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What do you think Sims?

I think that the Mahler performance that Dudamel led is one of the most exciting readings of a symphonic work I've ever heard, and that it holds up well next to these iconic recordings. That it holds up at all, let alone well, is astonishing (he's 28!!).

This is fantastic - thanks, Stuart!

I really dug Dudamel's performance when I heard it, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed his choices in comparison like this. I especially liked his bringing that winds tune out more in that first excerpt. I looked at the score, and the winds are actually marked a notch higher than the strings, which Kubelik and Bernstein seem to ignore -- so, score a point for Dudamel. Even better, they're marked p and pp respectively. Yet in all three recordings, everyone seems to be playing at least a mf. (Sigh.)

Glad you like! The biggest difference I notice is that Dudamel tends to think about musical energy in terms of line rather than phrase, that is, he thinks more holistically. So where Kubelik and Bernstein craft lovely melodic phrases, it seems to me that Dudamel considers the melodic phrase as only part of the musical energy, and guides the line/pacing/weight/etc. accordingly. It makes for a much more satisfying, unified performance IMO.

I loved this exercise, but on one level its meaningless to comment on balances since the producer of the recording may have significant control over that in post production. Who knows what the mic arrays were like for these recordings?

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