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Otto Klemperer’s recording of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony is possibly one of his most opinion-splitting recordings, taking this monumental work at an often glacial pace. However, as with every Klemperer recording, it’s well worth hearing at least once, and there’s much to enjoy here. This superb transfer makes listening to Klemperer’s take on Mahler 7 a real pleasure, and I highly recommend it.
Klemperer's controversial Mahler 7 has never sounded better than in HDTT's magnificent transfer from a 15 ips EMI tape. I say that confidently because I own all the EMI commercial CD issues of this performance, including a fine Japanese EMI High Definition version. Once again, HDTT scores over the competition with sound that is both warm and natural sounding, plus finely detailed. As for the interpretation, Klemperer's tempos are undoubtedly slow but they all 'work' together to yield a provocative view of Mahler's most forward-looking symphony. Plus, the three middle movements are just stunningly beautiful as Klemperer and his orchestra present them. (Also there's this: Klemperer was one of three young assistants who helped Mahler prepare the world premiere performance of this symphony in Prague and he was the only Mahler acolyte to record the symphony. Klemperer never claimed any special authority for his recording, but the fact remains that he had a special relationship to the piece that other couldn't claim.) All controversy aside, real Mahler lovers should own this recording, although first-time listeners probably are better advised to begin with HDTT's alternative version by Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic.
It's no secret that Klemperer's performances grew slower as he aged and this is no exception. That said, there are places where the tempi are consistent with other conductors, AND: you will hear details that are completely missing in other performances. I don't think I would want this to be my only performance of this work, but it is a valuable addition to the collection of any Mahler lover.
This is another outstanding achievement of HDTT - glorious analog sound, characterful interpretation.
Title: Mahler Symphony No 7 "Song of the Night"
Artist(s): Otto Klemperer conducts the New Philharmonia Orchestra
Recording Info: Transferred from a 15ips 2-track tape
Engineer – Robert Gooch Producer – Peter Andry
Recorded by EMI September 1968, The Kingsway Hall, London.
1 Adagio - Allegro Risoluto Ma Non Troppo 27:52
2 Nachtmusik: Allegro Moderato 22:12
3 Scherzo 10:29
4 Nachtmusik: Andante Amoroso 15:48
5 Rondo-Finale 24:15
Total Time: 1:40:36