Otto Klemperer

Mahler: Symphony No. 9; Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen; Tod und Verklärung

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The late '60s were a golden age for the recorded sound of classical music. Despite all of the technological advances in the recording industry and the fact that orchestras are now stocked with players of a much higher technical level than those of the 1960s, modern recordings have never been able to reproduce the presence, warmth, and clarity of recordings from that era. Such is the case with this recording of Mahler's Ninth Symphony with Otto Klemperer and the New Philharmonia Orchestra. Beyond interpretation, the sound quality of this recording is something to behold. Balance is spectacular, and even in the thickest of textures, every instrument can clearly be heard without ever seeming muddy. As for the interpretation, listeners are likely to be polarized into either loving or hating this rendition. Klemperer was well known as a Mahler conductor and with good reason, as the composer and conductor worked together on more than one occasion. Listeners who like to sit down with their score while enjoying Mahler will notice, however, that Klemperer definitely has his own ideas about pacing and character. Despite the extremely detailed instructions Mahler included with his music, Klemperer often does things his own way. The two middle movements are a little slower than customary, and the fourth movement has less of an air of resignation than other versions usually put forth. All things considered, this CD is definitely worth checking out.

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