HD-Vinyl 24/96 (DGG) Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.3 (Bernstein)

Many thanks to our friend Jean-Luc for this very rare live gem.
Leonard Bernstein more or less owned this symphony, and both this and his earlier Sony recording are superb. He was one of the few conductors who wasn’t afraid of the musical insanity that Mahler unleashes in the first movement (a collision between two marches of very different character), and the New York Philharmonic is one of the few orchestras in the world with the stamina to carry the whole thing off. This is the longest symphony ever written that’s in the international repertoire, but listening to Bernstein’s way with it, you’d never guess. –David Hurwitz

# Composer: Gustav Mahler
# Contralto: Christa Ludwig
# Orchestra: New York Philarmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
# Vinyl (1989)
# Number of Discs: 2
# Format: Flac
# Label: DGG
# DR-Analysis: DR 15
Size: 1.97 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: Fi

Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 holds a distinction that no other work of classical music holds, that of being in the Guinness Book of World Records. The reason? Of all the symphonies in the active classical music repertoire, this is by far the longest, with an average performance time that routinely crosses the 100-minute barrier. Other works, including Schoenberg’s “Gurrelieder”, exceed this; but in the symphonic realm, this is one record that is unlikely ever to be broken. Every conceivable single kind of human, natural, physical, and spiritual emotion that has ever existed can be found in this gargantuan six-movement work, which incorporates material not only from Mahler’s “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” song cycle, but also the Night Wanderer’s Song of Nietzsche’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (which would spur Richard Strauss on to compose his symphonic tone poem). Not surprisingly, the requirements for this work are mind breaking: a huge orchestra, a standard four-part chorus, a children’s chorus, and a mezzo-soprano soloist. That, and a conductor capable of handling it all without collapsing on the podium. This, of course, is where Leonard Bernstein and his New York Philharmonic Orchestra come into play.

This recording of the Mahler Third, made before a live audience at Avery Fisher Hall in August 1986, more than lives up to this work’s Guinness Book reputation; and in fact, because of Bernstein’s typically immense conducting and (arguably) ultra-slow tempos, it is also perhaps the single longest recording of any symphony, Mahler or otherwise, anywhere on the planet, clocking in at close to 106 minutes, from the portentous horn-dominated opening bars to the tension-releasing conclusion in D Major. Bernstein, as always when it comes to Mahler, makes the journey an adventure of the highest order; indeed, for Los Angeles music critic Mark Swed, who was there on that August night in ’86, he claims he left Avery Fisher Hall literally talking to himself. Listening to this recording, it’s not too hard to see why, as Bernstein marshals seemingly everything he knows about conducting into this performance. He is ably assisted by the legendary German mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig, the New York Choral Artists, and the Brooklyn Boys Choir in this endeavor, along with contributions from posthorn soloist Philip Smith, trombonist Joseph Alessi, and violinist and concertmaster Glenn Dichterow. Bernstein clearly set the bar for Mahler performances from the 1960s onwards, and if ever there was an example of this dictum, it is right here. No matter how controversial Lenny was in conducting Mahler (and make no mistake, he was and still is controversial for many), there can be little doubt of the affinity he had for Mahler. One need only look here for absolute proof of that.


  Symphonie No. 3  
A Mov. No. 1 Kraeftig. Entschieden  
B1 Mov. No. 2 Tempo Di Menuetto. Sehr Maessig  
B2 Mov. No. 3 Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast  
C1 Mov. No. 4 Sehr Lansam. Misterioso  
C2 Mov. No. 5 Lustig Im Tempo Und Keck Im Ausdruck  
D Mov. No. 6 Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden  

Analyzed folder: /96k Mahler – Symphony No. 3 – Bernstein
DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
DR16        -0.83 dB     -23.79 dB     A Mov. No. 1 Kraeftig. Entschieden.aif
DR16        -10.56 dB     -32.67 dB     B1 Mov. No. 2 Tempo Di Menuetto. Sehr Maessig.aif
DR16        -4.71 dB     -28.30 dB     B2 Mov. No. 3 Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast.aif
DR14        -8.57 dB     -29.91 dB     C1 Mov. No. 4 Sehr Lansam. Misterioso.aif
DR14        -4.81 dB     -24.03 dB     C2 Mov. No. 5 Lustig Im Tempo Und Keck Im Ausdruck.aif
DR15        -0.52 dB     -22.95 dB     D Mov. No. 6 Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden.aif
Number of files:    6
Official DR value:    DR15


  • Composed By – Gustav Mahler
  • Conductor – Leonard Bernstein
  • Orchestra – New York Philarmonic Orchestra
  • Contralto Vocals – Christa Ludwig
German DGG digital stereo-pressing from 1989. Live recording from New York. 2LP-box with booklet.

Ripping Info


If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music.
Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.
I tend more and more, in the last time, to de-click with an automatic setting between 0.7 and 1.2 so you can say, my rips are like half rough rips.

  • Software: iZotope RX 4 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Very light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no de-noising
  • DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
  • Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5

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