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Mahler Project Overview

The San Francisco Symphony Mahler Recording Project

Launched in 2001, the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas’s series of Gustav Mahler symphony recordings has been acclaimed around the world. The first U.S. orchestra to form its own label, the SFS has so far released recordings of eight of the nine complete symphonies, and following the August 2009 release of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 and the Adagio from Symphony No. 10, will cap the successful cycle with the balance of Mahler’s major works for voices, chorus and orchestra.

A complete discography of the Mahler Cycle is available here.

In addition to the Mahler 8 release, upcoming San Francisco Symphony Mahler releases will include Mahler’s Rückert Lieder and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs Of A Wayfarer), recorded by SFS Media at live performances in Davies Symphony Hall.

The Mahler recordings have sold a combined total of more than 130,000 units. The Mahler project has been recognized with four Grammy Awards : Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance for Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 in 2006, Best Classical Album for Symphony No. 3 and Kindertotenlieder in 2003, and Best Orchestral Performance for Symphony No. 6, the first release, in 2002. The MTT/SFS recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with soprano Laura Claycomb received a Best Surround Sound Album Grammy nomination in 2004.

Critics from around the world have praised the recordings, and each release has entered the top ten of the Billboard Classical Chart. Critic Mark Swed, writing in the Los Angeles Times, has called MTT and the San Francisco Symphony “the most exciting Mahler combination anywhere right now.”

More praise for the SFS Mahler Cycle:

“The recordings have been widely acclaimed, and with good reason. Mr. Thomas is a gifted Mahlerian, and the orchestra plays at a consistently high level … The freshness and impulsiveness of the First Symphony, the immense grandeur of the Second, the broad sweep of the outer movements of the Third, the shining climaxes and childlike innocence of the Fourth and the indomitable force of the Sixth are all in place. And to judge again from an advance copy, the Ninth will be a worthy continuation. The strings pass the acid test of warmth right at the beginning, and the rest of the orchestra follows in kind … This has been a bravely ambitious way to start a record label.” – The New York Times

The series was produced by Andreas Neubronner. All of the Mahler recordings are released in the new Super Audio CD (SACD) format through a contribution from Sony Music Corp. SACD provides the precision of digital technology while retaining the warmth of analog sound. Discs recorded in the SACD format offer spectacular CD-quality sound when played on a conventional CD player; played on a Super Audio CD player, they reveal all the advantages of the new format.

The SFS/MTT Mahler recordings on SFS Media are distributed by Harmonia Mundi to retail outlets nationwide, and are available at the Symphony Store in Davies Symphony Hall and through the SFS online store at The Mahler recordings are available around the world, through SRI in Canada, New Note Distribution Ltd. in the United Kingdom, and Avie internationally.

Click here to purchase any of the Mahler recordings. SFS Media recordings are also available for purchase through iTunes, Rhapsody and eMusic.

These recordings are made possible by the encouragement and generous leadership funding of Mr. Gordon Getty. Additional support was provided by Nancy and Joachim Bechtle, The Buffett Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County and John Edward Jr. and Jo S. Hurley.