Solti - Mahler Symphony No.8 - Audiophile Audition
13 June 2012Audiophile Audition
Recorded in the Sofiensaal, Vienna during August and September 1971,
Sir Georg Solti's orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, together with the
various choirs and some of the top soloists of the day were captured in
excellent analogue sound. Conductor and orchestra were on a European
tour and it seemed a very good idea to add to Solti's Mahler cycle a
recording made in a venue famed for its sonic splendour. It's now over
forty years ago that the tapes were running; the problems of getting one
and all together for the sessions have been well documented, and were
almost as fraught as for Klemperer's recording of Das Lied von der Erde.
Solti, though not the most loved of conductors in some quarters
(including the Vienna Philharmonic's chairman and committee members at
the time - see On An Overgrown Path), was able more than most, I
think, to conjure up the excitement of a live performance in a studio
recording, and this recording is no exception.
For years enthusiasts have hoped for a better-than-CD release,
opining that the double-LP set sounded so much finer. Universal's foray
into the world of SACD came and went, so, after all these years it is a
pleasure to welcome this old friend as part of an initial release as
24/96 flac (or wma). The sound-stage is clearer, instruments
delineated, and ambience far more discrete than on the most recent CD
release. While the performance retains its five-star and star-studded
status, recording quality and method have moved on and while some
releases may be technically superior, they don't quite have the buzz of
Solti's fizzing energy.
Related LinksChicago Symphony OrchestraGeorg SoltiMahler: Symphony No.8 in E flat - 'Symphony of a Thousand'