Heather Harper / London Symphony Orchestra / Georg Solti

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

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Anyone who became aware of Gustav Mahler's symphonies in the late '60s and 1970s surely knows of the many impressive recordings Georg Solti made for Decca, and likely remembers that they were held in high regard for their remarkable clarity, energetic playing, and overwhelming emotional expression. This 1966 recording of the Symphony No. 2 in C minor, "Resurrection," has to be one of the most transparent, vigorous, and affecting renditions ever transferred to disc, and it's difficult to think of any other recording of the time that tops it for vividness and power. The London Symphony Orchestra has probably never given this work a more committed performance than it presents here, and the shattering orchestral climaxes paint the image of Judgment Day with great effectiveness; the sublime singing by soprano Heather Harper, contralto Helen Watts, and the London Symphony Chorus is nearly ideal for conveying the closing movements' evocation of heavenly things. Rarely are this work's elements of terror and bliss balanced as well as they are in Solti's hands, and his interpretation of the "Resurrection" is assured of a permanent place in the catalog for its close approach to perfection.

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