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on 28 August 2010
There is not a dud in this collection and most of these performances rank among the finest available. The booklet included in this set has information which at the time of writing was not readily available at EMI and retailing sites. The Booklet indicates the recording and production date of each recording (I assume an (*) followed by a more recent date indicates the remastered edition. I indicate the recording dates in brackets so that Seasoned Mahlerians may avoid duplication):

Disk 1

1-3 Das Klagende; Rattle, CBSO(1984)
4 Piano Quartet in A minor; Domus-Tomes[P],Osostowicz[v],Boulton[Vla],Lester[C](1988)

Disk 2

1-4 Lieder eines fahrenden..; Fisher-Dieskau,Philharmonia,Furtwangler (1952)*2001
5-8 Sym no.1 CSO,Giulini (1971)*2004

Disk 3

1-11 Sym No.2 Schwarzkopf,Rossl-Majdan,Philharmonic,Klemperer(1961-2)*2000

Disk 4

1-3 lieder: Im Lenz,Winterlied,Maitanz.;Bostridge[T]Pappino[P] (2010)
4-17 Lieder und Gesange; Ludwig,Karneus,Fassbaender,Coote,Fischer-Dieskau. Various piano (various*)
18 Sym No.3 Kraftig

Disk 5 {No.3 cont}
1-5 Remmert,CBSO,Rattle(1997)
6 Blumine; FRSO, Jarvi (2009)

Disk 6
1-4 Sym no.4 Price,LPO,Horenstein (1970)*1983

Disk 7
1-5 Sym no.5 LPO,Tennstendt (Live Royal Festival Hall London,1988)

Disk 8
1-5 Kindertenlieder; Ferrier,Walter (1949)*1998
6-10 Ruckert-Lieder; Baker,NPO,Barbirolli
11 Sym No.6 Allegro

Disk 9 {No.6 cont}

Disk 10
1-5 Sym No.7 CBSO,Rattle (1991)

Disk 11

1-12 "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" Schwarzkopf,Fisher-Dieskau,LSO,Szell(1968)2000*
13-18 Sym no.8

Disk 12 {Sym No.8 Cont}
1-12 Connell,Wiens,Schmidt etal LPO, Tennstedt(1986)

Disk 13
1-4 Sym No.9 BP, Barbirolli (1964)*2002

Disk 15

1-5 Sym No.10 BP,Rattle (1999)

Disk 16
1-5 Ruckert-lieder; Hampson[b],Rieger[p](1996)
6-12 Various versions of Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen.
13 Urlicht; Coote[m-s],Drake[p]

Shrewd and thrifty Mahlerites who possess many or all of these performances might well pass this by on the basis that the booklet suggests more recent remasters are available. For example Klemperer's Das Lie von der Erde is *1988 and subsequent EMI master's have been reviewed as superior. But I wonder? I have the latest master of Klemperer's Das Lie von der Erde and the CD from this set sounds identical - perfect to my ears! I rather fancy that EMI has thrown in the latest masters and not fully advertised this fact.
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on 13 June 2010
A great tribute!

Selections of this kind are always going to be open to question - but perhaps no other label could have put together such a superb collection of performances.

Surely there can be no question that Klemperer, Szell, Furtwangler, Walter, Ferrier (her voicing of the word 'Augen' in the second Kindertotenlieder will break your heart), Fischer-Dieskau, Janet Baker and Barbirolli are all peerless! I have lived with most of these recordings since they were first issued - the more I listen the more I love and respect them.

Horenstein, Tennstedt and Rattle may not, on these recordings, be quite in that exalted class but they are more than worthy of inclusion.

The box art-work is also perfect.

Congratulations to all concerned! Almost indispensable - unless you already have these discs, and even then the boxed set is very tempting in itself!
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on 27 July 2011
How can you grasp and describe so much music interpreted from so many angles?
The overall impact is almost overwhelming. You are given some of the best Mahler performers in their best performances. Just enjoy!
You get a young and superb Fischer-Dieskau in Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with - Furtwängler! This is the best DFD recoding of these songs, before he started his manierisms.
You get the best Klemperer recording of the second symphony - to me the ideal recording.
You get something different and VERY exciting with Giulini in the first symphony.
You get the wonderful Margaret Price together with the Mahler expert Horenstein in the fourth symphony.
You get the divine combination of Kathleen Ferrier and Bruno Walter in the Kindertotenlieder.

My only "not so happy" thoughts are the overrepresentation of Simon Rattle. I know that he is considered as one of the great Mahler conductors, but I'm not that convinced.
And maybe Barbirolli is not my first choice for the ninth, and definitely not for the sixth.

But on the whole - SUPERB box!
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on 24 February 2013
Has there ever been one cycle of these works that totally satisfied on all fronts? Maybe it's impossible for one conductor to excel in all of these pieces at once, I don't know. What I do know is that this box contains many of the finest performances of these works ever put on disc and once again, for the asking price, this represents amazing value.

Not being an expert on digital remastering techniques, there were many times when listening to ,say, the 2nd symphony or more especially, the incomparable account of the 9th with Barbirolli and the Berliner Philharmoniker, I was truly staggered by the results - the remastered symphonies sound as though they were recorded yesterday. The exception, perhaps, could be felt to be be Horensein's 4th - does it match the achievement of the old Szell, cleveland recording? Maybe not but it is a fine performance in its own right.

On a more controversial note, whilst the remastering, again, means that the Kindertotenlieder sound sonically amazing for their age, maybe I'm in a minority of one when I think that many of todays singers can sound better than Ferrier. I'm never quite sure about singers from the so-called "Golden Age".

Anyway, if you're looking for a Mahler box, don't hesitate. It's wonderful. One example, Sir Thomas Allens outstanding "Ich bin der Welt..."
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on 9 July 2015
I have listened to and dipped into a number of Mahler sets over the years and the job of even starting a comparison is too vast a task for me. So I hope you will allow me just to make a few comments which I hope will be useful.
Let us start with recording quality. I have seen one review which was unenthusiastic about the 1949 Ferrier/Walter Kindertotenlieder. In recording terms 1949 produced German radio recordings which, although mono, are as good as anything you will hear. 1949 also produced excrable acetate recordings which once a little worn are ear-splitting. An example of the latter is Ferrier's Rape of Lucretia. Thankfully this Kindertotenlieder is very easy on the ear and is for me a highlight of the set.
So recording quality is not an issue.
So you know where I am coming from my overall favourite Mahler symphony set is Bertini. But I grew up with many of the recordings in this complete Mahler, mainly on LP. The Bob O'Riley recordings were my main reason to buy and I did so as soon as I saw the price at £13.57. Bob's Mahler 6 really divided the critics and conventional it is not. Maybe even eccentric but coming back to it after all those years I was as thrilled as when I first heard it. Number 9 is uncontroversially superb.
All the song recordings are worth hearing and many have attained classic status. The Klemperer recordings are among his finest.
Texts and translations are on disc 16 in PDF format.
To get this post free I also bought the Annie Fischer Icon box at £10. More recordings I fist heard on LP making a very welcome return to my library. The Schumann is worth more than the price of the whole set. Annie made all too few recordings so this set is one to treasure.
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on 11 March 2012
As someone who has listened to the most popular Mahler works it was with a true sense of expectation as I ventured to tackle the entire output of this composer. The performances spread across 6 decades and include some magical performances both vocal and orchestral. I am sure the purists will champion other specific reditions of particular symphonies but the ones chosen for this set are truely great examples and provide a real sense of the musical and emotional development contained within Mahler's music. The vocal performances are epic and whilst a novice listener might be concerned over some of the dates of recording voices like Dictrich Fischer-Dieskau, Kathleen Ferrier and Janet Baker should not be missed. As a whole the choices do mean that the tonal quality changes and perhaps there is a mixed sense of interpretation however, the whole is much greater than the sum of it's parts. This collection is excellent on so many levels and I would recommend it to anyone.
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on 21 April 2012
This is amazing value for money. It is almost embarrassing to be able to buy the complete works of a composer for such a small price. The symphonic works are excellent but I was slightly disappointed that one of my favourite song cycles the Kindertotenlieder was an historic recording dating back to 1949 by Kathleen Ferrier - great singer but recording quality not great.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 August 2011
For thirty pounds, this vast collection of Mahler on sixteen CDs is an essential for the Mahler enthusiasts; obviously, with such a large collection of old and new recordings, there is a range of quality but none is poor and a brief look down the product details should be enough to indicate what a quality, value-for-money this collection is - Rattle, Fassbaender, Barenboim, Barbirolli, Szell, Klemmperer and so on, a list of the best orchestras and conductors in what, for many, was the golden period of recording.

All this for less than two pounds per disc; of course, with a compilation of this nature, some duplication is likely for those with an already growing list, so check the details carefully and the previous reviewer careful enough to make a helpful list.
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on 14 June 2013
I remember buying budget LPs in the 60s (as a schoolboy that was all I could afford). Decca Ace of Clubs at 19/6d was my limit. Given an LP was typically 45 minutes, and a CD is 60-70 minutes this box set of 16 cds equates to over 20 lps which for the download version at £12.50 comes out at about 13/-. Allow for 50 years' inflation and the bargain is amazing. Of course that's a shallow basis for any judgement, but it makes the quality of these performances and recordings stand out even more. I haven't had the chance to play all 16+ hours yet, but I love the Ferrier sound on Kindertotenlieder. I've had the Janet Baker recording for years, but find her style mannered and contrived in comparison.

I have one complaint, but I think it's not a failing of this box set: when it gets imported into windows media player it apperars as one huge album, with the tracks seemingly in random order. I had to spend some time tagging and creating playlists, if I wanted for example to be able to play one of the symphonies with movements in the correct order, and not just every track starting with a 1. I suspect if I imported into itunes it would file things more intelligently, or maybe I just have to learn more about wmp settings!
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on 31 May 2013
I have had my eye on this collection for some time, and I have regularly poured over it in the "saved for later" section of my Amazon basket. I already have the 2nd and 6th Symphonies a la Rattle, and while they are not on my regular playlist, I wanted to explore Mahler's other compositions. While no one could argue with an asking price of less than £25 for a life's work in a box, I was swayed by the prospect of downloading the entire collection in MP3 format for less than half of that, and sealed with the carrot of £2 free MP3 credit dangled in front of me. As someone who has spent considerable time ripping his entire CD collection to lossless digital format, and who has never really purchased music to download before, I hit the purchase button and waited for the files to swell my hard drive. I regret my decision. While the music is undoubtedly fantastic as others have commented, the MP3 quality just isn't up to scratch. It sounds flat and lifeless in comparison to the very lively and engaging recordings I have on CD and flac files. I don't think the complexity of the music stands up well to being electronically compressed. I would not dispute the quality of the collection as a whole - buy it - just not in MP3 format. I still pour over the box set in my "saved for later" basket - but now with a greater sense of urgency to get the CD box set Gustav Mahler: Complete Works [150th Anniversary]to do the recordings justice.
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