Mahler: Symphony No. 3 - Chailly

Mahler: Symphony No. 3 - Chailly

Decca Classics  470 652-2 (2 discs)

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Mahler: Symphony No. 3, Bach Suite

Petra Lang (mezzo)
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Riccardo Chailly (conductor)

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40 of 41 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

DSD recording
Comments (14)

Comment by Lonn Henrichsen - August 30, 2015 (1 of 14)

A fabulous recording, one of the very few Decca DSD originals, of an utterly fabulous performance. It is tragic that Decca ceased making and releasing original DSD recordings as I am among those who no longer buys most new Decca releases. It is sad that what appears to be short-term bottom line concerns has apparently trumped releasing recordings with the best available audio quality.

Comment by threerandot - July 7, 2016 (2 of 14)

Review by threerandot June 5, 2007
Performance: 5
Sonics: 5

Ricardo Chailly leads the Concertgebuow Orchestra in this majestic performance of Mahler's third symphony. The Bach fill-up is excellent as well.

Kräftig entschieden (Strong and decisive):
Ricardo Chailly proves to us that he is capable of giving us a first-rate performance in Mahler's third symphony.
The opening movement begins with one of Mahler's favorite devices, the March, with impressive horns, crisp percussion and deep, deep bass. Those with a subwoofer or large speakers are in for a treat. There is a feeling of desperation in this music and the powerful dynamics only heighten the emotions. The darker, more sinister moments with trumpets, bass and percussion are contrasted with gentler moments in the winds and violins. Piccolos, flutes, oboes and clarinets come through beautifully. You can also hear some of the deep bass coming from your rear speakers as well. There is a heroic and indominatable spirit in this music. At almost 35 minutes, in lesser hands, this first movement could peter out very quickly, but Chailly manages to keep the music moving with plenty of energy and momentum.

Tempo di Menuetto (In the tempo of a minuet)
After the tumultuous and dramatic first movement, we settle into the genial and sunny second movement. This minuet is filled with a Viennese charm and ease. The pizzicato strings and harps help set the mood. This is ebullient music making. I wish that the strings could come out just a bit more, but overall, this is a nice contrast to the first movement.

Comodo (Scherzando) (Comfortably, like a scherzo)
The third movement is filled with the joy and beauty of nature and is marked by colorful woodwinds and horns. The music has a rustic, dancelike character filled with the innocence and happiness of youth. The posthorn solos are the centerpiece of this movement. They are tender, lyrical and moving and will stick in your head. I appreciate the distance the listener is from the posthorn, almost as if it is calling us from the depths of the woods. French horns join in. It conjures up serene and peaceful feelings. The solo is broken by more rustic dances, but returns again later. The movement closes with exuberant climatic fanfares.

Sehr langsam--Misterioso (Very slowly, mysteriously)
Petra Lang's mezzo-soprano voice proves ideally suited to the mysterious fourth movement, filled with deep yearning and longing. The mood is serene, with soft french horns and strings. This is one of the most poignant moments in this entire symphony. It all ends with hushed strings. The recording captures the intimacy of this music making.

Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck (Cheerful in tempo and bold in expression)
The fifth movement features an all women's chorus singing a joyful song which contains material Mahler would later use in his fourth symphony. The tune is bright and genial.

Langsam--Ruhevoll--Empfunden (Slowly, tranquil, deeply felt)
The finale to this symphony begins with solemn and gentle strings. The music is tranquil, searching and hopeful. Chailly draws inspired playing from the Concertgebuow and this last movement is like one, long, giant breath. The music has depth, vulnerability and uncertainty, yet it is constantly building. We have followed the journey of this symphony and we are coming to its magnificent conclusion. The music ebbs, with a lone, solo flute, followed by trumpets, expressing hope. The music swells again, with passionate and shimmering strings, magnificent tympanis and blaring brass which builds towards a magnificent and heroic close.

I am very impressed with this excellent performance of Mahler's third and Chailly manages to keep this 100 minutes of music under control and always moving forward. The closing movement is in itself an incredible feat, like one long crontrolled climax. Truly inspired.

Since the Mahler symphony is too long to fit on one disc, there is the added bonus of the attractively played Bach Suite, arranged by Mahler. It contains the Overture, Rondeau and Badinerie from the Suite No. 2, as well as the Air and Gavottes I and II from the Suite No. 3. They are all beautifully played.

I. Overture: This is highlighted by the organ played by Richard Ram. Very impressive.
II. Rondeau and Badinerie: There is some nice harpsichord playing in the Rondeu and the flute playing in the Badinerie is first rate.
III. Air: This is also known as the very popular "Air on the G String". Strings are rich with the pizzicato in the bass pleasently caught.
IV. Gavottes I and II: These majestic Gavottes are played with great energy and enthusiasm. The brass is very impressively recorded. The same can be said for the rest of the orchestra and continuo.

This could very well be one recording of Mahler's third symphony that will sit on the shelf with other famous recordings of this symphony. An excellent recording, even if I would have preferred more air around the sound at times, as well as more body to the strings. Still, Chailly gets the most from the Concertgebuow players who really give it their all.

This set was released on two discs and the fact that it is priced as one full-price disc should make this purchase very attractive to Mahler fans. Add the excellent Bach Suite fill-up and you have a disc that makes for a very enjoyable evening of listening. Highly recommended.

(This review refers to the MCH portion of this disc.)

Comment by Ian_of_glos - October 14, 2018 (3 of 14)

This is the recording I use when I want to demonstrate the benefits of SACD recordings. As well as being a good performance the recording is excellent and it is easy to hear the greater depth and clarity that the SACD medium provides.

Can anyone tell me whether there is a forum where I can ask general questions about SACD?

Comment by hiredfox - October 14, 2018 (4 of 14)

I think, this one even 'though it's speciality is the music but you can't have one without the other as the old song goes.

Most other 'hi-fi' websites like AUDIO ASYLUM seem oblivious to Super Audio.

As far as this particular recording is concerned, it remains the clear first choice for Mahler 3 on disc, CD or SACD..... in my view. Fischer's recent performance was very good indeed but the RCO weave some special magical spell when playing Mahler finding a degree of precision and transparency that eludes most.

Comment by Mark Werlin - October 18, 2018 (5 of 14)

Responding to the query about an SACD forum:

The forum is archived and closed to new activity, but you can navigate through the topics and read the discussion threads.

Google searches will point to forums that host discussions of SACD releases, technical articles about DSD, and reviews of SACD players.

Comment by hiredfox - September 24, 2021 (6 of 14)

Arguably, this remains amongst if not the finest SACD ever produced by anyone.

An outstanding performance of Mahler's 3rd Symphony captured in stunning realism by the Decca recording engineers and edited by Jonathan Stokes of the Classic Sounds team.

Clear first choice for this achingly beautiful work recorded at the Concertgebouw at the dawn of the SACD era. Demonstration quality, these words not being use lightly. If you have never heard this disc then spoil yourself. You will not regret it.

If you can find one, Buy it!

Comment by SteelyTom - September 27, 2021 (7 of 14)

Thanks for reminding me about this recording. That's high praise indeed, coming from you.

Comment by DYB - September 27, 2021 (8 of 14)

I agree with the reviews of this performance and recording. I really like the entire Chailly cycle. It's very unfortunate Decca never issued the whole thing in SACD (I only presume they recorded it the same way.) Numbers 2 and 8 were issued on DVD-A.

Comment by James Redpath - October 2, 2021 (9 of 14)

Chailly’s Mahler 9 was available on SACD. Simply superb.

Comment by James Redpath - October 2, 2021 (10 of 14)

Amazon UK have new and used SACD of Mahler 9.

Comment by PaulSARenaud - October 3, 2021 (11 of 14)

I love these recordings (3 and 9). I own the other Chailly's Concertgebouw Mahler Symphonies on RBCD. Any change of having the other symphonies be released as SACD?

Comment by AOS - October 8, 2021 (12 of 14)

I compared three versions of Mahler's Third Symphony in surround yesterday: Chailly, Ivan Fischer and Boulez. I found Chailly's version good in terms of sound, but the least convincing. The other two versions sound more natural, balanced, spatial and transparent. One reason for this could be that the version was not originally produced in surround, but was subsequently mixed into surround from the existing tracks.

Comment by hiredfox - October 12, 2021 (13 of 14)

The Decca disc was recorded in mch as well as stereo as far as I recall. Much depends upon what you expect from your surround sound system. This is a hoary old chestnut that hardly bears further discussion. The roles of rear speakers is to reproduce the room acoustic echoes etc. If they are doing their job correctly they should be barely audible.

Comment by AOS - October 13, 2021 (14 of 14)

@hiredfox I am not talking about my system setup or the function of the rear speakers, which I am fully aware. I just compared the three recordings regarding the sound of the SACD surround track and I liked the other recordings by Fischer and Boulez more. I am not shure if the 3rd and 9th have been recorded in surround or were just mixed in surround using the support mics.It could be that both symphonies were recorded in surround, because they were the last recordings of the cycle in 2004.