Various Artists

Mahler: The Complete Works

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For Gustav Mahler's 150th birthday, EMI has assembled a 16-disc box set of his complete works, including not only the ten symphonies, Das Lied von der Erde, and the song cycles, but also the early cantata, Das klagende Lied, and the extant movement from the Piano Quartet in A minor, two works which arguably can be called Mahler rarities. Having all these pieces together in one large collection is undeniably a great convenience, and many will consider buying this set not only for that reason, but also for the historic nature of the recordings. The roster of conductors features such legends as Sir John Barbirolli, Otto Klemperer, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, George Szell, and Jascha Horenstein, along with later Mahlerians, Klaus Tennstedt, Sir Simon Rattle, and Carlo Maria Giulini, all of whom left remarkable recordings that still are essential listening. The familiar problem of purchasing a Mahler box set is complicated by the presence of so many artists: one usually expects a set to be one conductor's cycle, which would be desirable to anyone who admires that maestro's interpretations. Otherwise, acquiring separate recordings by different artists is the sensible way to go. But the choosing already has been done for listeners here, so one is either obligated to go with EMI's picks or find some other option. The significance of these recordings, the mix of ADD and DDD recordings, and the performance dates, ranging from 1952 to 2010, make this item well-suited for a music library or a specialist's collection, so it is recommended for any who are fully acquainted with Mahler's work. Newcomers, however, may want to explore contemporary, all-digital recordings before committing to such a hefty compendium.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Das klagende Lied
1 28:38
2 17:38
3 19:08
4 11:20

Track Listing - Disc 9

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Symphony No. 6 in A minor
1 16:02
2 13:58
3 32:47
blue highlight denotes track pick