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DG Concerts - Mahler: Symphony No. 1 - Berlioz: Harold in Italy

Cynthia Phelps, Lorin Maazel & New York Philharmonic

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Customer Reviews

Mahler Sym 1 and Berlioz Harold in Italy--NY Phil--Maazel

Another of DG's wonderful Nwe York Philharmonic Live releases gives us a typically taut and explosive Maazel reading of Mahler's 1st Symphony and a somewhat more introspective reading of Berlioz Harold in Italy, with the viola solo performed by Cynthia Phelps. These works share their overall romanticism and gorgeous orchestration, but Mahler's vast symphonic canvas brings out Maazel's tendencies to be clipped and driven, while Berlioz more overtly sentimental quasi viola concerto finds him a bit more introspective. Neither of these interpretations is "definitive". Leonard Bernstein took a broadly similar approach to the Mahler Symphony with the New York Philharmonic, but the cumulative impact of his performances was greater--as he knew precisely when to linger. One of my most treasured memories is of a live NY Philharmonic/Bernstein performance of this piece in the late 1970s in Denver. The orchestra is probably more virtuosic today under Maazel, but in Bernstein's hands the 1st Symphony truly revealed the amazing works that were to follow it. Maazel gives us the "real deal" in terms of power and ensemble and this is never less than an exciting performance, but the listener is directed either to Bernstein's Sony/Columbia 1970s New York Philharmonic performance or to the later but even more intense reading on DG to hear this piece as a really visonary expresssion! In Harold in Italy Maazel and Phelps do a very beautiful performance that is neither rushed, nor mannered. This is the highlight of the concert. Berlioz wrote an amazing score for this work--by turns heroic, sentimental and nostalgic and this performance beautifully reveals the elegance of Berlioz masterful orchestration. Phelps gives a lyrical and ultimately soaring performance of the complex solos and overall this is a very fine performance indeed.

Great Performance - Great Value

This was my first download of a live classical concert. Maazel's Mahler is a well known quantitiy from his Sony cycle - he has mellowed a little since then, but still has a remarkable skill of deliniating interior melodic lines without sounding overly "technical." The Berlioz performance is really wonderful, with Phelps a great soloist. As a violist, I particularly appreciate the natural balance between soloist and orchestra. The viola doesn't "speak" easily and studio recording often have it unnaturally forward - this recording is just right. The sound on a burned CD was very, very good. There is hardly any audience noise, yet one is always aware that this is a live performace with an audience present - which is, as Martha would say, a good thing.

Great Harold!

This is a great album, especially the Harold in Italy. I had a master class with Cynthia Phelps, the violist featured in it. Her interperetation is beautiful.

Top Albums and Songs by Cynthia Phelps

DG Concerts - Mahler: Symphony No. 1 - Berlioz: Harold in Italy, Cynthia Phelps
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music
  • Released: Aug 29, 2006

Customer Ratings

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