HD-Vinyl 24/96 (DGG) Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.6/Kindertotenlieder (Bernstein)

Many thanks to our friend Jean-Luc for this very rare live gem.
This is truly one of the greatest albums in the pantheon of symphonic recordings. Bernstein made some exemplary recordings with the Vienna Philharmonic, several of them being Mahler works, yet something truly magical, truly cosmic and truly devastating happened when the VPO played this symphony under Leonard Bernstein. Unlike some of Bernstein’s other recordings in which his histrionic approach, his extreme tempi choices, and his extensive use of rubato can be jarring or distracting, in this work these qualities are entirely appropriate and seem to be organic and seamless.

# Composer: Gustav Mahler
# Baritone: Thomas Hampson
# Orchestra: Vienna Philarmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
# Vinyl (1989)
# Number of Discs: 2
# Format: Flac
# Label: DGG
# DR-Analysis: DR 15
Size: 2.27 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: Fi

The first movement is driven hard and fast and reaches an earth-shattering and overwhelming climax. The second movement is equally full of savagery, yet opens up to caress the delicate rhythms of this somewhat disturbing dance movement. The slow movement is peerless and trance-inducing, dispelling all criticism that it is taken too slowly. The last movement, however, is something for which words are of little use. It is supreme in its representation, emotionally charged, enthralling and immense in its tragic grandeur and sheer power. Another nice touch is that Bernstein includes the third hammer stroke of Fate, which many conductors do not in honor of Mahler’s later exclusion of it from the score, being somewhat superstitious of tempting Fate. Well, the composer was long dead, so I think Bernstein’s choice is justified and lends this final movement a finality that others lack, for it does indeed seem to missing from that final crushing blow when not included.

This could easily be the only recording of this work one ever heard or owned and still be totally satisfied, especially because this is not exactly the kind of work one tends to listen to often for enjoyment, although I grant that there are many who just may do so. The playing is superb and polished, and the recording quality is exceptional, with clear details and a very present and immediate sound that is never harsh or shrill as other early digital recordings can be. For some reason this recording even betters that of the 5th symphony recording made around the same time in the same hall. So again, something truly magical happened here and it is well worth your time and attention.

There are many other great recordings worth considering, including Karajan with the BPO, Boulez with the VPO among others. This would be my primary recommendation with a close second being Karajan’s.

Pay attention:
I made an error on naming the tracks.
Please rename the tracks

A1    Allegro Energico, Ma Non Trappo. Heftig Aber Markig    23:09
A2    Scherzo. Wuchtig-Andante Moderato    30:35
B1    Finale. Allegro Moderato-Allegro Energigo    33:04
B2    Nun Will Die Sonn’ So Hell Aufgeh’n    5:57
B3    Nun Seh’ Ich Wohl, Warum So Dunkle Flammen    5:06
B4    Wenn Dein Muetterlein    5:59
B5    Oft Denk’ Ich, Sie Sind Nur Ausgegangen    3:25
B6    In Diesem Wetter    7:21
the way you see it here below


  Symphonie No. 6  
A Allegro Energico, Ma Non Trappo. Heftig Aber Markig 23:09
B Scherzo. Wuchtig-Andante Moderato 30:35
C Finale. Allegro Moderato-Allegro Energigo 33:04
D1 Nun Will Die Sonn’ So Hell Aufgeh’n 5:57
D2 Nun Seh’ Ich Wohl, Warum So Dunkle Flammen 5:06
D3 Wenn Dein Muetterlein 5:59
D4 Oft Denk’ Ich, Sie Sind Nur Ausgegangen 3:25
D5 In Diesem Wetter 7:21

Analyzed folder: /96k Mahler – Symphony No. 6 – Bernstein
DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
DR14        -0.59 dB     -19.70 dB     A Allegro Energico, Ma Non Trappo. Heftig Aber Markig.aif
DR17        -1.64 dB     -24.77 dB     B Scherzo. Wuchtig-Andante Moderato.aif
DR15        -0.37 dB     -20.70 dB     C Finale. Allegro Moderato-Allegro Energigo.aif
DR14        -9.31 dB     -29.22 dB     D1  Kindertotenlieder – Nun Will Die Sonn’ So Hell Aufgeh’n.aif
DR14        -4.61 dB     -26.27 dB     D2  Kindertotenlieder – Nun Seh’ Ich Wohl, Warum So Dunkle Flammen.aif
DR15        -6.54 dB     -27.86 dB     D3  Kindertotenlieder – Wenn Dein Muetterlein.aif
DR14        -5.59 dB     -25.95 dB     D4  Kindertotenlieder – Oft Denk’ Ich, Sie Sind Nur Ausgegangen.aif
DR17        -1.41 dB     -23.95 dB     D5  Kindertotenlieder – In Diesem Wetter.aif
Number of files:    8
Official DR value:    DR15


  • Composed By – Gustav Mahler
  • Conductor – Leonard Bernstein
  • Orchestra – Vienna Philarmonic Orchestra
  • Baritone – Thomas Hampson
German DGG digital stereo-pressing from 1989. Live recording from Vienna. 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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