It was to Bruno Walter that Mahler entrusted the score of his Ninth Symphony in the autumn of 1910, knowing that he himself would not live to conduct the premiere. Walter gave the premiere on June 26, 1912, in Vienna, and throughout his long career remained the work's greatest champion. He was 84 when he made this recording, and the reading he elicits from the Columbia Symphony is suffused with nostalgia, warmth, and deep sentiment. Here, a work of leave-taking is interpreted in the spirit of leave-taking, though the treatment is no less radiant and sincere for being somewhat detached.
You will probably be as incredulous as I was to learn that the greatest cycle of Mahler symphonies comes not from any of the usual suspects - Abbado, Bernstein, Chially, Haitink, Kubelik, Rattle, Sinopoli, Solti, Tennstedt - but from the unsung Gary Bertini, who spent the better part of his career as music director of the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra. Unlike any of those more publicized sets, each of which includes a misfire or two, Bertini is consistently successful from first to last; his performance of each of these works can stand comparison with the very best available.
So there's lots to admire here, and very little to criticize, but competition in these two works is so strong, and standards of both playing and interpretation are so high, that it's impossible to give this set an unqualified recommendation. That said, these are very enjoyable performances that never once fail to uphold the highest international standards of playing, and they are really superbly recorded. If you have a chance to hear them, you will doubtless be glad that you did.
The release of Mahler´s Symphonies Nos. 1 + 2 starts the release the complete Mahler cycle with Paavo Järvi and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra on DVD and Blu-ray. Each Symphony will have an introduction by Paavo Järvi.
This box set contains the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms, the later symphonies of Mozart, symphonies of Mahler and Bruckner, CDs with rehearsals and many more. The German born conductor Bruno Walter (1876-1962) was known primarily for his interpretations of the Viennese school. Though out of step with 20th century trends he was such a fine musician that he became a major figure - filling the wide gulf between the extremes of his day - Arturo Toscanini and Wilhelm Furtwängler.
It was as a supreme interpreter of the German Classical masterpieces, from Haydn to Richard Strauss, that concert audiences chiefly admired Otto Klemperer in the years between about 1951 and his retirement in 1972, the period to which most of his records belong. In Beethoven, particularly, he offered a granite-like orchestral sonority, and an objectivity in his balance of form and content, that contrasted refreshingly with the styles of such idolized conductors as Furtwangler, Bruno Walter, and even Toscanini. Under Klemperer the greatest Beethoven sounded more truthful and honest, and even more grand and inspiring.
For turning out reliable recordings of the standard repertoire, it's hard to beat Neeme Järvi and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra because their releases on BIS are always highly enjoyable, and they are dependable for accurate renditions that are genuinely exciting. The six-CD set of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's symphonies Nos. 1-6, the Serenade for strings, Romeo and Juliet, Capriccio Italien, Francesca da Rimini, and other less familiar orchestral works, is a bargain that shouldn't be missed, for the beginning classical fan has everything necessary to begin appreciating the Russian master, while connoisseurs will find unexpected surprises in the obscure selections.