Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mahler's 9th, Giulini, The Fabulous Philadelphians in 1972: What a ride!

Statework is ridiculously proud to present (all thanks to Ray):

Gustav Mahler

Symphony # 9

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor

Alan places the recording from either the March 17

(Friday concert) or March 18 (Saturday evening concert)

Philadelphia, PA


Ray contributed this, "One of the great performances of this symphony. In excellent sound. "

In the crowded football field full of Mahler 9th recordings that exist in the world, here is a standout, a steal, a touchdown.

-Or, as some of my fellow broadcast freaks ahem, expert listeners have effused: "...a gem, indeed...", "As fine as his studio recording is, this is even better. Again, the situation of a live performance is just more tense and intense. Did I hear
Giulini's voice somewhere in the first movement? And forget about that
trumpet intonation at the start of III, the orchestra is flat out gorgeous..."

Tom V, a Statework member, remembers the concerts:

"I was there at the Saturday night concert, up in the $1.50 or $2 "nosebleed" seats in the amphitheatre of the Academy of Music. It was my first live performance of any Mahler symphony and "live" is an understatement.

Giulini's Chicago recording never matched my memories of the Phila concert. Now I know my memory is correct.

Three notes:
1.Giulini conducted the performance w/o a score.

2. I don't recall a dog barking during Saturday's performance, so this must be Friday.

3. The announcer is probably from the late lamented WFLN, which was heavily involved in the production of the Orchestra's radio series for many years..."

My own scribbling from a third hearing (many more have passed since then!) include '...incisive attacks-surging, oceanic but opposite of schmaltz-then a clearing, a respite...3:47 Giulinian stomping ensues-'

Please listen closely to this recording for what you will, not least of which may include the oddball, "...And I thought there was a dog bark in the last movement! Sounded like a little lap thing who woke up in her master's purse"

En fin, a must-have. If it happens to be your first brush with the Mahler 9th or Mahler 's work (gasp!) in general, you couldn't have come across a finer first date. And before this I thought I was taking a Mahler vacation...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tchaikovsky's WarHorse Cometh: 1st Piano Concerto with Hough, Vänskä & The Marvelous Minnesotans: Oct 3, 2009

Pyotr Illych Tchaikovsky
Piano Concerto No.1

Minnesota Orchestra

Osmo Vänskä, conductor

Stephen Hough, soloist

October 3, 2009


[Wagner Siegfried Idyll- available but not in this post]

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1

including Siloti's de-arrangement of the slow movement as an encore

[Bartok The Miraculous Mandarin- unrecorded]

Hyperion Records (UK)

will offer this recording (mixed in, I imagine, with a few other nights' efforts) officially as a CD in March, but this is a sneak peek in decidedly inferior sound. Huge fun.

Yes, I still love the warhorses. So what. I can enjoy the weirdo, off beaten pathway modern composers deeply, but you've got to get silly and wave your arms around to a tried-and-true stonker every so often as well. Here is the Tchaikovsky First, and if it is your first version of it, you are in for it.

There's a small leap in the sound continuity right in the beginning, but none of it can detract from the happening captured here.

I admit to being an impatient listener to yet another new Tchaikovsky First, usually going straight to the Third Movement's hustle and sprint to see what the pairing of orchestra and soloist is up to by then. No disappointments at all there, and the whole affair holds more delights, even upon repeated listening- what more to ask?

The take is a rip-snort, plunge-taking, ace-at-the-controls barnstorm that brings to mind the epic 1940 Carnegie Hall battle between the young Horowitz and Barbirolli, abetted by a whipsmart New York Philharmonic in that instance.

Though more controlled and cooperative here, the give and take of the Minnesotans and Hough is something I can't wait to hear in high quality sound on official release!

enjoy, best heard at unconscionable volume and with a generous nature towards lo-fi...