Consumer Reports: Mahler Monday

This year is unusual in that there were no new Mahler recordings of note (although some important reissues, more on that in an upcoming post). On a personal level, I discovered the recent chamber reduction of the Symphony No. 9 through a great concert from the Argento Ensemble, but I can’t recommend the two extant recordings of that version, they are a combination of mannered conducting and mediocre, wan playing.

But this did catch my eye: David Zinman’s box set of Symphonies 1-10, including the Blumine movement and a full realization of Symphony No. 10, is currently at the unbeatable price of $26.89 at Amazon. This is not the best cycle, nor the worst. The playing is excellent, and the middle Symphonies are fine, overall it’s middle-of-the road. It will satisfy but perhaps not excite. But at this price, it’s more than worth getting, especially if you have a SACD player, because the sound is spectacular.

Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 1-10
Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 1-10


I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.