording on any reason other than its musicality would be wrong indeed. From the very first chorus introduced by that famous solo organ chord, this is a performance that keeps your attention and doesn't let go. All the performing forces are first-rate as they have to be to successfully tackle this monumental work. The dozen soloists (at least) are all up to the task, and the orchestra and various choruses headlined by the ASO Chorus are committed from page one and keep going to the majestic conclusion with power to spare.
My only complaint is that the organ was recorded seperatly in an Atlanta
church and dubbed into the performasnce itself done at Atlanta Syphony Hall, which as you can guess does not have an organ. Why one of the major concert venues in the country does not is beyond me and is some-
thing that ought to be addressed. That said, the dubbing is to my ears
sucessfully done and sounded like the organ was indeed in Symphony Hall.
The recorded sound is excellent and presents all the performers with as
much clarity as can be humanly done without sacrificing the full-bodied
sound this work should have. In closing, buy this recording no matter
how many Mahler 8ths you may have, especially given the new budget price.