Stuart Gardner | 01/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The performance by the Berlin Philharmonic is superb as usual. Bernard Haitink gives an excellent reading of Mahler's first two symphonies on this disc. I do prefer Bruno Walter's and George Solti's interpretations of Mahler (particularly the 2nd), but Haitink is a very close third in my book. The production (both visual and audio) is top notch. They did change camera angles a little more frequently than I like to see (almost MTV hyper-style), but mostly they did it because Mahler just has so much going on in his work that the cameras need to keep up visually with the individual orchestra members. That's one thing I especially like about Mahler, is he gives the whole orchestra a real workout and every instrument gets a chance to contribute and shine. While I can't say that I'm an overall fan of Mahler's works like I am of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, I am a real fan of his first two symphonies, and for a concert DVD of these extrodinary pieces, you probably aren't going to get much better than this."
Mahler's Second with all the frills
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 03/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First, let me reply to one of the reviews that stated that this was good music, but a bad picture or image. Perhaps it was just that reviewer's equipment or a bad DVD, for both audio and video quality on my copy were excellent.
In fact, the sound quality and the close-up photography were so well-done that, even though this is a large orchestra undertaking, at times it was so clear and easy to hear individual instruments that I thought it was a chamber orchesta I was hearing. O.K. when conductor Bernard Haitink really "let the horses loose" it was very clear from the power and majesty that this was Mahler's Second Symphony with all the frills.
In the Fifth Movement, the music moved from Haitink's controlled quiet to Mahler's glorious explosion of cymbals and brass. But Haitink did not really give up control, for minutes later we can hear very clearly some of the lowest audible harp notes, which introduce the "all-penetrating" drumroll of the Day of Judgment.
Soloists: The contralto, Jard Van Nes sings with every word cleanly-articulated--it's a joy to hear it so well-sung. Next, it's beautiful soprano Sylvia McNair in a stunning white brocade dress who tenderly "hits all the high notes."
Indeed, the only thing missing on this recording is subtitles. There are none at all. Although I would have appreciated them, in at least English and German, I can live without the subtitles. If you prefer a copy WITH subtitles, I would recommend Claudio Abbado's DVD with the Lucerne Festival. It features subtitles in English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish.