I have already reviewed Klemperer's EMI studio version and explained why I find it a remarkable and complete recording ahead of Kubelik, Walter and Rattle. But I've made much of the fact that I think this work needs to be heard in a "live" recording to get the extra edge, drama and sense of occasion to make it extra-special. This was a signature work for Klemperer and there are at least five "live" recordings of him conducting it extant, four of them available commercially. By far the best of these is from Munich in 1965, available for years on Arkadia in an unofficial "aircheck", but which was then acquired by EMI (CDM 566867-2) who remastered the original tape. Essentially it's the same interpretation as theRead more studio version and all my remarks regarding that can be addressed to this showing how consistent Klemperer was. But there is also, crucially, the frisson of a "live" performance that I think so important and which lifts this recording to another level entirely. If you have the studio version already you can rest assured you still have the best Klemperer interpretation in a work of which he was perhaps the greatest of all exponents. The studio version is perhaps better recorded too (the Grosse Appell fanfares in the least movement, for example, are better placed) and it's better played with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra a little short of the Philharmonia in glory days. But there's a significant depth and sense of occasion to the "live" version that should not be missed and if you were going to buy your first ever Mahler Second, or your first ever Klemperer Mahler Second, I would say go for the one from Munich. It also boasts Heather Harper and Janet Baker as soloists, both in great voice albeit rather too forward in the balance. I should also point out a "live" recording from 1951 with Klemperer conducing the Concertgebouw Orchestra in their own hall. The major incentive for this is the presence of Kathleen Ferrier and the sound of her in the fourth movement once heard is never forgotten. The performance is, again, broadly the same as the other two mentioned. However, confirming the impression that Klemperer's tempi became slower the older he became, this one is swifter than the 1960s recordings. The playing is idiomatic but tends to thinness, accentuated by the primitive sound produced from Dutch Radio transcription discs making it a version for the serious collector of multi versions, I think. Fortunately, we have Klemperer "live" in Munich on EMI and that remains the version of the symphony I like best of all.
Symphony no 2 in C minor "Resurrection"by Gustav Mahler Performer:
Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano),
Heather Harper (Soprano)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,
Bavarian Radio Chorus
Period: Romantic Written: 1888/1896; Germany Date of Recording: 01/29/1965 Venue: Live Hercules Hall, Munich, Germany Length: 79 Minutes 43 Secs. Language: German