This 16-disc set contains what is without a doubt the most distinguished collection of Mahler performances ever to have been assembled in one place. DG has sensibly collected all of Bernstein's Mahler for Polygram labels, including the London "Das Lied von der Erde," and all of the orchestral song cycles: "Song of a Wayfarer," "Kindertotenlieder," "Rückert-Lieder," and "Des Knaben Wunderhorn." All of these recordings have been issued separately to general critical acclaim, and despite a veritable warehouse of new Mahler discs in the '90s, Bernstein's versions by and large still reign supreme.
Mariss Jansons’s international reputation as a Mahler conductor is indisputable. During his tenure as chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Jansons did not record a full cycle of Mahler symphonies. With this new 2016 recording that project is now nearing completion. Mahler himself led the Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Dutch premiere of the Seventh in October 1909. How must the audience in the Main Hall have reacted to this whimsical work with its night-time atmosphere and eerie sounds? Although this vast symphony, featuring a number of unconventional instruments like the mandolin and guitar, did not catch on right away, it would slowly but surely win the hearts of music lovers everywhere.
Led by Lorin Maazel, the Philharmonia Orchestra are captured at their very best in these live performances of Mahler's Nine Symphonies. Recorded in concert at London's Royal Festival Hall, the symphonies include performances by soloists and ensembles including Sarah Connolly, Michelle Deyoung, Philharmonia Voices and the BBC Symphony Chorus. Praise for these performances has been near universal…'You get that audience perspective as if you were sitting in the hall, and its got all the energy and focus of a live or concert recording.' (BBC Radio 3) '…Maazel could sustain this score in a way that seemed to transcend reality…a tremendously moving experience.' (Classical Source) 'an extraordinary reading of the Ninth…a performance touched by greatness.' (Musicweb International).
By nature shy and retiring, Klaus Tennstedt was a reluctant celebrity, and his international career in the last quarter of the twentieth century must have seemed utterly incredible to him. Yet as introverted and introspective as Tennstedt was, it doesn't seem at all obvious in this 1983 concert recording of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 6 in A minor, "Tragic," for this is one of the conductor's most extroverted, aggressive, and potent performances.