Bruno Walter's association with Mahler was perhaps as close as any conductor ever had with a composer. To the young Bruno Walter in 1907, Mahler wrote, "I know no-one who understands me so well".
These recordings, made in the last years of Bruno Walter's life immortalise this special kinship. Inspiration is evident everywhere. By all accounts, the freelance musicians involved felt compelled to give these recording sessions top priority. The technicians ensured that the best recording techniques were used. Subsequent transfer and restoration processes have improved things still further. Gone are the deep rumble and the high hiss that were all too audible before the pianissimo entrance of the choir in the last movement of the Second Symphony.
In his 1947 autobiography, Bruno Walter wrote, "As long as I can lift a baton, I shall continue to conduct the works of Mahler and Bruckner. I consider it one of my life's tasks to uncover the sources of exultation flowing from their music."
There is plenty of exultation uncovered in these great performances.