Mahler: Symphony No. 5 - Abbado

Mahler: Symphony No. 5 - Abbado

Universal (Japan)  UCGG-9094

Stereo Single Layer

Classical - Orchestral

Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Claudio Abbado (conductor)

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3 of 3 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

Analogue recording
Comments (9)

Comment by SteelyTom - February 2, 2017 (1 of 9)

Has anyone had a chance to hear this in SHM-SACD format? I did some research on this February, 1980 recording, and the DG website's recording information suggests that the first three movements were recorded to analogue tape, with the last two recorded in 16/44.1 redbook digital. Which seems awfully peculiar.

Comment by hiredfox - February 12, 2017 (2 of 9)

Abbado was very much of the early digital era but such a transition beggars belief. The SQ of Universal's single layer SHM-SACD rarely fail to delight this listener but from what you have said this one could be a turkey. At the time of course digital recording was being hailed as the best thing since sliced bread and recoding studios were tripping over each other in their haste to be in the fast stream of the bathwater.

Comment by Kveld-Úlfr - February 19, 2017 (3 of 9)

As a Mahler and Abbado admirer, I will take the plunge at the end of the month, and keep you posted, unless someone else answered your questions before.


Comment by Kveld-Úlfr - March 25, 2017 (4 of 9)

Dear all,

I have had this disc for a bit more than 3 weeks and am listening to it right now. I have given it several dozens of listenning sessions to make sure the digital controversy you mentionned was to find an answer (at least listenning-wise : I have done no investigation in regards to the recording facts, though I think they can easily be confirmed or denied on the internet).

Unfortunately I have no time for a review so I will make this short and clear : if you're a Mahler and/or an Abbado fan, this disc will be a treat for you. I take this performance as a classic so there is no need for any comment regarding the musical aspect. Sound wise, in the second half (last movements) I have heard no artefact nor harshness or any coldness that could support the suspicion of a 44.1/16 recording... unless this digital recording was darn well made, to the point even a well-trained ear couldn't tell the difference.

In fact, I have found the sound of this disc to be quite constant. As much as the beginning of it is warm and [VERY] dynamic, even impressive, the end of it proves to be identical in terms of quality.

As Hiredfox said above, the SHM SA-CD rarely fails to delight.

Maybe someone else would indulge us with a confirmation by their own opinion and kindly take the time for a full review. Meanwhile, my advice is to grab it, crank it up, sit back, and enjoy.

Musically yours,


Comment by Tony Reif - March 26, 2017 (5 of 9)

The DG page for this disc cited by SteelyTom actually says this about the 4th and 5th movements: AAA Stereo 44 KHz 16 bit. The other three movements just say AAA Stereo. So this could mean that they recorded the last two movements in both analogue and digital. In which case, one would hope that they used the analogue tapes for this release. The Japanese mastering engineer would presumably know. Emil Berliner Studios would know, if they did the DSD transfer. Also have you looked carefully through the packaging? It might show ADD somewhere.

Comment by Kveld-Úlfr - March 28, 2017 (6 of 9)

Hi Tony,

Thanks for the tip. I had not thought about this indeed. Assuming there would be one, I have checked the "trigram" on the packaging -- this letter system was quickly abandonned after the 80's when fully digital recording became a norm.

And there was one alright : ADD.
So, it means : analog recording ; digital mixing ; digital pressing.
This trigram is the only one I found, supposedly meaning only one type of recording was used for this transfer. The second letter certainly refers to the DSD conversion and mixing. So we can assume that the original tapes are full analog, provided there exists, as you suggested, a taped duplicate of the digital recording of this last part, as it was mostly done at the beginning of the digital era, when hard-drives and machines used to crash every hour...

Comment by Tony Reif - January 18, 2018 (7 of 9)

Emil Berliner Studios confirms that the entire recording was mastered from the analogue tapes.

Comment by sancho santos - February 14, 2018 (8 of 9)

I have this record and the sound is uniform and is superb. in all the 5 movements.

The 6th Simphony is equal good.

Comment by hiredfox - February 14, 2018 (9 of 9)

The last few posts have reassured me of the integrity of Universal (Japan) recordings. Thank you