Composer: Gustav Mahler
Orchestra: New York Philharmonic
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Number of Discs: 3 SACD-R
Bit Depth: 64(2.8 MHz/1 Bit)
Number of channels: 5.0, 2.0
Label: Columbia / Sony Music
Size: 10 GB
Mahler: Symphony No.6 “Tragic”
01. 1.Satz:Allegro energico, ma non troppo
02. 2.Satz:Scherzo. Wuchtig
03. 3.Satz:Andante moderato
04. 4.Satz:Finale. Allegro moderato
Mahler: Symphony No.9
01. 1.Satz:Andante comodo
02. 2.Satz: Im Tempo eines gemachlichen Landlers
Leonard Bernstein’s first complete cycle of the Mahler symphonies, in the Japanese stereo/multichannel releases of what were originally 3-channel recordings.
For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, this 3 SACD set combines the 6th symphony (on two discs) with the 9th symphony (on the third disc).
The 6th Symphony, the “tragic” symphony, is often referred to as Mahler’s most conventional symphony, despite its size. It is in four movements and is written only for orchestra. The entire symphony is fairly aggressive and uptempo, with occasionally discursions. The final movement is most famous for the “hammer blows of fate,” where a member of the orchestra hits the stage with a large hammer.
The 9th Symphony is in a world of its own. It clearly shares connections to middle-period Mahler, but it is spiritually and sonically breaking away from the world in a way that is almost unique among works. I think the main reason so many conductors have resisted performing versions of the 10th Symphony is that there seems so little to say after the 9th (and indeed, the 10th sometimes seems like a vision of death after the journey there in the 9th). I debated when to post this in the cycle, but I decided to post it earlier rather than later. That said, bear in mind that this work makes more sense after listening to Das Lied von Der Erde.
For those who want to keep their Mahler Symphonies straight, a helpful guide.
If you want Bernstein on Mahler, there’s no better place than his televised “Young People’s Concert” on Mahler.
Musicweb has a comprehensive review of the entire cycle in the DSD remastering (but on RBCD)