Get This: Mahler


Seriously, order this right now: $25 for a 15 CD complete Mahler cycle, including both Symphony No. 10 and the “Blumine” movement tacked onto the CD with Symphony No. 1.

This is not just dirt cheap but a superior value. Zinman’s cycle is an excellent middle of the road one, and that is in no way a pejorative—this is clear, balanced, straightforward Mahler, and the playing and recording quality, which are exceptional, delivers the music with both detail and depth. These are some of the loveliest sounding Mahler recordings I’ve heard and are a pleasure for that alone. The emotions are at an uusual one step removed quality, not bad but different. The performances of Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 5, and Symphony No. 9 are in good company with Abbado, Chailly, and Tilson Thomas.

This makes for a good choice for a first Mahler set, and belongs in every Mahlerian’s library. I will also take this opportunity to point out that my favorite single conductor cycle, the one from Bertini on EMI, is well priced at $36.50 which, considering the excellent music making, is an amazing value.


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.