3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A swift, youthful account with a tremendous climax,
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No.2 (Audio CD)
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.