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This disc was a demonstration recording by Decca in 1975 and I can well recall its impact on a pair of LPs given the replay equipment I owned at that time. The new remastering using 24 bit technology is very successful and is a vivid reminder of that impact, especially given the considerable improvement in the quality of the replay equipment now used.

Apart from the quality of the actual recording, there are other key factors that individually add immensely to the enjoyment of this disc and accumulatively they make for an exciting and rewarding emotional and musical experience.

One key factor is the excellence of the orchestral response of the VPO which individually and collectively simply offer a magnificent body of sound absolutely perfectly suited to Mahler's personal vision. They, in turn, are supported by the very professional singing of the Vienna State Opera choir which rises to every demand that Mahler and Mehta make during the extended last movement. Finally there are the outstanding contributions of the two soloists, Christa Ludwig and Ileana Cotrubas. Christa Ludwig in particular gives a glowing and unforced performance of the fourth movement.

Mehta himself delivers a reading that is arresting from the start and builds steadily and unfalteringly to one of the most compelling finales yet recorded on CD. This is a young man's reading and is full of forward momentum and drive. That is why the conclusion works so well. Others, such as the respected and much admired Klemperer reading offer different experiences resulting from a longer maturation period. However, it is worth reminding oneself that this was an early Mahler symphony and its blazing commitment is that of a young man. It is therefore completely acceptable and appropriate that Mehta's passionately youthful reading should receive so much praise.

Other more recent readings and recordings of considerable note should be mentioned and include the Blu-ray/DVD discs of Abbado's and Chailly's readings. These are both superb in their different ways and offer even better sound in surround format plus the obvious advantage of visual impact which is a real bonus in such a spectacular work of spectacle. Those two discs can also be played without the visuals but with the full sonic experience. They cost much more than this excellent remastered CD though.

I would therefore suggest that Mehta's disc offers a reading and recording of such stature that it deserves to be seriously considered as an essential part of any collector's library.
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This is a well known performance that has received more general acclaim than most Zubin Mehta recordings. I have heard a number of other performances and only recently listened to this one recently.

What can I say? This has been for me the most satisfying recording of this work that I have ever heard.

The orchestral playing from the Vienna Philharmonic is awesome, every section makes a gorgeous sound. The Vienna State Opera Chorus sing beautifully, a lovely unified choral sonority. The vocal soloists, Ileana Cotrubas and Christa Ludwig make lovely sounds - no complaints. The recording quality is also fantastic.

Zubin Mehta makes a great feast from this wonderful box of ingredients. There is a real intensity urging the listener on in this music and the great scale of the music is fully realised. Furthermore, Mehta realises the moments of repose and those tingle moments. He really does tick more of the boxes than any conductor I have ever heard in this piece.

Highly recommended.
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It's good to have this work on one disc, yet surprisingly Klemperer manages the same in both his celebrated studio and live recordings. The Wiener Philharmoniker and Staatsopernchor are in their finest form and Mehta is in his first youthful blaze of glory and promise before he settled down to celebrity, pedestrian interpretations and more sclerotic tempi.

So why "only" four stars? Well if you scan previous reviews, you will note that quite a few mention two things with which I am in agreement: first, the sound, while more than adequately remastered, is not as immediate and full as later, digital versions; secondly, although many rightly praise the magnificence of Mehta's finale, the correct inference from the omission of much comment on the first two movements is that while they are impressive, others surpass them. Both Klemperer and Tennstedt achieve more grandeur in the Allegro maestoso and I find more charm, variety, whimsy and underlying tension in several other versions of the famously "incongruous" Andante moderato. Bernstein, too, achieves both more "Innigkeit" and drama than Mehta, but as another commentator observes, Mehta's interpretation "builds and builds", and I can imagine wanting this disc for that stupendous last movement alone. He has very fine soloists in Cotrubas and Ludwig, although this music seems to bring out the best in so many singers and nobody surpasses Janet Baker, who owns the part, singing beautifully in recordings for Klemperer, Bernstein and Rattle.

We are spoiled for choice in recorded versions of the "Resurrection", hence while I understand its fame I would prefer several others over this Decca legends issue, starting with Klemperer, but it is still a thoroughly satisfying interpretation -especially that thrilling last movement.
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on 4 December 2015
I have heard the Vienna Phil live only once and that was many many years ago. Mehta was conducting. Webern, a Mozart concerto with Barenboim and Brahms 2. The sound of the orchestra in the Grosses Musikverein just bowled me over. A very young Mehta was vigorous and incisive. So when I spotted this on Amazon marketplace for a few pennies I could not resist.
I have quite a few recordings of this work but it has never been a favourite so I am certainly not going to start making comparisons. Purely on its own terms this did quite a lot towards converting me to liking this rather long-winded and meandering piece. For one thing the VPO and Mehta are on the sort of form I remember from Salzburg. Second you have two of my favourite singers in splendid voice. Third (and I can only rely on the sound equipment I have which currently is a pair of Heybrook BBC monitors and a REL subwoofer driven by a powerful Quad amp) the recording is spacious with immense dynamic range. As others have said the finale blows you away. I really do feel guilty at getting such quality for so few shekels.
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on 12 March 2016
Legendary, indeed. I'm always moved by the last pages of Mahler 2 but this reduced me to a wreck. Very different is Tennstedt live with the LPO, perhaps a touch more ponderous and 'spiritual' - and another excellent one I have is Abbado, Chicago 1976, which I think even better than his more famous Chicago M7 of 1984.
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on 17 October 2007
hard to believe one of the reviews complaining re the sound...listen to the cellos at start of 2nd movement, and the timps, and the horns, trumpets and trombones...simply great stuff....i prefer the original decca double with this recording and schmidt 4, also by mehta, a great symphony

i think the decca double original cd transfer is warmer, fruitier and more impactive than the new legends transfer

i have had this mahler 2 since LP and tape now cd, and it is MAGNIFICENT... the endIng is earth shattering as it should be

if u buy this and dont like it, i will refund your money (perhaps!!)

gezza
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on 2 June 2016
This is still my favourite recording of this great work. The recording is magnificent and the performance perfect, in my view the best thing Zubin Mehta has ever done. Only the LPO/Jurowski recording comes close.
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on 19 October 2010
I used to have this recording on vinyl disc - I remember it got terrific reviews and I rushed out to buy it. Having let go of my vinyl collection years ago, I have lived with the Rattle recording on CD since then (even though I hate his rather pretentious take on the last moments of the first movement). Then I looked to see if the Mehta was available on CD and there it was! Sensational sound still, wonderful playing and singing from the soloists and chorus and a really stunning interpretation by Mehta (who is not usually one of my favourites!). Simply wonderful.
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on 28 April 2016
I cannot claim to have an educated ear but the quality of this recording, for me shines through, It is simply wonderfully enjoyable.
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on 10 November 2012
For some reason that I still can't understand , this is generally regarded very highly .
My own preference is for other versions such as ;

Solti/LSO and Solti/CSO , Fischer/BFO , Nott/Bamberger and Kubelik/Bayern Rundfunks.
The Fischer and Nott , particularly , have exquisite sound and an even better performance , in my opinion .
Solti's versions were terrific , and Kubelik was probably the most consistent.
Abbado with his earlier cycle was also top-notch .
I like this version , but would not rate it as much as the others listed above.
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