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4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 26 May 2007
If Amazon would let me give this 7 stars then I would! Even though the recording is over 40 years old it still sounds well. Klemperer brings an amazing sense of occasion to this performance - it's like all you would expect a "live" performance to be and then a bit more on top.

First movement: Stern, weighty and FAST, building to a mighty central climax. Every bit of the musical form fits beautifully into a superbly thought-out whole. This is the "funeral march of a corpse that is angry about dying" par excellence. The particular genius of Klemperer is to get the more reflective and gentle sections of the movement to mesh with the drama in a wonderfully seamless way.

Second Movement: A lovely "old-fashioned" minuet with finely placed fugato trio sections. The Philharmonia strings are burnished and glowing and the correct layout of the orchestra, with first and second violins placed left and right, ensures the greatest clarity in the part writing. Truly lovely and a much-needed relaxation after the storms of the First Part. [Note, Mahler suggested that there should be a good pause between Movement 1 and the rest of the symphony - part 2. Even though this is on one disc only I really recommend listening to the work like this, so that the First Part sinks in, particularly in this performance. The great advantage of the single disc format is that all of Part Two plays continuously - though this is also achieved in other two discs sets that place the First Movement on disc 1 and the rest on Disc 2.]

Third Movement: This is perhaps the most ironical sounding "Anthony of Padua Preaches to the Fish" Scherzo on record, perfectly paced and inflected with black humour in abundance. Superb!

...As is the "Urlicht" Fourth Movement. HIlda Rossl-Majdan is a rich-toned soloist who gets inside the meaning of the poetry ver well indeed. This movement is a magical pause for hope and rest, particulaly after the rather sardonic music that had immediately preceded it. Sensitive conducting from Klemperer again.

The Fifth Movement bursts in with the greatest of force. Klemperer's way with this movement is the real crown of an already magnificent performance. The music unfolds inexorably with a stirring "Grosser Appel" followed by a march rather slower than usual but very noble and very forward-moving. The offstage effects are managed well and the flute playing is particularly good - and then the Philharmonia Chorus enter with magical (but audible - unlike Fisher's recent Channel Classics SACD) intensity. Schwarzkopf sails upwards to the heights and the matching between her and Rossl-Majdan is near perfect. The whole thing ends in a blaze of glory - just about contained by the recording.

This is not the best recorded version now available, of course, but it is more than adequate to convey a remarkable interpretation of this visionary symphony. Klemperer's view is very individual and utterly convincing when you hear it. This is not to say that this is the only way of playing this symphony. Bruno Walter's roughly contemporaneous recording - well, it was a few years earlier, actually - is almost the complete interpretive opposite of this and is just as satisfying. As this is also obtainable from Amazon at a budget price try to get this as well, just to have equally valid and complementary great performances of one of the most moving pieces of music ever written.

There is a story told that Lorin Maazel conducted Mahler's Resurrection Symphony on one occasion many years ago and when much less experienced than now. He noticed that Klemperer was in the audience. After the concert he rushed up to the maestro and asked him what he thought. Klemperer's reply? "I do it other." Well, he certainly does (and avoid Maazel's VPO recording on Sony as it is flaccid). Nobody does it like him and hardly anyone makes the work so moving and wonderful an experience.
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on 12 February 2011
Bryan Magee in Confessions of a Philosopher confesses that Mahler, even after listening to the esteemed versions by Walter, meant nothing to him. It was just "one meaningless phrase followed by another... incoherent." Then he heard Klemperer and, "it was as if someone had fitted my brain with an unscrambler: the phrases had shape and point, and were piercingly expressive, each relating with absolute rightness to what came before and after. Everything fitted together, the music cohered, and was amazingly beautiful..."

I wonder if this was the performance he listened to? Because I had exactly the same experience on listening to this recording! After suffering through Kletzke 1 and Szell 6 I also thought of Mahler as "meaningless" and "incoherent". But this performance, and Szell's Mahler: Symphony No. 4 were the counter-argument, the unscramblers, for me. Symphonies as meaningful and beautiful as any in classical music.
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on 2 August 2011
I know that some people don't like the tempi, thinks that the orchestra is below par etc. But honestly - I can't hear that.
Of course I hear slower tempi than many "modern" recording, but it's tempi making perfect sense. (Also remember that Klemperer actually assisted Mahler when Mahler conducted this symphony.) Maybe some moderna conductors are just not able to let a slower tempo live?
This is a recording where every note has a consequence in what follows. The symphony is played as a whole, not separated parts that should be as "beautiful" as possible.
The soloists and the chorus are at their very best. There is attack, dynamics, clarity.
This is my definitive recording of this sublime music.
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on 6 December 2000
This is possibly the most outstanding Mahler recording of its generation. Iron control is self evident throughout but never more than in the last movement which builds to its massive climax with a total sense of inevitability that is never allowed to degenerate into brashness. The playing and singing could scarely be bettered and the recording is clear and uncongested in the best Walter Legge tradition.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 September 2009
This is the very first CD of Resurrection Symphony I bought years ago, recommended by a Penguin Guide review and it has served me as a touchstone recording against which other recordings were tested. And very few matched it ever since! The strength of Klemperer's reading lies in the way the conductor never loses overall perspective of the entire symphony, while achieving maximum impact in every climax and every crucial moment. Even moments of serene silence are perfectly judged in the context of the whole. As a result, there is a sense of inevitability in the way the music culminates in the massive final apotheosis that sounds all the more transcendent, not because of the volume of the sound, but because of all that went before, starting from the towring account of the first movement. Beautifully remastered with enhanced clarity.

If you'd like to know other great recordings of 2nd, following are the ones that match Klemperer's studio recording;

Klemper's live version (more broadly paced, yet very powerful & gripping account)Mahler: Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection"
Stokowski's Gigantic, apocalyptic, megalo-maniac Prom Live (surprisingly well recorded, )Mahler: Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection"
Bruno Walter's eloquent and monumental recording, coupled with the classic recording of 1st Mahler - Symphonies Nos 1 & 2
Haitink's uncompromisingly crafted account Gustav Mahler: Symphony No 02
Solti's two very powerful recordings 1.Mahler: Symphony No.22.Mahler: Symphony No.2 - "Resurrection"
Kubelik & Bertini's beaitifully crafted account MAHLER Symphonies 1-10 Rafael Kubelik &Mahler: Symphonies 1-10; Das Lied von der Erde [Box Set]
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on 3 April 2010
Gustav Mahler finished the N°2 Symphony in 1874 after seven years of interrupted work. The middle movements and choral finale required a narrative structure so he turned to texts from Des Knaben Wunderhorn for the vocal and choral movements, and named the Symphony 'Resurrection'. Seven years were required from Mahler -even working at the same time with other pieces- to be able to elaborate and complete the interpretation of song and symphony together , and the suspension between the rival claims of symphony and symphonic poem, both being complete innovations in music language.

The hero of the First Symphony (Titan) wonders on the nature of Death in a long funereal march entitled Todtenfeier - probably its own- while the finale is ultimately resolved in a triumphant celebration of Life. A "Resurrection" (the name of this second symphony) has taken place after a hard journey of the hero through the remembrances of his own life and his fight against his lack of faith. It includes a 4th movement ("Urlicht," primordial Light) a beautiful page for contralto and orchestra anticipating the symphonic Choral finale ("Auferstehung", Redention) in which the hero finds the expected answers and the road that will conduct him to Redention -

The overall tonal scheme of the work with its passage from C minor to E flat major reflects the death - resurrection journey. New and intense orchestral language is in fusion with other elements recognized through classical and romantic periods in the history of music as exclusive for vocal music. Final Judgement, Dies Irae, the Apocalipsis , trumpets, and finally, the Light. Bells, organs, a grandioso finale of Peace. This Symphony is extremely rich, potent and strong in its development: it is the work of a young and brilliant composer. This is a "great" symphony in every sense of the word.

We find here Otto Klemperer in his own media. This was his favorite between Mahler's Symphonies and the place where his temperamental German character, epic dramatic strength and intensity plus the permanent tension between the questions and answers on the theme about Death, could develop. From the power and fury of the funeral march, to the monumental joy of the finale, he manages to conduct this Symphony in a great climax .

But I cannot forget some concepts from Robin Golding :"No. It was too loud. It should sound very quietly from behind" was Mahler's opinion to Klemperer question, about his own rehearsal of this Symphony. After this problem was resolved, Mahler said "Very good" making Klemperer feel very proud.
Also "Otto Klemperer recording has granite-like strength and tremendous authority". Singers and Chorus are great values. . . it is obvious we are all making a very good choice when we select this record .
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Although rather heretical, I have to say that I find this recording less than wonderful and I do think that there are some more recent recordings that are perhaps a better investment than this venerable take. I will, no doubt, be either shot down in flames or have the various advantages of Klemperer's approach to this wonderful symphony pointed out to me in no uncertain terms!

I do own a copy of this recording, but don't play it very much nowadays as I find the whole approach rather foursquare and plodding. Sure, it has it's moments and it's hard to say that this is a bad recording; it's not, but other conductor/orchestra combinations have come along in the last near half century and have now overtaken this performance.

The other reviewers here are right in what they say, but Klemperer is just not for me anymore. Try Boulez Mahler: Symphony No.2 "Resurrection", which I think is pretty much at the top of the heap nowadays, or Gielen Mahler - Symphony 2 etc, for a fresher, faster, much better recorded Mahler 2.
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on 23 April 2016
Superb in every respect!
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on 30 December 2011
thanks to the vendor for this super CD. great music and a good deal of it for the money. Plus it was despatched promptly.
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on 20 April 2011
I TOTALLY agree with Mark Meldon's critique. Specifically:- the Philharmonia must have had a very "off day", in parts sounding decidedly raggy, even amateurish ; the low recording level leaves much to be desired (somewhat surprising for an EMI recording from this era) ; certain of Klemperer's tempi are awkward, contrived and totally unnecessary, bringing nothing whatsoever to the emotion of this magnificent work. When I then listen to Solti/CSO, it is like a breath of fresh air compared to this EMI offering, ( nota bene:- I am not a great fan of Solti, often accused of shallow histrionics, but here he certainly "brings the bacon home" ).
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