Mahler: Symphony No. 1 - Tilson Thomas
San Francisco Symphony SFS 0043
Classical - Orchestral
Mahler: Symphony No. 1
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor)
The San Francisco Symphony with Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas begin offering reissues of their award-winning and critically acclaimed Mahler cycle with Symphony No. 1, in Hybrid SACD format and packaged in SACD jewel cases. Mahler's Symphony No. 1 was one of the most stunning debuts in symphonic music history. This powerful and passionate performance of Mahler's "Titan" was recorded during the SFS concerts of 19 - 23 September 2001, and captures the live-performance excitement of the Grammy-winning conductor-symphony partnership that the Los Angeles Times declared "the most exciting Mahler combination anywhere right now."
Review by John Broggio - November 8, 2008
This is a reading that I find hard to match with the glowing reviews accorded to it.
The playing in the main is good but far from that of a front rank, world class orchestra especially one steeped in a tradition of performing Mahler. For one thing, the brass above a forte becomes rather blaring than piercing to this listeners ears and becomes quite uncomfortable on repeated listening. The main issue is one of Tilson-Thomas' conducting - quite why he feels it necessary to rush through the (what should be to these ears) terrifying restatement of the opening motif at around 8 minutes and obviate any feeling of panic is not apparent. Nor are the many contrary expansions of ritardando's to the almost perversely turgid. Both the rushing and the slowing have, for this listener at least, ruined any sense of a build up of momentum by continually pulling the underlying tempo around by such a large extent that it breaks rather than bends.
The engineering is very good for a live performance although a far greater amount of audience noise mid-music intrudes than on the comparable Mahler: Symphony No. 1 - Jansons (until the Dutch audience erupts with acclamation after the final orchestral hammer blows).
As other reviews illustrate though, this approach finds its admirers and devotees - it is clear that Mahler divides performers and listeners as almost no other composer, so do listen before purchasing.
Copyright © 2008 John Broggio and HRAudio.net