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Mahler: Symphony No. 1, Lieder / Rafael Kubelik, Fischer-Dieskau
Here's a delightful coupling: Mahler's First Symphony and the song cycle that donated many of its themes to the larger work. Best of all, both performances are superb. Rafael Kubelik is the dark horse among Mahler conductors. His interpretations are always fresh, unforced, and seemingly without exaggeration. However, he knows how to build a climax, and his generally swift tempos never permit a minute's boredom. There are many moments to cherish in his performance of the symphony, not least the delicious woodwind playing and the tangy trumpets in the third movement's Fiddler on the Roof music. Reissued at midprice in excellently remastered sound--better than most new digitals in many respects--this is a performance that remains one of the best, and as a coupling it's unbeatable. --David Hurwitz
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Klangtechnisch ist diese Aufnahme aus den 70er-Jahren gut, aber nicht herausragend.
Das in weiten Teilen impressionistische Klanggebilde des ersten Satzes dirigiert Kubelik sehr transparent und klangschön. Der herrliche Naturlaut wird fein und genau herausgearbeitet, keine Nuance geht verloren.
Im Scherzo zeigt das Symphonie Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, was es kann, dass es hervorragend spielt. Das gehende Tempo tut dem Ganzen sehr gut, wirkt entschlackt und beschwingt.
Im herrlichen wenngleich bizarren langsamen Satz verzichtet Kubelik auf überflüssigen Tand und spielt streng unprätentiös, ohne dabei den wundervollen, bewegenden leidenschaftlichen Ausbrüche zu wenig Aufmerksamkeit zu schenken.
Besonders beeindruckt hat mich allerdings das unglaublich durchsichtig gespielte Finale. In vielen anderen Einspielungen empfand ich es weniger als jubelnd - wie hier - als vielmehr als lärmend und schwer fassbar. Kubelik lässt es wirklich zum Finale erstehen.
Als Zugabe gibt's die wahrscheinlich beste Einspielung der "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen", dieses so stark an Schuberts "Winterreise" angelehnten Zyklus' von Orchesterliedern, der dank des phänomenalen Dietrich Fischer Dieskaus zu einem ganz besonderen Erlebnis wird. Diese Aufnahme beweist, dass selbst diese frühe Komposition Gustav Mahlers bereits ein Meisterwerk ist.
Fazit: Neben der Boulez Einspielung der beste "Titan"! Dazu noch die Referenzeinspielung der "Gesellen" Lieder! Beides trotz des recht hohen Alters in ausgezeichneter Tonqualität.
Mon vinyl de 1969 ou 1970 a mystérieusement disparu de ma discothèque, ce CD fait ( presque ) l'affaire.
Kubelik uses middle-of-the-road tempi for the 1st movement which is given a rather casual-appearing reading until the finale of the movement. Interestingly, Kubelik's live Munich recording with the BRSO in 1979 (on the Audite label) clocks in at over a minute faster. The 2nd lively movement of Symphony 1 is just plain fun with its dance-like motion evolving into crescendoing dynamics and tempo and then back to a waltz. Intervals of perfect fourths back and forth until one last crescendo into the ether. Then comes Mahler's well-known take on Frere Jacques in minor key. The proverbial bolt of lightning from a dark cloud opens the fiery 4th movement with its contrasting lyrical passages. Throughout the final movement, Kubelik has the music well in hand despite appearances of the music having its own life quite detached from the conductor's baton.
The recording's sound completely belies its age. Occasionally the violins are a bit harsh. The orchestra is well-balanced. The brass are exceptional. This is an amazing performance of one of the few extraordinary first symphonies of any composer. Kubelik and his Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra perform splendidly, making this one of the finest performances ever. Very highly recommended!!!
I am wondering how original this music is. The third song sounds an awful lot like Frer a Jacqua, and the happy parts of the loud forth song sound SO MUCH like music from my favorite movie, “Dumb and Dumber.” My friend says, no, it is from the “Ren and Stimpy” show, but I don’t watch that low-brow stuff. It is so uncool to be, like, appropriating other people’s culture. This record is a bit like white boys trying to sing hip-hop, you know?
This CD is obviously from an older LP. The first four songs must be Side A. The B side has the same orchestra, but some guy singing. He kind of barks a lot and sounds like he is straining something. I think it is kind of rad to have no singing in the first four songs, but, like, maybe they could have used some words two. Otherwise we have to just figure out what it is all about on our own, you know? But this guy singing—man. He is the wurst. Like our neighbor’s dog Foofoo or something when I backed the Duster over her tail. If they had mixed these songs up among the songs in the first half--without any vocalist--it might have been better. It would have at least dilauded all this singing, and maybe given the albem some focus or theme, like Prog Rock at its best.
In summery conclusion, I wish I could like this better. I will keep trying, and maybe soon I will see what Bernard likes so much. I am sure the next albem will be better! Keep trying!
The playing of the Bavarian Radio Symphony, who sound very much like a Czech orchestra here (Kubelik was, of course, a Czech, and you can argue that Mahler's background was as much Moravian as it was Austrian), is not blemish-free. This is especially evident through headphones. DG's sonics, while clear, can be thin and abrasive; as a result, some climaxes don't have the oomph that they really need (and for this, I blame the recording more than the conducting). If you can listen past these shortcomings, which in my opinion are not deal-breakers, you'll hear a Mahler First which is pretty close to ideal.
As for the coupling, Fish-Disk's circa-1970 "Songs of a Wayfarer" accompanied by Kubelik & Co., I would say it's a valuable adjunct to the symphony. However, either of the great baritone's other commercially available recordings (the 1950s set with Furtwangler, and a live performance in the New York Philharmonic "Mahler broadcasts" boxed set) find him on better behavior, less inclined to over-emote.
The finale bursts forth powerfully as if black, swirling storm clouds burst onto a sunny day. Here, he brings us back to the beginning in a victorious sound, which then ends in a horn dominated ending.
This time honored recording by Kubelik is passionate and up-tempo. What has been termed as "breakthrough" in this First Symphony certainly rings forth from the conductor's interpretation and this strong rendering from the Bavarian Symphony Radio Orchestra.
Symphony No. 1 was my first, and for many years, my only acquaintance with the brilliant composer. In acquiring this power-injected disc, its position as my favorite Mahler is reclaimed without a hitch (that is at least until the next time I listen to the Sixth as recorded by the Atlanta Symphony with Yoel Levi)! To be sure, a gamut of emotions is explored here. (Remember, Mahler the symphonist is always attempting to wrap his arms around the world.) But overall, with the ebullient first movement establishing the tone, this particular symphony to me is--in four words--delightfully sunny and fun. Do note also, how with the use of the cyclical form in the Finale, Mahler pulls the work together, reprising and interlacing themes from the first movement.
Sonically, the remastered 1968 recording is dazzlingly hot, which makes for considerably kicked-up immediacy (source master volume level). Likewise, I'd say it's rather bright (i.e. ample on the high end). Don't worry though, that doesn't mean it's too edgy, harsh or short on warmth. Still, if you're like me--typically preferring to set your treble control all the way up--in this case I'd suggest cranking it back a few notches. You won't miss anything. Another remastering benefit of note: It's nice, for a change, not to have to either strain or boost the volume to hear the softly opening "Frere Jacques" tune of the third movement.
While generally not an avid fan of classical song, I was quite unexpectedly taken aback by the apt coupling of the Songs of a Wayfarer (the melodic foundation of much of Symphony 1). Altogether, these are so richly and deliciously rendered with such verve by baritone, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (accompanied by the BRSO), that I surprisingly found myself not just appreciating but actually enjoying them. Go figure, in spite of myself.