Otto Klemperer / Wiener Symphoniker

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection"

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While Otto Klemperer's legendary 1961 EMI recording with the Philharmonia Orchestra of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2 in C minor, "Resurrection," is still revered by many, a recording made 10 years earlier and released for the first time by Testament in 2010 will be of special interest to students of this conductor, dedicated Mahlerians, and fans of historical performances. As a trusted member of Mahler's circle in Vienna, the young Klemperer prepared performances of the symphonies and became an important link to the composer, as well as an invaluable source for future conductors because of his direct experience of Mahler's preferred performance style. To the extent that Klemperer preserved this knowledge in his 1951 live performance with the Vienna Philharmonic, one can reasonably believe that the lively tempos, sharp attacks, and overall propulsive character of the music were a genuine part of Mahler's own practices, which were passed down here as a legacy. Despite the extremely narrow monaural reproduction, one can easily make out all of Klemperer's pacing decisions and nuances of interpretation, and there are no distortions of the sound to obscure details or impair the enjoyment of the performance. In this double disc package, Testament presents the recording in its original sound profile on the first CD, and with ambient sound on the second disc, which gives it a more immediate and fuller tone. Experienced listeners may still find the unaltered recording of interest, though most others will appreciate the enhanced CD for its richer sound, greater depth, and closer resemblance to modern analog recordings. Either way, this is a fascinating performance that Testament wisely rescued from the vaults.

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