Conductor: Jascha HORENSTEIN
Orchestra/Ensemble: Stockholm Symphony Orchestra
Catalog #: UKCD2024/25
Format: CD (2 Discs)
Time: 86:39 min
SPARS Code: ADD
(Recorded during live performances given in the Stockholm Concert Hall on April 15th and 17th, 1966)
By Tony Duggan from www.musicweb-international.com:
(The texts below was extracted from his review of Horenstein's BBC Legends recording of the same symphony (BBCL 4191-2 2))
By L. Johan Modée (Amazon.com):
"Recommended despite some flaws"
Some critics hold the Stockholm live Mahler sixth to be Horenstein's weakest Mahler interpretation. The playing of the Stockholm PO is not without flaws, and the whole orchestra has been blamed for being slack.
But, as is the case with Barbirolli's Hallé Mahler recordings, even if the orchestra isn't first-rate, the interpretation - in my view - surely is. I am not a stubborn fan of Horenstein, but my first impression of this recording was a nice surprise. Actually I think it is far better than Horenstein's somewhat overrated account of the third.
In my view, then, Horenstein's conception of how to perform this symphony is second to none. And the weak playing... Well: there are differences between flaws and flaws, especially in the case of the brass department. Sometimes flaws are not real catastrophes but rather like spices, adding to the "sense of occasion" due to committed playing. A dull interpretation with stylish, perfect playing can be boring, but a committed and concentrated performance never is - with or without playing flaws. (The same holds for Horenstein's live performance of the ninth, which has more serious flaws than here.)
Moreover, in many parts of this performance we do get lovely playing from the Stockholm PO. Trombones are often excellent, with a perfect bite. String playing in the andante is overall very good. And the hammerblows in the finale are excellent. Add then that Horenstein's interpretation is intense and interesting, a well-behaving audience, and a pretty good recording quality, and we have to reject the common view that this disc is not worth serious consideration. Therefore I think it deserves at least four stars.
Now BBC Legends has released another live Horenstein Mahler sixth, with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, recorded in 1969. It is basically the same interpretation as in the Stockholm performance. Granted, it's better played, but the recording is in mono - a good one, though.
In my view, however, the Stockholm performance is still of great interest, partly because of better sound.
By A. Ruda (Amazon.com):
"one of the finest recordings of this symphony ever made"
I first bought this recording as a college student at Univ of Mi in 1980.
It was an LP on the since-gone Nonesuch label. I own two of these LPs and consider them collector items. They were taken from acetate discs and still sound pretty good today on a decent turntable with a good cartridge.
The symphony is available on CD today on the Music and Arts Label out of Berkeley CA and it is combined with the Bruckner 8th. Jump on these if you can find them because they are reasonably priced and sound fine. True, this is not a polished orchestra like the Vienna Philharmonic or the Berlin Philharmonic but the production is very musical and Horenstein's interpretation is outstanding. I will put this recording of the Mahler 6th up against anyones out there today - Abbado, Bernstein, Kubelik - you name it. It can go toe to toe with anything out there and deserves to be counted among the top handful of Mahler Sixth recordings. Horenstein's tempo is neither rushed (like the Solti version) nor too slow or plodding. He gets some wonderful phrasing out of the orchestra . I find that I always come back to this recording. If you like Mahler, this symphony under Horenstein's baton needs to be in your collection.