Brigitte Fassbaender / Klaus Tennstedt

Mahler: Symphony No. 5; Kindertotenlieder

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Klaus Tennstedt's 1980 live recordings of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor and Kindertotenlieder, with Brigitte Fassbaender and the NDR Sinfonieorchester, have been digitally remastered for this Profil/Haenssler twofer, and aficionados who relish this conductor's impressive recordings should snap it up. Coming late to international celebrity, Tennstedt had a brief period of recording activity from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, and the relative scarcity of his releases gives them a special value, particularly for his memorable renditions of the symphonies of Mahler and Bruckner, which were areas of specialization that earned him a loyal following. Newcomers will discover that these are focused and powerful performances, yet they are imbued with subtlety and delicate nuances which become apparent with close listening. Tennstedt was always more concerned with integrity than flashiness, and these recordings have a solidity and emotional directness that impress more than many of the best-selling recordings of the time. While these aren't note-perfect performances (there are a few intonation problems and occasional mistakes), and the audio is a bit shallow, the music is always compelling and deeply felt, so this important release belongs in every serious Mahler collection.

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