Mahler 7 – Discography [2/2]

A survey of the four last movements. Two night musics framing a scherzo before a Rondo finale. (1st movement)

20 remaining versions with 4 Kubelík – sorry, 2 Neumann, 2 Haitink & 2 Jansons :

1961 Rafael Kubelik Koln
1965 Leonard Bernstein New York Philharmonic
1968 Otto Klemperer New Philharmonia Orchestra
1968 Vaclav Neumann Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig
1969 Bernard Haitink Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Amsterdam
1970 Rafael Kubelik Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
1976 Rafael Kubelik Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
1978 Vaclav Neumann Ceska Filharmonie
1981 Rafael Kubelik New York Philharmonic
1989 Emil Tabakov Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
1989 Seiji Ozawa Boston Symphony Orchestra
1991 Leif Segerstam Dansk Radiosymfoniorkestret
1992 Bernard Haitink Berliner Philharmoniker
1992 Giuseppe Sinopoli Philharmonia Orchestra
1998 Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi Ceska Filharmonie
2000 Mariss Jansons Oslo Filharmoniske Orkester
2016 Adam Fischer Duesseldorfer Symphoniker
2017 Mariss Jansons Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam
2019 Iván Fischer Budapest Festival Orchestra

1 – Nachtmuzik 1

1961 – Rafael Kubelík – Koln – Live
The distant taking makes you think of a ghost music. But it’s too far away. 7.5

1965 – Leonard Bernstein – New  York Philharmonic
Atmospheres, drive, rather good sound. 8

1968 – Otto Klemperer New Philharmonia Orchestra
It is too slow and too great! Amazing sound – and one of the best orchestras at that time – thrills you all along. 9 despite the too much slow tempo (22’12 compared to Haitink’s 15’31).

1968 – Vaclav Neumann – Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig
Not the best horns. Rather relaxed, but a certain mittle Europa style. 8

1969 – Bernard Haitink – Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Amsterdam
Beginning more pastoral, superb orchestra then it lacks of animation. 7.5

1970 – Rafael Kubelík – Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
There is more humor here it is even sometimes creaky, everything – to begin with the horn solo – is more characterized. 9

1976 – Rafael Kubelík – Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks – Live
A little less characterized than the previous studio. 8

1978 – Vaclav Neumann – Ceska Filharmonie
Rather poetic but a little pale. 7.5

1981 – Rafael Kubelík – New York Philharmonic – Live
Slower than with Munich. Beautiful articulations but not very lively. 7.5

1989 – Seiji Ozawa Boston Symphony Orchestra
Beautifully played, rather cold, doesn’t sustain attention. 7

1989 – Emil Tabakov – Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Distant sound. A little slow, lacks of animation and character. 7

1991 – Leif Segerstam – Dansk Radiosymfoniorkestret
Wagnerian horns, lacks of humor, a pleasant movement. 7.5

1992 – Giuseppe Sinopoli – Philharmonia Orchestra
30 y after Klemperer, still a superb orchestra. Detailed conducting in a very good sound, but doesn’t interest much. 7

1992 – Bernard Haitink – Berliner Philharmoniker
Never been convinced that Berlin suits Mahler’s music. Of course, beautifully played anyway, stylish conducting but not exciting. 7.5

1998 – Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi Ceska Filharmonie
Drive, atmospheres, lively lecture. 8

2000 – Mariss Jansons – Oslo Filharmoniske Orkester – Live
Decided, vivid, engaged. Norwegian cow bells? 8.5

2016 – Adam Fischer – Duesseldorfer Symphoniker
Detailed conducting. More stylish than engaged. 7.5

2017 – Mariss Jansons – Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam – Live
Superb playing (live). We don’t have the same engagement than with Olso. 7.5

2019 – Iván Fischer Budapest Festival Orchestra
Maybe the fastest of this selection with Neumann 1; too light, lacks of accents. 7

2 – Scherzo

I will pursue with only 7 versions (the other ones above are in my opinion highly recommendable though):

1965 Leonard Bernstein New York Philharmonic
1968 Otto Klemperer New Philharmonia Orchestra
1968 Vaclav Neumann Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig
1970 Rafael Kubelik Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
1976 Rafael Kubelik Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
1998 Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi Ceska Filharmonie
2000 Mariss Jansons Oslo Filharmoniske Orkester

1965 – Leonard Bernstein – New York Philharmonic
I think it is the first time I keep Bernstein in a comparative survey so far (except for DLVDE). It’s lacking of presence, despite of some exaggerations, it sounds rather soft and not meaningful at all. 7

1968 – Otto Klemperer – New Philharmonia Orchestra
It’s rather morbid, scathing though the tempo is too slow, it is impressive. 8

1968 – Vaclav Neumann – Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig
Rather dramatic, a little dull sometimes. 7.5

1970 – Rafael Kubelik – Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Rustic ad lib, waited for more but is it possible? 8

1976 – Rafael Kubelik – Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Exactly the same tempo as for the studio recording some years before. Maybe more engagement here for once. 8.5

1998 – Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi – Ceska Filharmonie
A little disappointment, not vivid enough for my taste. Excellent though. 7.5

2000 – Mariss Jansons – Oslo Filharmoniske Orkester
Slower tempo, lively, accents, dynamics, superb. 8.5

I will keep the same ones.

4 – Nachtmuzik 2

1965 – Leonard Bernstein – New York Philharmonic
Slow tempo, nice mandolin,  you fell the joy appearing, sounds like a classic. 8

1968 – Otto Klemperer – New Philharmonia Orchestra
Happiness again, it sounds, breathes, with a light Viennese touch, not the best mandolin though. 8.5

1968 – Vaclav Neumann – Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig
Rather light at he beginning, superb animation in the middle? Vivid. 8

1970 – Rafael Kubelik – Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Eloquence, style, what else? 8.5

1976 – Rafael Kubelik – Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Definitely a superb concert, I still prefer the studio recording, straighter. 8

1998 – Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi – Ceska Filharmonie
Softened, rather boring. 7

2000 – Mariss Jansons – Oslo Filharmoniske Orkester
Again this vivid sound. Joy approaching too here. 8.5

5 – Rondo Finale

1965 – Leonard Bernstein – New York Philharmonic
I love this controversial movement, as do my friend the composer Régis Campo who likes so much joy in music. A little disappointment, sounds more decorative than joyful. 7.5

1968 – Otto Klemperer – New Philharmonia Orchestra
Impressive, but rather heavy, please Otto show some joy… 7

1968 – Vaclav Neumann – Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig
Not very exciting, good passages though. 7.5 

1970 – Rafael Kubelik – Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
I know this by heart “c’est splendide”. 8.5

1976 – Rafael Kubelik – Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Again a little less lively than the studio recording (!). 8

1998 – Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi – Ceska Filharmonie
Impressive timpani at the beginning, great animation, many rumblings from Kobayashi, a little tunnel in the middle but superb ending. 8

2000 – Mariss Jansons – Oslo Filharmoniske Orkester
A feast, plenty of drive, an unbridled Jansons. 8.5

So my preferred are Kubelik – SOBR, Jansons – Oslo and Klemperer.

This is probably my last Mahler survey, I did a very long time ago M 2, an essential score, but finally getting boring listening to many versions (used it to scare my daughter when she was a child…), did M 4 too 12 years ago and I am not a great fan of M 5 and moreover of M 6, not speaking of M 8, definitely apart and M 3 is too long. Probably next surveys will be Ainsi la nuit or Notations

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