This is the best Boulez recording in quite a while. He offers the canonic 12 Wunderhorn songs, meaning no Urlicht and no Das himmlische Leben in the original orchestration before it became the finale of the Fourth Symphony. You won't miss them. None of the songs are done as duets, and you won't be bothered by that either. The singing is exceptional: Magdalena Kozená combines a sweet timbre with plenty of personality and attention to the words; Christian Gerhaher's light, somewhat grainy baritone may not be to all tastes, but his unfailing musicality and his gusto (singing but never shouting) in the big "military" songs carries the day.
Thanks to the surprising proliferation of Mahler’s music on DVD, there are multiple performances of this particular symphony with which to compare this new one (not least among them Bernstein’s and Abbado’s); there is also Boulez’s own previous performance with the Vienna Philharmonic, made a couple of months after this concert, available on one generous DG CD, to consider by way of comparison.
Boulez's approach here allows the intelligence and artistry of three admirable soloists and the Vienna Philharmonic to emerge with compelling force.
Music Week (London)
The musical reconstructions industry keeps gathering pace, but few works have attracted as much attention as Mahler's 10th Symphony. Joe Wheeler (who died in 1977) was a brass-playing British civil servant with a passion for Mahler. This completion (itself in an edition by the conductor here, Robert Olson) uses the leaner orchestration of the composer's later years. But does it sound Mahlerian? Certainly more so than Remo Mazzetti's 1997 version, but neither caps Deryck Cooke's acute sense of authentic detail and color in his legendary edition.
Tom Service presents 40 years of great BBC archive featuring the French composer, conductor and musical icon, Pierre Boulez, who died on 5th January 2016 at the age of 90. Opinionated and challenging, Boulez transformed the way that musicians and audiences all over the world think about contemporary music. With orchestras including the BBC Symphony, he rehearses and performs Debussy, Stravinsky and Bartok, as well as a selection of his own extraordinary compositions. Boulez's relationship with the BBC began in the 1960s and blossomed during his years as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra - leaving a vivid legacy in the BBC's TV archive.
A host of accomplished conductors including Daniel Harding, Daniele Gatti, Bernard Haitink and Eliahu Inbal lead the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in these performances of Mahler's Symphonies Nos. 1-10. Recorded in Amsterdam over two seasons in 2010/11, the collection also includes 'Das Lied von der Erde'.
With this new recording of the monumental Symphony no. 8, legendary conductor Pierre Boulez brings his acclaimed Mahler symphonies cycle to a spectacular conclusion
Boulez teams up with Barenboim’s Staatskapelle Berlin, the Berlin State Opera and Radio Choruses, as well as a strong cast of soloists including Michelle DeYoung to deliver his long-awaited reading of what is arguably one of Mahler’s biggest and most impressive scores, also known as “Symphony of a Thousand” due to the large number of musicians needed to perform the piece
This release crowns a more-than-decade-long project involving all the symphonies and major orchestral works of Gustav Mahler – a project that is both of highest personal value to Maestro Boulez and an important document of Mahler interpretation
“Boulez’s Mahler is revelatory in its leanness . . . a life-changing experience for anyone who thought they knew their Mahler.” (Financial Times)