1 800 222 6872

Mahler & Strauss / Erich Leinsdorf, Boston SO [DVD]

Album Summary

>Mahler, Gustav : Symphony no 1 in D major "Titan"
>Strauss, Richard : Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28
>Mahler, Gustav : Symphony no 5 in C sharp minor
Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

This rare material represents some of the earliest televised concerts with the Boston Symphony and Leinsdorf of exceptional musical interest and historical value. It has been restored using state-of-the-art techniques. Vol.2 is of exceptional musical interest and great historic value. Leinsdorf began his career as assistant to Mahler's own assistant and protégé, Bruno Walter. Intense, warm and expressive, his performance of Mahler's 1st Symphony is an intensely personal account. Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel, was a party piece for the BSO and is performed with great precision and finesse.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 78 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 4:3, B&W
Sound Format(s): LPCM Mono,



Reviews

Leinsdorf Mahler DVD disappoints
Erich Leinsdorf, Music Director of the Boston Symphony from 1962-69, leads a cool, dispassionate account of the Mahler First that's most notable for the precision of the playing and the glorious sound of the BSO. At the time they were probably the greatest orchestra in the world, and this remarkable performance helps confirm that assessment. The lushness of the strings, the refinement of the winds, and the athleticism of the brass are still a wonder to behold. Leinsdorf manages to keep them together without a baton (or a score for that matter). His gestures range from the tiniest motion of a finger to flailing his arms about wildly. Only once did I see him crack a smile. His interpretation of this great symphony is similarly joyless. Those seeking the irony, biting satire, and wanton ecstasy of Bernstein will be sorely disappointed. Leinsdorf's tempos are quicker than average, but nothing ever sounds rushed.

The Strauss is more of the same: cool, objective, and surprisingly humorless, especially given the comic nature of Till Eulenspiegel's story. Gone are the fantasy and wonder that Serge Koussevitzky (BSO Music Director, 1924-49) found in his celebrated 1945 RCA recording. Moreover, Leinsdorf lacked his predecessor's (Charles Munch) grace on the podium. His stiff, mechanical gestures seem better suited to a contemporary New York City traffic cop. Again the BSO plays splendidly, especially concertmaster Joseph Silverstein and flutist Doriot Anthony Dwyer.

One of my fondest musical memories was a New York Philharmonic broadcast from the mid-1970s with Leinsdorf leading a joyous, yet often heart-rending Mahler Fifth. This encore performance of the Adagietto alone is simply gorgeous. Leinsdorf doesn't lean into the suspensions the way Bernstein did, but his reading is wonderfully serene and graceful. The BSO strings shine more brightly than ever here, and their seamless phrasing transforms the music into a tender love song. I'll return to this magical encore quite often; it's a perfect source of solace in an otherwise harried and frightful world. Alas, the applause at the end comes much too soon and completely destroys the mood that Leinsdorf labored so painstakingly to establish.

The video (from 1962 and 1963) is sub-par even by the standards of the time, with its all too frequent wide shots of the wind section, odd camera angles, and annoying reflections off the double bass, brass and wind instruments. Several times the camera pans across a number of idle musicians in search of the soloist. The sound is unexpectedly good, though hardly comparable to LPs of the era. The bass register sounds surprisingly rich given that most TV sets of the time could not possibly have reproduced the sound with such clarity. The treble, on the other hand, is harsh, and the wind and brass solos in Till Eulenspiegel all sound off-mike.
Submitted on 02/12/12 by Tom Godell 
Login or Create an Account to write a review
 

Also Purchased



Previous


Next


Works Details

>Mahler, Gustav : Symphony no 1 in D major "Titan"
  • Conductor: Erich Leinsdorf
  • Ensemble: Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: circa 1888

>Strauss, Richard : Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28
  • Conductor: Erich Leinsdorf
  • Ensemble: Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic

>Mahler, Gustav : Symphony no 5 in C sharp minor :: 4. Adagietto
  • Conductor: Erich Leinsdorf
  • Ensemble: Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1901-1902