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As a collector of as many different recordings of Mahler’s music as I can find I was very excited to see this version of Das Lied von der Erde. These newly remastered versions are a welcome addition to anyone’s collection.
Title: Mahler Das Lied von der Erde (Live Recording)
Wagner Overtures & Preludes
Artist(s): Mahler - Jascha Horenstein conducts the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra Live Recording Birgit Finnilä - Contralto • James King - Tenor
Wagner - Heinrich Hollreiser conducts the Bamberg Symphony
Recording Info: Mahler Recorded 11-21-68 Engineer: Robert von Bahr
Wagner Released by Tandberg SMS Tapes 1959
Remastered from analog tape
Special thanks to John Haley of Harmony Restorations for additional Digital Mastering & Restoration
For both the Horenstein live recording of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde and the Hollreiser Wagner Preludes, initially, the recordings were carefully put on pitch. For the live recording, many instances of the audience and stage noise having nothing to do with the music (audience coughing, the unwrapping of candy wrappers, chair squeaks, etc., and on stage, noisy page-turning, a bang from an item being dropped to the stage, etc., plus myriad miscellaneous clicks, clacks, thumps, and bumps) were removed as much as possible, instance by instance, always exercising the greatest care not to compromise the music itself in any way. Further, a number of tape dropouts were repaired, imperceptibly. The recording itself is beautifully clear, perfectly capturing (in addition to the above-mentioned noises) the exquisite, tonally luscious playing that Horenstein elicited from the orchestra, in a glowing interpretation that fully supports his reputation today as one of our greatest Mahler conductors on record. The one small liability in this otherwise well balanced live recording is that the two soloists are caught from a slightly distant perspective--a commercial recording would certainly have mic'ed them closer up. Except for this fact, the sound quality of this live recording could easily be mistaken for an excellent commercial recording. Nevertheless, the soloists in this "symphony of songs" are always fully audible, captured in much the same perspective in which the audience would have heard them in the hall. Especially treasurable is Swedish contralto Birgit Finnilä 's delicate but always audible soft singing of the greatest tenderness, and American tenor James King is caught in fine form, delivering a vigorous but also expressive performance under Horenstein's leadership, which brought out the best in both of these fine soloists. One is also struck by the exotic color added by the mandolin in the final movement, as caught with such clarity in this live recording. We believe that this splendid live performance easily belongs to the handful of greatest recorded performances of this rather frequently recorded work, attesting to Horenstein's rightful place among the great Mahler conductors who made classic recordings of it, alongside the likes of Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer, and Leonard Bernstein.
The four Wagner Preludes here were sourced from a stereo tape released by Tandberg/SDS, incorrectly labeled as being a recording of the Bamberg Symphony conducted by Jascha Horenstein. However, the correct attribution of these fine stereo recordings is to that orchestra conducted by German conductor Heinrich Hollreiser, recorded in 1959. We are grateful to Misha Horenstein for bringing this correct information to our attention. In restoring these items, great care has been taken to preserve the freshness and spaciousness of the original sound. A slight but muddying peak resonance was evened out in the mid-bass and a small boost was made on the very bottom end, opening up a somewhat cramped feeling at climaxes to a much more natural sounding state, the goal always being to get back as close as possible to what occurred at the recording session. The wide dynamic range heard here is original.
Notes by John Haley - Harmony Restorations
Copyright © & ℗ High Definition Tape Transfers 2020, including all compilation, transfer, remastering and restoration aspects
1 Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde 8:42
2 Der Einsame im Herbst 9:29
3 Von der Jugend 3:10
4 Von der Schönheit 7:23
5 Der Trunkene im Frühling 4:36
6 Der Abschied 28:43
7 Lohengrin Prelude to Act I 8:39
8 Lohengrin Prelude to Act III 2:59
9 Die Meistersinger Overture 8:36
10 Tristan und Isolde Prelude 10:43