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Mahler: Sinfonie Nr. 6 Super Audio CD

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Page Artiste San Francisco Symphony

Détails sur le produit

  • Interprète: San Francisco Symphony
  • CD (22 juin 2015)
  • : Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Nombre de disques: 2
  • Format : Super Audio CD
  • Label: San Francisco Symphony
  • ASIN : B000063XWU
  • Autres versions : Téléchargement MP3
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Descriptions du produit

Symphonie n° 6 "Tragique" / San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, dir. Michael Tilson Thomas

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x95a8b9e4) étoiles sur 5 3 commentaires
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x95a86c90) étoiles sur 5 Without being a supremely tragic statement, this Sixth is one of the high points in Tilson Thomas's Mahler cycle 12 décembre 2012
Par Santa Fe Listener - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
Gutsy conductors like Bernstein and Tennstedt can turn the Mahler sixth into a harrowing journey. Tilson Thomas doesn't attempt to; therefore, he can't fail at what he didn't attempt in the first place. He can come off as a lightweight who skates over the surface of a score without plunging into its emotional depths. But to turn that accusation on its head, he is a refined musician with a sense of detail and delicacy rather than power and drama. The ideal Mahler conductor needs to possess both halves. A shortage of visceral impact has made me shy away from MTT's Mahler cycle, but this Sixth is a high point, along with the Fifth, Eight, and Das Lied von der Erde.

The first movement asks for an immediate shift of expectations, since MTT doesn't contrast the lyrical Alma theme with the trenchant march that begins the symphony. It's more that the Alma theme sets the mood, keeping us away from impending chaos or titanic struggle. The very skillful San Francisco Symphony, as recorded here, is fairly lightweight, too, the sound coming down from the top rather than building up from the bottom. The advantage is transparency, which is clearly what MTT wants, as opposed to weight and visceral impact. Every event is shaped adeptly, and on its own terms this performance is engrossing. Just don't expect catharsis of the sort that feels wrenching under Tennstedt in his live London Phil. recording.

The Scherzo states its mood so forcefully that the only issue is how brutal and biting to make it. I was happy to find that MTT digs in; he comes close to being gutsy, which isn't often true of him. Tennstedt releases pandemonium, which is unforgettable but exhausting. Turning the terror down a few notches, this reading is still memorable and very well recorded. The Trio is unusually slow and accented with short, sharp strokes in a way new to me. The heartbreaking Andante (all the more so, I'm sure, in the aftermath of 9/11 when these live concerts were given) is tender and poignant form the first bars in MTT's hands. We are made to really feel the music, and his shaping of the main theme, one of the most sheerly beautiful in all of Mahler, is absolutely lovely.

If any single movement were to capture the immense sorrow, rage, and shock that filled the days after 9/11, it would be the immense finale, which tears itself apart over and over. (On Sept. 12, the same day as the first of these concerts, I went to Verdi's Don Carlo at the Boston Lyric Opera, but the mood was so upsetting that I had to leave. As I stepped over someone sitting on the aisle, he squeezed my arm and whispered, "I know.") After turning the slow movement into a moving elegy, would Tilson Thomas find turbulent tragedy in the finale? Only fitfully - the great, surreal introduction is rather controlled and aloof. The very slow pace of some episodes adds gravity, certainly, and a great crashing of timpani and brass is achieved. You are made to listen at every step, so the overall result is successful. MTT falls short of the sweep achieved by Bernstein and Tennstedt - my touchstones in this symphony - but not by much.

Among recent Sixths, Antonio Pappano gives this one a run for the money, but both stand high on my list.
24 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9583f570) étoiles sur 5 Not there yet 31 mai 2007
Par Prescott Cunningham Moore - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
Michael Tilson Thomas is a phenomenal music director. He inherited the San Francisco Symphony in 1995 and has, since then, turned the band, which was already quite accomplished under Herbert Blomstedt's tutelage, into a world class ensemble in the truest since. Despite its few (but glaring) weakness - bad flutes and violins that tend towards thinness - the San Francisco Symphony boasts consistently fine playing and musically intelligent contributions from the soloists - droll clarinets, boisterous bassoons, a horn section second to none, beautiful lower strings, and rich, big toned lower brass. Listening to this ensemble - an ensemble in the truest sense of the word - is always a joy. But good playing only accounts for so much, and in Mahler, the competition is fierce. Thomas delivers here a good Mahler 6th that lacks any real distinction, marred by an incoherent finale. Surprising, really, in light of the fact that this recording won the 2003 Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance but I think the fact that these performances were recorded days after the September 11th attacks has more to do with the win than anything else. Still, Thomas' cycle has received seemingly endless praise for performances that on the whole are decent at best.

Objectively looking at Michael Tilson Thomas's ongoing Mahler cycle has been increasingly difficult for me mainly because, the more familiar I become with Thomas's conducting style, the more egregious the apparent faults become. Thomas's penchant for rubatto and mannered stylization started off as an interesting, if unnecessary, detail in this 6th and the subsequent 1st symphony. It became a bit more problematic in the 3rd. And finally, it became irritatingly obnoxious in the 7th and 5th symphonies. Thomas's insistence on smothering his interpretations with a thick coat of decorative frosting and fussy, mannered detail leaves a fluffy, decadent, at times even saccharine aftertaste which belies the often overwhelmingly high-level of musical nourishment these recordings offer. Indeed, nearly every other musical choice Thomas makes is a good one - it's just a shame he cannot discern between the good and bad.

The first movement goes well enough but is not particularly special. The allegro seems somewhat disjointed due to Thomas' annoying mannered retards and excessive rubatto, all of which rob the music of any sense of forward momentum. The first of these appears not ten measures into the movement which prevents the march music from propelling forward. At the close of the exposition, Thomas really slams on the breaks, milking the music for all its worth. The orchestra continues to trip over Thomas' heavy interpretive hand. During the march at the opening of the development, listen to how Thomas really pulls back the reigns, fighting with his orchestra when they (rightfully) want to press forward. The result is particularly off-putting. The cowbell interlude is equally mannered and Thomas' interpretive choices are predictable and thus, uninteresting. Thomas continues taking odd retards throughout the coda, especially at the return of the "Alma" theme. Thomas' approach, albeit interesting at times, prevents the music from really taking shape. As a direct comparison, listen to Bernstein's physicality(on either Sony or DG), Eschenbach's sense of architecture(Philadelphia Orchestra on Ondine), or both Gielen (SWR Symphony Orchestra on Hanssler) and Chailly's (Concertgebouw on Decca) sense of terror.

As typical of the series as a whole, Thomas fairs somewhat better in the scherzo. For all the trouble sonata form seems to give him, he has little trouble with scherzos, usually effectively contrasting the trio to the scherzo proper. Mahler's scherzos on the whole tend to be more colorful and quicker than his larger movements and, at times, invite (or at least can sustain) more rubatto. Here, Thomas creates a grim outer section with particularly colorful wind work and great attention to detail in the trio. Still, the latter is somewhat hampered by Thomas' predictable phrasing and insistence on accentuating the down beat. A tighter perspective would have yielded greater tension.

Thomas' slow adagio finds the conductor focusing more on beauty and phrasing than on architecture. The alpine meadow episode, the string playing throughout, and the huge climax are all beautiful, yes, but there is more to this music than simply beauty for beauty's sake. As a direct comparison, listen to Eschenbach, who offers an extraordinary adagio. After listening to his adagio, I was immediately struck with a feeling of awe; his interpretation just felt "right." The tension was sustained throughout, Eschenbach kept his eye on his ultimate goal, and the tempo was spot on - flowing, controlled, expressive.

Thomas offers a particularly frightening opening to the finale, two of the most devastating hammer blows on record (the second is quite cataclysmic), and a powerfully introspective coda. However, it is what happens in between these high points that keeps this finale from becoming something special. It seems Thomas lacks the interpretive heft needed to carry off this difficult movement, delivering a reading low on musical argument with little depth or contrast. Despite an orchestra that surrenders themselves completely to his interpretive demands, Thomas's finale is, at best, well played and, at its worst, somewhat incoherent. I would like to directly compare Thomas's finale to Leonard Bernstein's reference recording with the Vienna Philharmonic on DG. There is no such thing as a definitive interpretive solution to any of Mahler's complex symphonies, but Bernstein certainly comes close to one in his finale to the 6th. There are too many wonderful moments in his reading to list here, but I would like to draw three specific comparisons: 1) The opening dirge, 2) the transition into the development, and 3) the major episode before the coda. Concerning the opening dirge, listen to how Bernstein shapes the music subtly, maintaining a slow but flowing tempo that is rapt with tension. He doesn't need to overly-accentuate or accent the music in order to make his case. After the "fate" rhythm is pounded out by the timpani, listen to how the shape of the music changes; the atmosphere begins to fade as the music starts taking shape. Bernstein brilliantly moves from the opening dirge into the allegro proper, highlighting one of Mahler's most power transitional sequences. Throughout, Bernstein never loses control, never resorts to vulgar, over-the-top phrases, and maintains a sense of forward flow. Now listen to Thomas. Although his tempo is nearly identical to Bernstein's, Thomas' dirge lacks the atmospheric tension and gravitas so subtly conveyed by Bernstein. Thomas accents the music heavily, making much of the string tremolos and using not-so-subtle rubatto to shape his phrase. The result sound choppy and episodic, the opposite of what Mahler intends with this introduction. After the "fate" rhythm, Thomas' phrasing remains somewhat disjointed, only really congealing moments before the allegro proper. All in all, Thomas' dirge is filled with tensionless dead zones which rob the music of its power. Two, the transition into the development. Bernstein's tempo is by no means faster than Thomas at this point in the music, but just listen to the force of it all. Bernstein has a tremendous amount of tension and pressure building, driving for a goal the music will never reach. It is that very drive towards "a happy finale" that makes the sudden interruption of the development all the more cataclysmic. The huge horn swoop and descent back into darkness still sends shivers down the spine. Thomas cannot create the same effect here - he cannot build tension as effectively and, thus, the interruptive entrance of the development lacks the arresting quality it should have. Thirdly, the major episode before the coda. No matter how many times I listen to this symphony, under Bernstein it always sounds like there is hope of a happy ending. Though phrasing, tempo, and timbral effects, Bernstein is able to create an atmosphere of hope before the onslaught of the coda, which of course makes this final collapse all the more deadly. It is the unattainable sense of redemption that makes Bernstein's finale so special. Thomas cannot come close, delivering great power at the close of the symphony, but without the physicality or gravitas. In any event, I am not comparing Thomas to Bernstein because the latter has offered something of a canonizing interpretative solution - there are particular aspects of Thomas' interpretation that certainly outshine Bernstein - nor do I want Thomas to become a slavish imitator of Bernstein. I draw my comparison because Bernstein succeeds in presenting a logical, well-thought-out, coherent, focused finale that never loses sight of its ultimate goal (Bernstein's concentration is almost staggering). Thomas, on the other hand, seems to take every interpretive pit stop, making moments of breathtaking beauty, but loosing track of the purpose of the music. But Bernstein is not the only comparison worth drawing. Just listen to Eschenbach. Eschenbach's innate musicality is similar to Bernstein's in his long sense of concentration, his ability to make sense of the music many episodic parts, and keep tension up until the final pluck on the strings. Or listen to Gielen, or Chailly, or Karajan. The list goes on ...

Overall, Michael Tilson Thomas is well versed in Mahler and there is, despite all the shortcomings, a profundity of incite here. The playing is top notch, the contributions from the soloists are wonderful, and many of Thomas choices are good. However, his insistence on micro-managing every aspect of the score in the first three movements prevents his orchestra from creating a true idiomatic Mahler sound. The first movement suffers from excessive rubatto and thus, the tension falls flat, Thomas's tight grip keeping the orchestra stubbornly earthbound. And while the scherzo and andante are quite exciting, Thomas does not highlight the architecture effectively. And as for the finale, Thomas needs more time to digest this music and come up with a more coherent solution to this most devastating of finales. It is frustrating, really, when everything is perfect on paper but fails in reality. The 6th clearly escapes Thomas, which is all together not that surprising given Thomas' lack of success with classical sonata form movements. Frustrating.
8 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x95923abc) étoiles sur 5 Great sound 2 novembre 2005
Par Cheble - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
The performance is very good, the audio even better. The one thing that may confuse you at first is the orchestra set up. I finally looked up a picture of the orchestra- the basses are on the left as you face the orchestra. There are a few other changes from a traditional American set up also. It was a little disconcerting at first but once I knew that it wasn't a technical mistake in the recording I was able to visualize the musicians as the music overtook me.
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