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The Mahler Album

Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Mahler, Beethoven

SKU: 31511

Year of release: 2011

1. Adagietto from Symphony no. 5 in c sharp Mahler 10:36
String Quartet no. 11 in f minor, opus 95 ?Quartetto Serioso? 21:50
2. Allegro con brio Beethoven 04:50
3. Allegretto ma non troppo Beethoven 07:21
4. Allegro assai vivace ma serioso Beethoven 04:45
5. Larghetto espressivo ? Allegro agita Beethoven 04:53
6. Adagio from Symphony no. 10 Mahler 26:55
Total time: 59:22

About this album

“A quartet for string orchestra! That sounds strange to you. I already know all the objections that will be raised: ruination of intimacy, of individuality. But that is an error. What I intend is only an ideal representation of the quartet. Chamber music is primarily written for the living room. It is really enjoyed only by the performers. The four ladies and gentlemen who sit at their music stands are also the audience towards which this music turns. If chamber music is transferred to the concert hall, this intimacy is already lost. But even more is lost. In a large space the four voices are lost and do not speak to the listener with the power that the composer wanted to give them. I give them this power by strengthening the voices. I unravel the expansion that is dormant in the voices and give the sounds wings.” Thus Mahler in an open letter in the Viennese newspaper Die Wage in January 1899. On 14 January, during his first season as chief conductor of the Viennese Philharmonic Orchestra, he was to conduct the premiere of his arrangement for string orchestra of Beethoven’s String Quartet opus 95 ‘Quartetto serioso’. And what Mahler had anticipated did indeed occur during this concert: after the first movement loud cries of boo erupted, countered by fervent applause from Mahler’s supporters. Despite his deep conviction, Mahler never performed his arrangement again. His score and the orchestral parts were found in the late 1980s in the Viennese Philharmonic Orchestra archive. The arrangement was first published in 1990, and since then Mahler’s version of the ’Quartetto serioso’ has had a permanent place on concert stages around the world.

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Reviews

SA-CD.net

(…) a well-thought out programme (…) The lonely viola solos are sensitively done, and many other interwoven solos demonstrate more clearly how very contrapuntal this movement is, as the texture is opened and placed on display. Most convincing, then, and despite having a number of performances of the full Symphony 10's, I shall find myself more than willing to listen to this excerpt. (…) An intriguing look at some of Mahler's work from unusual points of view, and attractive for that; well worth investigating.

Fanfare

(...) The Amsterdam Sinfonietta makes exquisitely beautiful sounds on this superbly recorded Channel Classics SACD (...)

BBC Music Magazine

(…) Nice performances, stunning recording.

Audiophile Audition

(...) I am glad to report that this arrangement captures most of what we like to hear in a proper performance, and is well played and passionately presented. (...) Channel’s wonderful surround sound ended up defeating any objections that might have been forming in my mind. (...)

NRC

Mahler op z’n Mahlerst (…) Een van de beste strijkorkesten is het, Amsterdam Sinfonietta. (…) Er wordt excellent en intens gemusicieerd.

MusicWeb

The impact and drama of the opening Allegro con brio and the third movement Allegro assai vivace ma serioso are both high-octane and potently performed in this recording. The depth of expression elsewhere is as good as one could hope for. Have a listen to the opening of the final movement, the initial Larghetto espressivo section is beautifully shaped. (…) What the Amsterdam Sinfonietta does so effectively is keep that extra in reserve, so that when the moments of highest drama and deepest terror arise they are delivered with the maximum effect possible.

SA-CD.net

(…) a well-thought out programme (…) The lonely viola solos are sensitively done, and many other interwoven solos demonstrate more clearly how very contrapuntal this movement is, as the texture is opened and placed on display. Most convincing, then, and despite having a number of performances of the full Symphony 10's, I shall find myself more than willing to listen to this excerpt. (…) An intriguing look at some of Mahler's work from unusual points of view, and attractive for that; well worth investigating.

Classics Today 10/10

This is a wonderful concept, perfectly realized. (…)These players really dig into the music, and the lack of woodwind and brass timbre is much less problematic than you might suspect when the playing is so fine. (…) thank Candida Thompson and her exceptionally musical team. Sonics are state-of-the-art in all formats, as we have come to expect from this label. A project like this, not so well executed, easily could have sounded gimmicky, but this is a pleasure from first note to last.

The Absolute Sound

(...) an exceptional interesting and coherent program. (...)

American Record Guide

(...) Thompson and her players give a heartfelt, expressive performance; and the smaller ensemble makes the details of Mahler’s inner lines easier to follow. (...) The performance is compelling, even gripping (...) this performance builds a convincing case for the work as a free-standing addition to the string orchestra repertory.

Technical Specifications

Recording Type Bit RateDSD64
SpeakersAudiolab, Holland
Recording SoftwarePyramix bij Merging
Recording LocationHaarlem Holland 2011
Recording EngineerJared Sacks
ProducerWillem Bordes
Mixing BoardRens Heijnis custom design
MicrophonesBruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mastering EquipmentB&W 803 diamond series
Mastering EngineerJared Sacks
Digital ConvertersGrimm A/D DSD / Meitner DA
Cablesvan den Hul