HD-Vinyls 24/96 (DGG) Gustav Mahler – Symphony No. 5 / Kindertotenlieder (Ludwig/Karajan)

Herbert von Karajan came to Mahler in a round-about way. His affinity with Richard Strauss and Anton Bruckner was life-long. Mahler he came to only after exploring the Second Viennese School of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern. Released in the mid-seventies this, his first Mahler recording is extraordinary. It is the only Mahler Symphony recorded by Karajan abd the BPO in the Jesus Christus Kirche and not in the Berlin Philharmonie. This brings a presence and warmth to the recorded sound not achieved by the engineers until much later in the Philharmonie.

# Composer: Gustav Mahler
# Performer: Christa Ludwig
# Orchestra: Berlin Philarmonic Orchestra
# Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
# Vinyl (1975)
# Number of Discs: 2
# Format: Flac
# DR-Analysis: DR 14
# Label: Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft
# ASIN: B000001GR0
# Size: 2.01 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FF

Mahler, with his fifth symphony, stands the notion of “classical” symphony completely on its head. The fourth symphony was just the beginning. Here, instead of emphasizing the ending (a “grand finale”) he emphasizes the middle. What’s called “the longest scherzo in history” provides the pivotal point of three massive sections (subdivided into 5 movements). And instead of a simple “ka-bang” of an ending (like his second and third symphonies provided) he throws in some comedy. Not only that, Mahler found himself fresh out of “Wayfarer” songs by 1901 and thus turned his attention more to non-vocal music. Mix that with some very forward looking dissonant flourishes and it becomes clearer why some historians refer to this as Mahler’s first truly modern symphony. Some even consider this work the dividing line between nineteenth and twentieth century music.

Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic really beef and blast this one out. His focus on power and bombast may hide the more comedic aspects of the work, but those who prefer a romantic interpretation of Mahler will find it in this 1973 recording in droves. The explosions in the first movement violently spring forth. The shrieks that begin the second movement crawl up spinal cords. And the stacatto blasts near the end of the massive scherzo may cause techtonic movement. Lastly, the two “big endings”, at the close of the second and fifth movements, blast like cannons to more than emphasize the connections between the sections (though the final one gets swept up in some subsequent humorous passages). They’re really hard to miss. Some may find the interpretation overbearing or overwrought. Others may bathe in the charged romanticism.

Karajan and company really shine in the justly famous Adagietto. The version on this recording is truly heartbreaking. Its final Tristan chord stretches to very near breaking point before resolving like a sumptuous exhale after a long held breath. Many listeners discover the entire symphony through this movement alone. Some consider it Mahler’s love letter to his future wife Alma (whom he married in 1902 during the same time this symphony took shape).

Those new to Mahler’s fifth face some big challenges. At first the third pivotal movement may seem utterly impenetrable. The music changes with such dynamic ferocity to seem fleeting or hopelessly evasive. But the real treasures of the work lay here. Only through repeated listenings do the subtleties and mind boggling Escher-esque intertwining of themes emerge. And the structure of the entire piece really weighs on the intuitive notion of a piece of music and especially the idea of a symphonic work. At no time before had a composer emphasized the middle rather than the ending of a work. It’s really something quite new for those steeped in the classical tradition. Mahler never makes it easy, but the effort really pays off once the piece begins to click. Plus Mahler quotes famous works as well as his own. The beginning trumpet riff echoes Beethoven’s famous fifth symphony while also mirroring a passage from the first movement of Mahler’s own fourth symphony. Shades of Wagner and Verdi also shine through the cracks. Mahler wanted to capture the full experience of the symphonic tradition and nothing, even history, was left out. So here in the fifth Mahler creates yet another world. It’s open to multiple interpretations and so thematically thick that perhaps no two people experience it in the same way. And this remains an indelible part of Mahler’s musical legacy. Karajan and friends offer one rather blustering interpretation of this amazing work. The adagietto is worth the listen alone.


    Symphonie Nr. 5 Cis-moll
    Erste Abteilung
A1   Trauermarsch. In Gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie Ein Kondukt 12:56
A2   Stürmisch Bewegt. Mit Grösster Vehemenz 15:00
    Zweite Abteilung
B   Scherzo. Kräftig, Nicht Zu Schnell 17:58
    Dritte Abteilung
C1   Adagietto. Sehr Langsam – Attacca 11:51
C2   Rondo – Finale. Allegro – Allegro Giocoso – Frisch 15:16
    Kindertotenlieder Nach Gedichten Von Friedrich Rückert
D1   Nun Will Die Sonn’ So Hell Aufgeh’n 6:10
D2   Nun Seh’ Ich Wohl, Warum So Dunkle Flammen 5:41
D3   Wenn Dein Mütterlein 5:04
D4   Oft Denk’ Ich, Sie Sind Nur Ausgegangen 3:24
D5   In Diesem Wetter, In Diesem Braus 5:34
Analyzed folder: /96kGuMa_Sy5-Kar/96k Mahler – Symphony No. 5 – Karajan
DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
DR13        -0.63 dB     -19.50 dB     A1 Symphonie Nr. 5 Cis-moll – Trauermarsch. In Gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie Ein Kondukt.wav
DR13        -0.45 dB     -18.49 dB     A2 Symphonie Nr. 5 Cis-moll – Stuermisch Bewegt. Mit Groesster Vehemenz.wav
DR15        -0.36 dB     -20.82 dB     B Symphonie Nr. 5 Cis-moll – Scherzo. Kraeftig, Nicht Zu Schnell.wav
DR14        -1.10 dB     -21.90 dB     C1 Symphonie Nr. 5 Cis-moll – Adagietto. Sehr Langsam – Attacca.wav
DR13        -0.62 dB     -18.35 dB     C2 Symphonie Nr. 5 Cis-moll – Rondo – Finale. Allegro – Allegro Giocoso – Frisch.wav
DR13        -5.08 dB     -23.93 dB     D1 Nun Will Die Sonn’ So Hell Aufgeh’n.wav
DR13        -3.57 dB     -22.94 dB     D2 Nun Seh’ Ich Wohl, Warum So Dunkle Flamme.wav
DR15        -1.44 dB     -22.47 dB     D3 Wenn Dein Muetterlein.wav
DR13        -2.09 dB     -20.12 dB     D4 Oft Denk’ Ich, Sie Sind Nur Ausgegangen.wav
DR13        -1.28 dB     -19.62 dB     D5 In Diesem Wetter, In Diesem Braus.wav
Number of files:    10
Official DR value:    DR14


  • Composed By – Gustav Mahler
  • Conductor – Herbert Von Karajan
  • Engineer – Günter Hermanns
  • Mezzo-soprano Vocals – Christa Ludwig (tracks: D1 to D5)
  • Orchestra – Berliner Philharmoniker
  • Producer – Dr. Hans Hirsch*
  • Recorded By [Aufnahmeleiter] – Hans Weber


Ripping Infos

  • RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
  • TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
  • Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
  • Phono amp: Pro-Ject Phono Box RS
  • ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
  • Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
  • Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
  • Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
  • Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
  • Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Light de-Clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising

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.

  • 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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Click on the “Donate”-button. Thank you very much !

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PW: LaWally

12 thoughts on “HD-Vinyls 24/96 (DGG) Gustav Mahler – Symphony No. 5 / Kindertotenlieder (Ludwig/Karajan)

  1. I am truly amazed !

    This has been praised as one of the most wonderful performances of Mahler’s symphony.

    Thank you very much for this gem.

  2. Me parece una lectura maravillosa, sin excluir otras, por supuesto. Y ahora puedo disfrutar del sonido analógico original (creo que nunca fue editado en CD con el cariño que se merece).

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