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Reviews: Mahler: Symphony No. 1 - San Francisco/Michael Tilson Thomas

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Reviews: 10

Site review by akiralx October 14, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:    
Interpretatively this is a superb Mahler 1, alongside Bernstein's and Abbado's DG recordings and many others.

One tiny caveat is that compared to the other MTT Mahler SACDs I have heard in surround sound (Nos 4 and 6), this one does feature rather too much ambient sound from the rear speakers - and I am not the only reviewer to have commented on this. Such a slight imbalance does not afflict the superb Fourth on SACD, which is truly state of the art in terms of sound.

If you just listen in stereo, then buy with 100% confidence, as this is a highly involving performance in superb sound.

Site review by Polly Nomial November 7, 2008
Performance:   Sonics:  
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

http://www.HRAudio.net/showmusic.php?title=61#reviews

Review by jasonwilldermood April 21, 2003 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The recording of this cycle of symphonies is being backed by Sony. The sound is incredible. The stereo version sounds great, the multichannel puts you right in front of the orchestra. If you listen at live sound levels you can hear all the sniffle and throat clearing and be annoyed just like being there. As I am relatively new to classical music I cannot comment on the performance. I have listened several time and have not become bored, as of yet.

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Review by billwiese June 23, 2003 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Like the other SFS Mahler SACD release of his Symph #6, I also physically attended the performance of this Symphony #1 - perhaps on the same day of its recording. Wonderful performance, and the recording lives up to the "liveness".

Multichannel SACD is just wonderful, and it's backed by a top-notch recording job and a top-notch performance by (to me) the current leading Mahler interpreter & a fine orchestra. (SFS has REALLY evolved over the last decade.)

Given the combination of all of the above, I'd have to class this as a "reference" recording.

And the stereo layer on this hybrid CD does well too in my vehicle's player.

I want Mahler's 2nd & 5th by the same gang! (And if they'd continue on and do the Brahms Big 4 on SACD, I'd die & go to heaven!)

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Review by beardawgs October 4, 2003 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Just play the 1st movement of this symphony to your friends if you want to make them envious (BIG time) on your SACD and surround kit. And tell them to pay special attention to silent passages. To impress with loud music is easy, but to record the silence is something completely different.

The sound quality is equally matched here with the performance. MTT is the leading Mahler conductor of our time and at the pace of 2 recordings per year it will take a while to complete the cycle, but itís worth waiting.

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Review by rsbeck March 15, 2004 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is a fabulous performance of Mahler's 1st, but at reference levels, the quiet parts never really achieve quiet. I found a similar problem with the SFSO SACD of Mahler's 3rd. Some of the other reviewers seem to be referring to these noises as shuffles and such. I find it off-putting. Mind you, I listen in two channel, so I am not commenting on surround mixing, but I don't find the sonics as satisfying as many other SACD's, which is a shame because the performance is wonderful.

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Review by madisonears September 6, 2004 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Rock on, Gustav. Rock on, MTT and SFS. This is among the headbanger's favorite symphonies, with its relentless building of tension and furious (or is it joyful?) orchestral climaxes. The recording accurately captures the tonal and kinetic qualities of this very good performance, then releases them into your living room with gut-pounding dynamics. I found the dynamic range, instrumental tones, and sense of space to be among the very finest of any recording I've heard. Yes, this is a demonstration disc in many ways, but, unlike to so many audio showpieces, it is also a valid artistic endeavor in every respect.

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Review by Dr. O August 4, 2005 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Mahler paints his symphonies upon a vast canvas, and Maestro Thomas is quite adept at presenting their richness with all of the colorful nuances contained therein. Listening to Mahler is like perceiving a huge mosaic of ideas and deeply human feelings. It is like reading Tolstoy - not Hemingway!

The sound in this release is astounding for its brilliance and clarity. Staging and a real sense of depth are profoundly evident. The engineering is first-rate!

What I most like about this recording is MTT's ability to present each and every portion of Mahler's score as it's own delicious morsel, while not at all losing a sense of the whole. Not an easy thing to do, but he accomplishes this with great success. The tempos are engaging and the nuancing of the various orchestral forces is just right!

I "must have" for Mahler lovers, and two thumbs up to MTT and the SFS for this truly memorable performance!

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Review by andyshedd February 16, 2006 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This disc is just excellent! I bought it before I had an SACD player, and when I finally listened to the SACD layer i was blown away! The low-level resolution is great...very detailed. The acoustics in the hall are fabulous, and the performance is great also. I wasn't familiar with Mahler before hearing the CD, but Michael Tilson Thomas has made me a fan!

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Review by Norm November 23, 2007 (4 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
As I said about the other review the above reviewer posted. It's HIS problem. No one else reports the issue, and it's certainly not an issue for me. The recording is great, despite the inaccuracies of the above review.
Thanks
Norm

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