"…[The Korngold] songs are quite wonderful, and we listeners should be grateful for Kirchschlager's persuasive advocacy….Pianist Helmut Deutsch is several notches above most accompanists, with his consideration of the soloist and his expressive nuances…" ~American Record Guide
Even if one always has doubts about Simon Rattle conducting Mahler - doubts about his sincerity and his seriousness - even if one has always questioned his radically wrong tempos in the Second and Fourth and his amazingly uncomprehending interpretations of the Sixth and Seventh - one has to admit that Rattle has over time gradually been getting better at recording Mahler.
Like the growth of the cult of Christ, the growth of the cult of Mahler started with the man himself performing his works whenever and wherever he had the chance. Like Christ, Mahler was followed by true believers who had known him and who proselytized for him among the unbelievers with the fervor of musical Pentecostals. The true believers were followed by those who had never known the man himself but whose belief was therefore all the more passionate and subjective. And thus it was that the faith spread from Mahler to Walter, Klemperer, and Mengelberg; and then on to Mitropoulos, Bernstein, Kubelik, Solti, and Haitink; then on to Abbado, Bertini, Boulez, de Waart, Inbal, Maazel, and Rattle, spreading from the true believers to the passionate believers of the true believers to those who still keep the belief but whose faith is more reason than emotion, more intellect than spirit, more nuance than rapture.
You will probably be as incredulous as I was to learn that the greatest cycle of Mahler symphonies comes not from any of the usual suspects - Abbado, Bernstein, Chially, Haitink, Kubelik, Rattle, Sinopoli, Solti, Tennstedt - but from the unsung Gary Bertini, who spent the better part of his career as music director of the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra. Unlike any of those more publicized sets, each of which includes a misfire or two, Bertini is consistently successful from first to last; his performance of each of these works can stand comparison with the very best available.
My first reaction was to wonder whether we had not passed saturation-point for recordings of Mahler's Fifth Symphony. Over a dozen are currently available, of which any one of those mentioned above should satisfy the needs of even an insatiable Mahlerian. All are performances on insight, executed in majestic style, and several are available on CD. Now comes Sinopoli to add to the pile. Remembering colleagues' reviews of his London performances of Mahler, I put this recording on the turntable with misgivings. But I have to report that I now gladly make room for this remarkable performance alongside my other favourites. It does not displace them, but it complements them.
Part of the art of conducting seems to me to lie in the ability to make the listener attend afresh to familiar music, to reveal new or different facets. This is what Sinopoli does here, and whatever may go on in the concert hall (I have not heard him there), in the recording studio, judging by this release, the most certainly does not miss or misjudge the spirit of the music.
It was bound to happen sooner or later: pretty much everything known by Mahler put into one box (16 cd's).EMI and DG–which also drew on the catalogues of Decca and Philips–have each produced complete-edition boxed sets to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Mahler's birth. One set seems like an inexhaustible treasure trove; the other one is more like a mere assemblage of all of Mahler's music.
Michael Tilson Thomas is among today's foremost interpreters of Gustav Mahler, and critic Mark Swed, writing in the Los Angeles Times, has called MTT and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra "The most exciting Mahler combination anywhere right now". The Mahler Project in Studio Master including all of Mahler's Symphonies and Songs as recorded by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas. This collection's recordings have been awarded a combined seven Grammy Awards.
"Denon can be counted on to give Inbal admirable sonics - full, clear, and very detailed. They were among the first labels to overcome digital glare and hardness, which gave Inbal's cycles of Mahler, Bruckner, and Shostakovich a leg up…" ~mahlerreviews.com