add to wish list | library

6 of 12 recommend this,
would you recommend it?

yes | no

Support this site by purchasing from these vendors using the links provided below. As an Amazon Associate earns from qualifying purchases.
  WaterLily Acoustics -
  Mahler: Symphony No. 5 - Temirkanov
  Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Yuri Temirkanov (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

read discussion | delete from library | delete recommendation | report errors
Related titles: 1

Reviews: 3

Review by mwagner1962 June 6, 2005 (13 of 14 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Okay here goes....

This is my 13th recording of Mahler's 4th on SACD. And no, I will not compare this new recording with every other recording I own in this particular forum ;) My comments on this recording will be based on recent hearings, impressions, memories, etc of my many recordings and the many times I have heard this symphony played live......

I will start by saying that this is the most natural sounding recording I have ever heard, and Kavi Alexander did a stunning job with only two nights of recording to deal with.

There are some warts to deal with though. Since Kavi Alexander was not in a normal position to deal with issues that a normal LARGE recording company can deal with (ie issues and demands with balance, placement of the orchestra, etc) he did the best that he could do in a new and challenging situation.

It is the orchestral setup that is a problem. The stage is wide and shallow, and the brass are all crammed into the back right corner of the stage and the trombones have to blow across the orchestra instead of the usual direction. This causes the trumpet and trombones to have an unusually large presence. Once again, the stage does not allow for any other seating, especially when doing something huge like a Mahler symphony. Also, the placement of the horns makes them sound pretty distant and not up to a volume level that most are used to hearing in a Mahler symphony.

Now, due to a shortage of editing time, there are some serious coughs in the audience (this is a live recording). The one serious cough is in the opening of the Adagietto..:(

Okay, you all might be expecting me to totally trash this in ratings. No, I will not. Period. Despite the sometimes distant horns, the coughing, and the sometimes near destructive brass (towards the end of the 5th movement) there is a lot to recommend. The strings are superb, and the Adagietto (despite the coughing) is the most beautiful I have ever heard. Maestro Temirkanov's tempo in the Adagietto is pretty slow, though not as painful to deal with as Bernstein's Vienna/DG Adagietto. The Adagietto here is as good as any of the other recordings I own and is comparable to my current favorite, the PentaTone Hartmut Haenschen/Netherlands Phil.

What is also nice is the woodwinds sound like woodwinds, and though they are spread out in a straight line across the stage, they still have a nice presence on the recording.

The orchestra is extremely competent, and I wonder how they would sound doing some more Mahler, perhaps in a hall with a stage that offers a more favorable layout??? I can only imagine what this would have sounded like on a stage that could have allowed for a more "normal" seating arrangement, though I support the continued use of the violins (as was done here and is done on the MTT/SFSO Mahler cycle as well) being divided on the left and right of the conductor, with the cellos more in the middle to project a great sound!!!!

Movement wise, the opening is a bit on the slow side, and the former aspiring orchestral trumpet player in me feels the pain on having to play the opening solo that slow and deliberate!!! The 2nd movement moves along nicely (on par with the tempos of the other recordings I own). The 3rd Movement is also done nicely, though the placement of the horns make the normally huge obligato part sound a bit distant.

Okay, to summarize...(whew, bet you thought I would never stop!!). This recording is a statement to the perseverance of Kavi Alexander. When he started, he was up against incredible odds in getting this project to work. There were only two nights to record (whereas MTT/SFSO has three nights to record and another three nights of normal concerts to work out the kinks) as that was all that the St. Petersburg orchestra played. The Meitner DSD gear that Mr. Alexander was promised was not there and he had to use somewhat lesser gear.

Despite the hurdles, this is a major accomplishment and worthy of respect. The St. Petersburg has only recorded Mahler one time before, and that effort has disappeared forever. The sound is world class, and Yuri Temirkanov's extremely competent performance is marred only be the less than stellar stage that they had to play on. I commend WaterLily for undertaking a HUGE effort here. Let's face it..WaterLily is king at recording smallish groups. Kavi Alexander's first Mahler is a success for WaterLily, the St. Petersburg Orchestra, Yuri Temirkanov, and future recording events!!!!

I hope that this windy lecture helps!!!!! Highly recommended, despite a few warts!!! BRAVO!!

ps....the 4.5 Stars are the fault of the stage, not the engineer!!!

Was this review helpful to you?  yes | no

Review by regtas43 August 6, 2005 (11 of 15 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I am not totally unprejudiced here(I worked on the surround mastering of this). But leaving the surround aside, I think the Adagietto here is one of the most beautiful recorded things ever.
It really makes you understand why both Solti and Bernstein(as I am informed) wanted this piece played at their funerals. It really is so beautiful that if you had to choose a last thing to hear on earth... I do not know about everybody else, but I do not collect recordings for the sake of having the standard rep covered etc. I collect them looking for things of extraordinary beauty, magic moments as it were. This Adagietto is one of the most magical of all. There is nothing like it in the whole world of recorded music. If you like Mahler and/or the sound of orchestral strings and/or purely beautiful sound, you really should not miss this recording. (I hope the surround sound enhances the already wonderful stereo experience. We worked hard on it!)

Was this review helpful to you?  yes | no

Review by Jonalogic August 24, 2010 (4 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is the first review since my recent thread on what I see as some systemic over-marking on From now on, all my reviews will be marked in the context of SACDs, without any glamming-up by self-selection or agenda that insists we 'sell' the medium to others. So be it.

But you won't see any impact on this particular review! This would get a stone-cold 5 stars for sound quality in any context. Folk who have read my other reviews know that I have always been convinced that minimalist miking is the way to go. That's also why (apart from minor details like great orchestras, conductors, soloists and music..) I love the finer Living Stereos so much.

This recording shows:

1) that a single matched pair of microphones in a classic Blumlein configuration can produce a stunningly realistic soundstage, (albeit long and thin, because of the St Petersburg Great Hall dimensions), instrument focus and dimensionalty. Bla-bla... The long and short of it, though, is that this is a stunningly realistic recording.

2) how a stereo recording, at its best, can record a holographic three-dimensional soundstage.

3) how DSD can produce a highly realistic string sound; this is particularly evidenced throughout the ravishing adagietto. I am fortunate enough to have heard the Leningrad Philharmonic (as it was) several times, and this is exactly the sort of lustrous string sound that is a signature characteristic of this great orchestra.

I could be hyper-critical, but it's not worth it. Bottom-line, this is state-of-the-art sound. It also makes me wish that other recording engineers and producers had the courage to demonstrate that 'less is more' when it comes to recording classical music properly.

So much for the sound. What's the performance like? It's good, but not great. Although I have a lot of respect for Termirkanov, he's no Barbirolli, Karajan or Abbado in this repertoire. There are some changes of gear that don't quite work, primarily in the opening two movements. But the playing throughout is infinitely more secure and controlled than the second division radio orchestra used in Kavi Alexander's other recordings in Russia. As a live performance, I am happy to give it some leeway and award 4 stars.

And the coughing? Well, it's there, but not nearly as disruptive as in the Shostakovich 7 in this series, thank goodness. Although I would like to take out and shoot the culprit during the adagietto...

Water Lily's other projects in Russia were marred, variously, by slipshod playing, second-rate orchestras and music, and saturation coughing. This is the best of the bunch, by a long way, and thoroughly recommendable.

NEWS FLASH- it seems to be back in stock on Amazon UK!! So you have no excuse...

Was this review helpful to you?  yes | no

Works: 1  

Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor