52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Recordings of the Month


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos



Beethoven Piano Concertos

Stradal Transcriptions

LOSY Note d’oro

Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Symphony No. 9 in D Major (1909/10) [79:53]
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Bernard Haitink
rec. live, 15-16 December 2011, Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich, Germany
BR KLASSIK 900113 [79:53]

Experience Classicsonline

The spectre of Beethoven and other composers dying after composing their ninth symphony lay heavy on Mahler who had been diagnosed with a heart condition. He used a ruse in an attempt to deceive fate. This was on the basis that this D major Symphony was not actually the ninth to be written. To get to this point he stated that the symphonic song-cycle Das Lied von der Erde from 1907/08 was actually his ninth. It was in the summer of 1909 when Mahler began preparing sketches for his Symphony No. 9 in the South Tyrol at the Villa Alt Schluderbach in Toblach. The score was completed in New York in the spring of 1910 and premièred posthumously under Bruno Walter and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in June 1912. Mahler 9 is an intriguing and greatly rewarding score, a work of farewell steeped in introspection; maybe the composer’s personal requiem.

It was in December 2011 that the formidable combination of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Bernard Haitink performed Mahler 9 in two concerts. With unerring assurance Haitink takes the opening movement Andante comodo at sensible tempi with adroit forward momentum. This boldly contrasts an idyllic sense of bucolic contentment with world-weary acquiescence and occasional terrifying glimpses of funereal darkness.
In the bitter sweet Scherzo contrasting styles prevail. On the surface things are unified by the unremitting dance rhythms of two different pairs of waltzes and ländler. The music becomes increasingly frantic and contorted before fading into the distance. Haitink’s direction is remarkable and the orchestra’s playing is impressive.
The varying moods of the Rondo-Burleske are heavily intensified and pushed to the limit. Mahler’s writing seems tongue-in-cheek from the trivial, often popular, melodies to the chilling and grotesque material. Haitink’s forward momentum is near relentless and only a central dream-like and idyllic episode (9:19-10:10) provides a brief relief from the mayhem.
Marked Adagio in D flat major the Finale contains no more disdain and mockery. This is serene, incandescent music steeped in reflection and interpreted with a high level of inspiration. Haitink’s searing Bavarian strings conjure an intense blanket of sublime sound. Emotionally everything seems almost too hard to bear. The final page with muted strings could easily be a depiction of transition between death and ascension.
I have numerous accounts of Mahler 9 and the recording that I find the most consistently satisfying is that conducted by John Barbirolli and the Berlin Philharmonic. This was recorded in 1964 in the marvellous acoustic of the Jesus Christ Church, Dahlem, Berlin (EMI Classics 5 67925 2). Barbirolli was the first British conductor to make a recording with the BPO since Sir Thomas Beecham in 1937. This was a time when the orchestra really had no tradition of performing Mahler. Barbirolli was in effect re-introducing them to Mahler.
There are several other admirable Mahler 9s of which four happen to be performed live by BPO. In 1979 Leonard Bernstein conducted them for his first and only time. As Mahler was a composer close to Bernstein’s heart he selected the Ninth. As a change from the more usual two or three rehearsals he was actually given four. Thankfully this intensely felt event was recorded on Deutsche Grammophon 477 862 0.
Karajan, who only became interested in Mahler relatively late in his career, recorded Mahler 9 with the BPO at the Philharmonie as part of the 1982 Berlin Festival celebrating the orchestra’s centenary. This live recording shows Karajan, then in his mid-sixties, revealing real depths in Mahler’s writing. He easily draws the listener in on Deutsche Grammophon 474 537 2.
Karajan’s successor as principal was Claudio Abbado. His recording with the BPO was made at live concerts from the Berlin Philharmonie in 1999. Abbado is insightful with plenty of fine detail, beautifully played and without that bottom-heavy sound that Karajan had established. The Abbado recording is on Deutsche Grammophon 471 624 2.
Attractively fashioned and spontaneous in feel is the strikingly played Rattle recording. Rattle recorded the score live in 2007 at the Philharmonie, Berlin on EMI Classics 501228-2.
Otto Klemperer then in his mid-sixties recorded the Ninth with the New Philharmonia in 1961 at the Kingsway Hall, London. He is strong on biting tension in his compelling interpretation. The Berliners responded with palpable assurance (EMI Classics 5 67036 2 - c/w Wagner Siegfried Idyll, R. Strauss Metamorphosen).
The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra recording under Rafael Kubelik - then the orchestra’s chief conductor - has really grown on me. Recorded live on tour in 1975 in Tokyo there’s splendid control over the overall structure and one senses a real empathy with the composer. It’s on Audite 95.471.
Haitink and the Bavarians are compelling and deeply perceptive. Indeed this reading ranks alongside the finest. The sound is clear and well balanced and this adds to the considerable merits of this splendid release.
Michael Cookson

Masterwork Index:
Symphony 9 















































































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.