Mahler: Symphony No. 9by Simon Rattle
Before Simon Rattle, only two other conductors had recorded Mahler's "Ninth Symphony" with both the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Berliner Philharmoniker: Claudio Abbado and Leonard Bernstein (although it should be added that Bernstein also recorded the work with the New York Philharmonic and the Concertgebouw Orchestra and that his Vienna performance is available only as a video.) Placed in that company, Rattle emerges about mid-pack, making a stronger impression than Bernstein by eliciting supremely taught playing from the Berlin group, but falling short of Abbado's unrelenting intensity and attention to detail. Where Rattle is content to allow the Vienna Orchestra to cruise on sensual autopilot, Abbado demands complete attention, forcing the ensemble to play even better than it usually does. So, while the sound of the world's most virtuosic orchestra tearing loose in the Rondo-Burleske under Rattle is undeniably breathtaking, one may miss the warmth, passion, and dedication of the performance with Abbado. However, the English conductor manifestly knows the work backwards and forwards, and his leadership is highly illuminating in the works knottiest pages. EMI's digital sound for Rattle is lush and full, but, again, not nearly as vividly present as DG's digital sound for Abbado.
- Release Date:
- Warner Classics
- Symphony No. 9 in D major
Performance CreditsSimon Rattle Primary Artist
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The Berliner Phliharmoniker are since several decades now THE authority when it comes Gustav Mahler's seminal autumnal post-romantic master piece, his ninth symphony. Rattle's and his Berliner's new reading here is a very good one indeed - no doubt. EMI's sound recording is second to none, as a matter of fact this CD has some the best sonorics and resulutions ever from their entire Rattle cataloque. All movements are exquisite: The tender opening of the Andante comodo, the Laendler is being performing with an almost sunny Dolomitian or South Tirolian charme "Mahler wrote this symphony while on vacation in South Tirol, now Italy", the Rondo-Burleske shows some of Sir Simon's love for detail thus his tempi are not too pushy, except in the finale, where he really lets the Berliner loose... the crown jewel however remains the Adagio, where an unusually earhtly warmth transcends almost every bar, and here is where the real difference lies between what I personally would call a five star recording and a very good four star one: Take the Karajan '82, and you are in a symphonic heaven with etheral and eternal beauty, there is fire there, heroism, drama, creation, optimism. Take Rattle, and you are more organic, more "biological", with a finite life. So while for me Karajan's historic '82 live recording remains the last word and is from the heavens, with all it's beauty and all it's fire and fury, Rattle's is more down to earth, extending the "Lied von der Erde", and anticipating the Mahler's 10th... And then of course there Lenny B. , with his historic Berlin recording from '79... So here my list: 1" Karajan Live 1982 - expensive, but worth every cent 2" Shared by Rattle' new account, and Bernstein's courageous attempt to tame the Berliner's in his only performance with them... PS: Some people like Abbado's account, but I don't...