Magazine article Czech Music

Gustav Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 1-9

Magazine article Czech Music

Gustav Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 1-9

Article excerpt

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Gustav Mahler Symphonies nos. 1-9

Gabriela Benackova, Magdalena Hajossyova, Inge Nielsen, Daniela Sounova-Brookova--soprano, Eva Randova, Vera Soukupova, Libuse Marova--alto, Christa Ludwig--mezzo soprano, Thomas Moser--tenor, Wolfgang Schone--baritone, Richard Novak--bass, The Prague Philharmonic Choir, The Prague Radio Choir, the Kuhn Children's Choir, the Czech Philharmonic, Vaclav Neumann.

Production: not stated. Text: Cz., Eng., Ger., Fr. Recorded: 1970-1982. Released: 2006. TT: 73:59, 75:36, 56:30, 34:41, 55:52, 69:54, 79:00, 46:17, 59:28, 54:59, 77:28. ADD, DDD. II CD Supraphon SU 3880-2.

This re-issue in one box and with only minimal textual supplement makes one very much aware of how much has changed since the first publication of Neumann's complete set of Mahler symphonies on LPs in the 1980s, with artistically designed sleeves and the aura of an exceptional event. Supraphon policy has changed, but so too has the world of Mahler recordings, in which Vaclav Neumann can no longer be regarded the sole messenger and discoverer that he was considered to be in the years when he stood at the head of the Czech Philharmonic. Today we are allowed to say that the very first complete set of Mahler symphonies was actually Rafael Kubelik's recording with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra a good ten years earlier, and there are some grounds for thinking Kubelik's complete set to be the more interesting. On the other hand I discovered with pleasure that Neumann's complete set has much to offer even alongside the remarkable creations of the last two decades. Unlike the dramatic Kubelik, Neumann does not go to extremes, maintains as it were a birds-eye view, captures the ironic humour and robust rhythm, and imbues the dance parts with a peculiarly "Viennese-Slav" air. …

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