I remember buying this as an L.P years ago. It was then (early 1970's) one of the very best Mahler discs around. But memory plays tricks, and would hearing it again on C.D. be as rewarding? You bet! It is a wonderful performance, where orchestra, conductor and engineers all came together to produce a classic. The L.S.O. is on superb form. The woodwind and brass sections in particular are special. Solti keeps the music moving, but is not as ruthless as he could be in some later Mahler recordings. The second movement Landler dances along, and the third, with its crazy clarinet interjections, is as bizarre as it should be. The finale is terrifically exciting, but relaxes where it should (wonderful string playing here).
The engineering is amazing for 1964; recorded in the Kingsway Hall, with John Culshaw producing, the sound is tangible in places, particularly the brass and percussion.
There are a number of fine Mahler 1's; but there are none better.
on 10 November 2012
I have quite a few versions of Mahler's First Symphony ( as do most Mahler afficianado's , I guess ) , but this one is right at the top of the pile , in my opinion , along with Kubelik/Bayern Rundfunks , and ahead of most others.
The sound is still good in absolute terms , and the performance is terrific . Lively and vibrant when needed , and refined and subtle also .
Solti has somewhat of a reputation as being a bit unsubtle at times ( totally unjustified from my point of view ), but this performance has everything . Certainly better than Bernstein's critically acclaimed efforts .
It certainly deserves the legends tag it is labeled with here .