Mahler Symphonies 1-10

 

Mahler Symphonies 1-10. This is a box set of all 10 Mahler symphonies played by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra as conducted by Paavo Järvi. These titles were released earlier as follows:

  1. Mahler Symphonies 1-2
  2. Mahler Symphonies 3-4
  3. Mahler Symphonies 5-6
  4. Mahler Symphonies 7-8
  5. Mahler Symphonies 9-10

Released 2015, all discs have 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio. Grade for the full box: F-

We only paid $60 for this box (new). But it is still the most colossal disappointment we have had in 10 years of buying fine-art Blu-ray videos, and it has earned the lowest grade we ever gave. Symphony No. 1 was shot in HD and has normal (rather nice actually) HDVD-level PQ. But all the other symphonies in this box (and in all the individual 2-symphony packages you can buy) were shot with SD cameras. Then the SD video images were "uprezed" to HD masters. The PQ for S2-S10 thus pimped out in Blu-ray is horribile, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, and horrible. That's horrible9!

We went back to see how we were lured into the trap of buying this. The "full details" from the vendors say "made from an HD master." Now we have full proof of the vacuousness of that claim made to us by C Major. And it's also proof of the worthlessness of anything the vendors say, as they are merely parroting what they are fed by the publishers. There was one customer review on Amazon we read which warned correctly that there are no menus on the discs to help you find what you want to see, but probably that person bought the DVD version and was not aware of the uprezing. José Luis Bermüdez wrote a nice review on www.classical.net. That review had pictures of Blu-ray packages, but it's obvious José watched this on DVD.  Alas, many old-line reviewers still haven't upgraded from DVD to Blu-ray. They tend to live in the past, and they are rumored to sometimes just listen to the music with the video turned off!

Well, the best way to increase your chances of getting accurate information about fine-arts Blu-rays is to come to this website. During the last 10 years, we have consigned about 20% of new Blu-ray titles to our "Excluded List" for lack of real HD video or surround  Hi-Fi sound. And we also give bad grades to titles that make the first cut but still disappoint.

We would have put this Mahler Box on the excluded list, but it does have one real HD video with surround sound. So we are going to grade each of the individual titles and the box as a whole.

The only other Mahler 1-10 Blu-ray box on the market is the one from RCO Live, which we graded D. If you go to our Alphalist, you well see we have to date (February 2018) unearthed only 2 Mahler recordings that correctly take advantage of current video technology: the Saito Kinen Mahler 1 and a recent Mahler 2 from the Concertgebouw with Gatti conducting.  Forget about the rest of the Mahler Blu-rays to date and enjoy your CDs and other audio products. We are just getting started with making proper symphony videos in the new HDVD era.