Various Artists

The Music of Gustav Mahler: Issued 78s, 1903-1940

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The Music of Gustav Mahler: Issued 78s, 1903-1940 is a boon for collectors of all things Mahler, because it brings together the earliest acoustic and electric recordings on eight CDs in a convenient trimline box set. Included are historic recordings of the Symphony No. 1, conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos; the Symphony No. 2, in two separate performances, led by Oskar Fried and Eugene Ormandy; the Symphony No. 4, conducted by Hidemaro Konoye; and the Symphony No. 9 and Das Lied von der Erde, conducted by Bruno Walter. Also in the collection are recordings of excerpts from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit, and performances of Kindertotenlieder, Rückert-Lieder, and the Adagietto from the Symphony No. 5. Urlicht AudioVisual has done an astonishing job of transferring these old recordings to the digital format, and despite the obvious surface noise of the 78s, the sound is quite clear and resonant on many of the tracks. Those that aren't quite clear are still interesting for the interpretations, which can be discerned in the general shape and flow of the music. This set is highly recommended for dedicated Mahler aficionados and students of early recording techniques.