MAHLER: Symphony No. 2 in C minor "Resurrection."
Dorothea Röschmann, soprano; Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano; New York Choral Artists; New York Philharmonic/Alan Gilbert, cond.
ACCENTUS MUSIC DVD ACC 20241 TT: 111:40
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MAHLER: Symphony No. 2 in C minor "Resurrection."
Diana Damrau, soprano; Petra Lang, mezzo-soprano; Berlin State Opera Chorus; Berlin Staatskapelle/Pierre Boulez, cond.
EUROARTS DVD 2054424 TT: 89 min.
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MAHLER: Symphony No. 2 in C minor "Resurrection."
Eteru Gvazava, soprano; Anna Larsson, contralto; Orféon Donostiarra; Lucerna Festival Orch/Claudio Abbado, cond.
EUROARTE DVD 2053264 TT: 86 min.
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MAHLER: Symphonies 1 -7
Soloists; Choruses; Lucerna Festival Orch/Claudio Abbado, cond.
EUROARTS BLU RAY DVD GLN 42600512561 (4 disks) TT: 610 min.
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Mahler's monumental Symphony No. 2 had its first recording in 1924 when Oskar Fried gathered a small group of performers from Berlin around the horn to make an acoustic recording. It doesn't sound like much but, considering the circumstances, was quite an accomplishment. Today there are well over a hundred recordings of this symphony, all benefiting from modern technology that enables us to hear the huge sound of a large orchestra and soloists. Many of these have been mentioned on this site—see the indexes for CD, Surround Sound and DVD reviews. Some conductors have made multiple recordings: including Bernard Haitink (4 incl. DVD), Leonard Bernstein (3 incl. DVD), Claudio Abbado (2 + 1 DVD), Riccardo Chailly (2 incl DVD), Neeni Järvi (2 incl. DVD),Otto Klemperer (4, three of which are live), and two each by Mariss Jansons, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Simon Rattle , Seiji Ozawa , and Sir Georg Solti. Now we have three new issues two of which are Blu Ray reissue.(Claudio Abbado and Pierre Boulez). Abbado's with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra was recorded in 2003, first reviewed on this site by the late R.D. when issued on CD (REVIEW). The same recording was issued on DVD covered on this site in 2005 (REVIEW). Now the same performance is released yet again, but this time remastered for Blu Ray, and it has never sounded better. This same Blu Ray issue is included in the 4 disk Blu Ray set listed above where it is joined by Abbado's previously released recordings of symphonies 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, and surely this is the set to get even if you might already have several of the others. This is an incredible bargain—4 Blu Ray disks at a bargain price. The set also includes two other works originally issued coupled with the symphonies, Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 with Yuja Wang, and Mahler's Rückert-Lieder with Magdalena Kozena. We have listed the new Blu-Ray version above, but have also included the 4-disk set which surely is the better purchase. And we point out that Abbado's emotional performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 9 recorded in Lucerne, is on another label (REVIEW).

Alan Gilbert's performance of the Resurrection was a highly emotional occasion called "A Concert for New York In Remembrance and Renewal The Tenth Anniversary of 9/11." It was recorded live at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center September 10, 2011, and Accentus has hastened to make it available The concert was observed by thousands in the Lincoln Center Plaza via huge screen and many outdoor speakers. It begins with The Star-Spangled Banner followed by a brief reflection by Alan Gilbert on the occasion, and after the performance there is a bonus of a conversation between Gilbert and Zarin Mehta (Manager of the New York Philharmonic) about the event. Gilbert continues to impress, and this is a dedicated performance by all concerned. Audio unfortunately makes little use of rear channels, and the unresonant acoustics of the venue are always apparent. Still, it was a thrilling memorable concert in many ways and doubtless will attract many collectors. There is no perceptible difference between the regular DVD and the Blu Ray version.

Pierre Boulez' Berlin Mahler 2 (he also recorded it with the Vienna Philharmonic) was previously issued on DVD mentioned on this site in 2007 (REVIEW). This performance now is issued on Blu Ray, perhaps a slight improvement in video and audio, but it is the same sterile unemotional performance—an approach usually not preferred by listeners, although many doubtless will admire the precision and the conductor's cool approach.

R.E.B. (December 2011).

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