Mahler: Symphony No. 8 In E-Flat Major - Adagio from Symphony No. 10
Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony & San Francisco Symphony Chorus
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I have waited so long for this. Mahler's 8th is a symphony that MTT and the SFS have struggled with for years, never quite being able to get it to their high standards. Do to its size there is also a relative void in the recordings of this symphony. I have never really enjoyed Mahler's 8th, even amongst the versions that I own and/or have listened to, until now. Since I have read in the news about their triumph of Mahler's 8th this last season I have been waiting with great anticipation for its possible release. Finally it is here, and in my opinion this is "the" performance of Mahler's 8th. I will now be listening to this symphony as much as I do his other 9, instead of playing it on the rare occasions that I have for so long in the past.
The sound quality is extremely high on this recording. Michael Tilson Thomas has released and other Grammy winning performance here. I have been waiting a very long time for this. I have many recording and this one is very high on my list. From the first note you can hear every nuance and the timbre of all the forces woven into a distinct tapestry that is pure Mahler at his full glory. I own the entire series on SACD (which I highly recommend). The entire work is a blessing for all of those who revere this work and those who have never experienced this. Part I - in all its reverence to the Creator... to Part II - and the redemption of man through the purity of the eternal woman. All that is impossible is found here. Mahler's love letter to his dear Alma shines here. Listen to this and you will cry tears of joy and understand what love is.
Back on track
MTT has had his up and downs with his Mahler cycle but this is one of his better ventures. It is a shame however that they couldn't wait until the Maazel recording was released. I'm not a fan of Lorin's latest Mahler readings but he at least deserves his day considering how much he's given to music. While MTT's recording isn't as sleepy as Maazel's it's not as soaring and glorious as the master Boulez. Thomas takes a careful middle of the road approach which is just fine. His eye to detail is evedent alough it's a shame that one can't hear it as well as the phyiscal SACD copy. The perormances all around are good and there really isn't anything to not make you want to by it. This album gets high marks. -Bz
Born: December 21, 1944 in Los Angeles, CA
Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s