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Symphonic Music - Released October 30, 2012 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 4 étoiles de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonic Music - Released June 10, 2014 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Qobuzissime
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Symphonic Music - Released October 26, 2016 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Symphonies - Released March 4, 1998 | RCA Red Seal

Distinctions Choc du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Répertoire - 4F de Télérama
To judge any performance of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, one must look beyond the portrayal of its sensational program to see how well it coheres as a symphony. Berlioz may have been the maddest of the Romantics, but he was quite sane in planning his work's design, and this daring score is still dependent on form to effectively tell its tale. Michael Tilson Thomas, a skillful conductor of Romantic symphonies, understands that the Symphonie fantastique is more than an episodic tone poem, and he lays out its five movements with steadiness and a clear sense of trajectory. Reveries-Passions, A Ball, and the Scene in the Fields are properly treated as symphonic movements in the Sonata-Allegro, Scherzo, and Adagio scheme established by Beethoven. Taken together because they are connected in the narrative, the last two movements may be seen as an innovation on Beethoven's compound Finale in his Symphony No. 9. In Tilson Thomas' carefully paced and calculated reading, the "March to the Scaffold" and the "Dream of a Witches' Sabbath" are truly shocking and blasphemous, and all the pent-up fury of the San Francisco Symphony is unleashed in these blood-curdling hallucinations. Recorded in 1997-1998, this 2004 reissue also offers excerpts from Berlioz's Lélio. RCA's recording is wonderfully vivid and resonant.
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Symphonic Music - Released April 10, 2012 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Prises de son d'exception - La Clef du mois RESMUSICA
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Symphonic Music - Released June 9, 2003 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Award - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonies - Released October 21, 2002 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonies - Released February 13, 2006 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released March 1, 2011 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonies - Released November 16, 2006 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
There are plenty of fine recordings of Gustav Mahler's popular Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor, but each decade seems to produce its own landmark renditions: Bernstein's in the 1960s, Solti's in the '70s, Sinopoli's in the '80s, and Abbado's in the '90s. For the first decade of the twenty first century, Michael Tilson Thomas' riveting 2005 version with the San Francisco Symphony may eventually be regarded as the classic performance, simply for its unsurpassed emotional commitment and luminous intensity. The technical mastery of both conductor and orchestra is beyond reproach, and the sound quality of this direct-stream digital SACD is almost beyond belief, so this recording meets all the basic requirements of the toughest Mahler fan. But what makes this performance truly great is the energy that is readily apparent in the live concert setting; the San Francisco Symphony under Tilson Thomas' leadership is as blazing in sonority and brilliant in execution as any of the world's best orchestras, and they play with just as much expressive fire and force. The Trauermarsch is explosive in its grief, and even though this gripping movement might be emotionally draining for a lesser ensemble, the orchestra moves straightway to the extreme violence of the second movement, then dances vigorously through the Scherzo, swoons with amorous languor in the Adagietto, and bursts with sunny radiance in the fugal Rondo-Finale, all without the slightest trace of fatigue. This is a finely detailed performance, with remarkable definition of the counterpoint and internal rhythmic figures; Tilson Thomas is scrupulous in observing the letter and spirit of Mahler's score, bringing out unique touches in the orchestration and graduating tempos with appropriate amounts of rubato. But above all is the players' concentrated involvement in the music, which is the deciding factor in placing this exceptional disc at the forefront of Mahler recordings of its time. Highly recommended.
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Art Songs, Mélodies & Lieder - Released September 21, 2010 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonies - Released June 3, 2002 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc du Monde de la Musique - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonic Music - Released May 16, 2005 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
Imagine Mahler's Ninth without tears. The symphony Mahler composed after the death of his daughter and the diagnosis that would soon kill him, the symphony that more than any other sings of bottomless grief and endless sorrow, the symphony that more than any other sings the swan song of German music and European culture, the symphony that more than any other confirms Mahler's status as one of the great tragic artists of Western civilization without tears. It can't be done, you say? Sure it can. And, what's more, Mahler's Ninth is better without tears. In this 2004 recording by Michael Tilson Thomas with the San Francisco Symphony, Mahler's Ninth is performed with restraint and dignity, but without tears. Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco still sing of grief and sorrow, but without tears. They still hymn the ineffable beauty of life in this world and the eternal luminosity of life in the world to come. They still rise to climaxes of overwhelming strength and sink into codas of unbearable poignancy. And they still accomplish the greatest miracle of all by holding back the dying of the light with the limitless humanity of their performance. But they do it without tears. And it's all the more moving for that. The recording is utterly transparent, allowing the clear light of infinity to shine through.
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Full Operas - Released June 10, 2014 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Qobuzissime
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Symphonic Music - Released March 16, 2016 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released June 23, 1987 | Sony Classical

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Symphonic Music - Released August 12, 2015 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
Absolute Jest, performed for the first time in 2012 by the San Francisco Orchestra and its leader Michael Tilson Thomas, implies both buffoonery and great fun through its title. The listener may well be wondering what to expect! Well, for some twenty minutes Adams powers an unlikely scherzo, one charged with mad energy, provided by a warring orchestra and a solo string quartet. Here the piece is reminiscent of the fiercest Beethoven quartets. Other homage is paid to the great Ludwig; there is the stubborn dotted rhythm that characterizes the first movement of the Seventh Symphony, and also the scherzo of the Ninth, which Adams borrows alongside Beethoven’s signature timpani. On hearing Absolute Jest, one notes that the score is full of Adamsian rhythmic crannies that call to mind his simply devilish complications. A much older work, the Grand Pianola Music of 1982 uses two pianos (not Pianolas as the title may suggest; it is a sly Adamsian joke), wind instruments, three female voices singing without words, and percussion. The composer developed his own brand of minimalism; a minimalism in which the music is clearly partitioned, exploding outwards in all directions. Musical cells are constantly moving, and ruptures come forth constantly to unsettle the listener. This recording is led by Adams himself, with Marc-André Hamelin and Orli Shaham on the pianos.   Note: Absolute Jest was recorded in 96kHz/24-bit, Grand Pianola Music was recorded in PCM 192kHz/24-bit and both were mastered in 192kHz/24-bit
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Symphonic Music - Released November 16, 2015 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released July 31, 2000 | RCA Red Seal

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released November 12, 2014 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason