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.
"Bernstein stamps his outsize personality on every bar and regularly has you convinced it is Mahler's own" (Gramophone). Filmed on tour at Berlin's Philharmonie, this account of the valedictory Ninth Symphony is an intense interpretation, expressing Bernstein's conviction that modern man had at last caught up with the message encoded in Mahler's last completed work. Having made his famous 1966 studio recording of "Das Lied vin der Erde" in Vienna, Bernstein re-recorded this in Israel with the same searing subjectivity. René Kollo draws on the voice of a great Wagner tenor, while Christa Ludwig, the greatest exponent of the contralto songs at the time, is unbearably poignant in the final movement's fusion of elation and sadness.
A host of accomplished conductors including Daniel Harding, Daniele Gatti, Bernard Haitink and Eliahu Inbal lead the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in these performances of Mahler's Symphonies Nos. 1-10. Recorded in Amsterdam over two seasons in 2010/11, the collection also includes 'Das Lied von der Erde'.
Karajan's way with Mahler is smoother, less anguished or conflicted than many critics like, but he isn't glib or glossy–this is excellent, insightful conducting. I can't imagine why DG doesn't have more faith in this recording or why critics haven't discovered it. It's not as though Karajan is a hidden talent. After collecting Das Lieds from Rattle, Bernstein, Horenstein, Tennstedt, Kubelik, Giulini, Salonen, Sinopoli and Walter–the list goes on–I sitll rank this version almost as high as the Klemperer. Certainly no one has done it better since. - from Amazon.com
Bernstein Collectors Edition & the Complete Mahler Cycle on DVD
Deutsche Grammophon remembers the legendary Leonard Bernstein
October 14, 2005 will mark the 15th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein's death. This lapse of time has only served to secure Bernstein's prominence as one of the most respected musicians of the 20th century and to affirm his reputation as a master conductor, composer, and teacher. Bernstein's sphere of influence extends past orchestral, operatic, and choral music to Broadway and beyond. His legacy is multiple, including that of a cogent writer, impassioned humanitarian, and engaging lecturer. In all of these capacities, Leonard Bernstein imparted his total enthusiasm for music and its importance in the life of every individual.