Gustav Mahler's Symphonies: Critical Commentary on Recordings since 1986

By Lewis M. Smoley | Go to book overview

SYMPHONY NO. 5 IN C-SHARP
MINOR
Movements:Part I:
1. Trauermarsch. In gemessenem Schritt.
Streng. Wie ein Konduct.
2. Sturmisch bewegt. Mit grosster Vehemenz.

Part II:

3. Scherzo. Kräftig, nicht zu schnell.

Part III:

4. Adagietto. Sehr langsam.
5. Rondo-Finale. Allegro.

ABBADO, CLAUDIO/Chicago Symphony - 2-DG 1707 128 (1981); DG 419 835 (1988); 427 254 (1989) "72:13" In an effort to be stylish, Abbado engages in exaggerated mannerisms and extremes of tempo. An over-emotive funeral march sometimes played by weeping woodwinds infuses the music with an extremely morose quality. Yet a more restrained, even studious approach is taken in second movement. Much too tame for this violently angry music, Abbado's reading seems sapped of vitality before it gets started. Although Abbado does achieve a strong climax before the coda, phrases are clipped and the return of the scherzo subject is not well-coordinated. Part II (Scherzo) begins nicely but soon loses energy, plodding along spiritlessly. Balances could be improved and the faster sections before the coda could have been more cleanly played. The final section is rushed abominably and recorded too loudly. Although the Adagietto is expansive, it lacks stylish nuance of phrasing and depleting its emotive effect, it drags on without direction. The finale opens well (even the sound and balances improve) and playing is more energetic although lacking sensitivity and warmth. Some vulgar mannerisms occur and contrast strangely with rushed climaxes. The performance breaks loose in the final moments coming to a rapid, rollicking close.

ABBADO, CLAUDIO/Berlin Philharmonic - DG 437 789–2 (1993); 10-DG 447 023 (1995) "69:29"+ If excellent playing and superb sound quality were all that was necessary to make a performance succeed, this would be one of the best available, but the music's dramatic force and joyful spirit are so tempered that it fails to impress. The first movement makes a promising beginning; the funeral march theme has just the right hesitency, accentuation

-107-

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Gustav Mahler's Symphonies: Critical Commentary on Recordings since 1986
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Symphony No. 1 in D Major ("Titan") 1
  • Symphony No. 2 in C Minor ("Resurrection") 33
  • Symphony No. 3 in D Minor 59
  • Symphony No. 4 in G Major 81
  • Symphony No. 5 in C-Sharp Minor 107
  • Symphony No. 6 in a Minor ("Tragic") 141
  • Symphony No. 7 in E Minor ("Song of the Night") 167
  • Symphony No. 8 in E-Flat Major ("Symphony of a Thousand") 189
  • Das Lied Von der Erde 205
  • Symphony No. 9 in D Major 225
  • Symphony No. 10 in F-Sharp Major (Unfinished) 255
  • Bibliography 268
  • Index to Conductors 269
  • Index to Orchestras 284
  • Index to Soloists 298
  • Index to Choruses 322
  • Index to Record Labels 334
  • About the Author 355
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