Lorin Maazel / Philharmonia Orchestra

Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 7, 8 "Symphony of a Thousand" & 9

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Released as separate CDs as well as a slip-covered set, the last three symphonies of Gustav Mahler were among Lorin Maazel's final recordings before his death in 2014. This Signum Classics package is the third installment in Maazel's cycle with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and like the previous two sets (symphonies Nos. 1-3 and 4-6), the recordings are rather mixed in their results. Recorded live at London's Royal Festival Hall, the performances are straightforward and uncontroversial in their tempos and pacing, and the orchestra plays cleanly and with commitment, so these are respectable readings that are worth hearing. However, the sound is rather flat and dry, with some harshness of tone, and the competition from several audiophile recordings of these works makes one wish these performances had been recorded in a multichannel format and released as hybrid SACDs. Beyond that, as solid as these performances are, Maazel's interpretations lack the fire and expressive depth of many classic recordings and seem less essential to have than the recordings by Bruno Walter, Leonard Bernstein, Georg Solti, Benjamin Zander, Claudio Abbado, or Michael Tilson Thomas, which are readily available. This set is recommended to Maazel's fans, but others may take or leave it.

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Symphony No. 8, 'Symphony of a Thousand'
1 12:15 Amazon
2 05:12 Amazon
3 01:46 Amazon
4 05:04 Amazon
5 03:48 Amazon
6 03:37 Amazon
7 06:51 Amazon
8 02:48 Amazon
9 06:33 Amazon
10 04:45 Amazon
11 01:11 Amazon
12 06:53 Amazon
13 06:50 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick