BERNSTEIN SECOND MAHLER CIRCLE


Bernstein's second Mahler cycle was recorded for Deutsche Grammophon. The new cycle also involved recordings by orchestras closely linked to Mahler's compositional and conductorial output, including the New York Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Bernstein utilized his preferred latter-day technique of recording several live performances with patchup sessions to correct minor mistakes, believing it to be more satisfactory than a full studio recording. The 8th symphony was still to be recorded at the time of Bernstein's death, and a 1975 radio tape of a Salzburg Festival performance was used to complete the cycle. The performances of the fifth and first symphonies are often seen by critics as an improvement over the first cycle recorded by Columbia, as well as the recording of the fourth, despite sharp criticism of Bernstein's use of a boy soprano in the fourth movement.
 
Although there are many similarities between the two cycles, Bernstein's later conducting style is often slower and more heavily expressive that his more youthful approach in the 1960s. - Saulo Zucchello