A second indispensable MahlerAlbum Of The Week
From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:
The opening of this performance is triply reassuring. The naked trumpet solo is delivered with insolent ease; the sound is distinctively Bohemian; and the phrasing has the insouciance of total self-assurance. This is the second release in a projected cycle by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and its chief conductor Semyon Bychkov that is setting the pace for Mahler on record in this decade. I found its predecessor, the 4th symphony, ‘indispensable’; the 5th is no less compelling….
Read on here.
Et maintentant en francais ici
photo: Mahler in Prague, 1908
And in The Critic.
More to come.
So Bychkov is 2 for 2? I hope the rest of the cycle comes out as well. We still need a first-class set in SACD. Will the recent sale of Pentatone affect this in some way? I hope not.
If you’re not familiar with the Jonathan Nott/Bamberg Symphonie Mahler cycle on the Tudor label, that’s a very good, overall Mahler cycle that’s on SACD. If you don’t consider it “first-class”, it’s a solid upper second-class cycle. Symphonies 7, 8 and 9 are particularly good.
I wish someone would remaster the Neumann recordings, which have always been underrated, but ill-served in their current state. I was luck enough to hear them twice in Mahler in the mid 1980s, two of the greatest such performances I’ve experienced.
Go for the japanese CD set, it worth a remastering. Sound of CD SACD etc is not enough discussed
While no full cycle since Neumann, there are a number of other Czech Phil. Mahler recordings that are mostly unknown in the west, due to the fact that they’re on the expensive Japanese labels Canyon Classics and Exton (I believe they’re the same company). They involve Vladimir Ashkenazy, Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi, Eliahu Inbal (those are excellent!), as well as a few remakes by V. Neumann himself. In fact, Neumann came close to making an entire second cycle on Canyon Classics. David Hurwitz praised Neumann’s remake of M9 very highly. I liked his remake of M6 (actually Neumann’s third recording of M6). Particularly excellent is an M7 that Inbal made with the CPO – it would be my ‘desert isle’ recording of it. I’m told that Inbal’s Mahler 5 with the CPO on Exton is also really good. The Czech Phil. has kept on performing Mahler over the decades, without the help of a big-name, more readily available record company.
CD versions of Inbal’s M5 on JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) Denon pressings are surprisingly affordable; even the JDM 24Kt Gold CD remastering is not much money at all–in context.
US Market versions (pressed in Indiana) can be found on eBay, but aren’t huge bargains by comparison.
FWIW & YMMV, for sound quality, this recording has long been my reference Mahler Fifth–just listen to the beginning!
I heard the Czech Philharmonic play Mahler 5 in Jiri Belohlavek’s last performance with the orchestra, about three weeks before he died. To hear them play Mahler in the tiny Rudolfinum is truly special.
. . . and that reminded me that I left out Zdenek Macal, who has also made very fine Mahler recordings with the Czech Phil. on Exton.