To celebrate Zubin Mehta’s 80th birthday, Decca (Universal Music) proudly presents iconic Zubin Mehta albums in cooperation with The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Pro-Ject Audio Systems. A must-have for music fans of the analogue era back on heavy-weight vinyl. Presented with original artwork, this recording has been carefully mastered from the original Decca analogue tapes at Abbey Road Studios.
This is probably Mehta’s finest Mahler album ever. The first movement is very dramatic. Mehta opens with a very tense, brisk tempo. Mehta never rushes, but never drags. The timpani is very well-defined, however not overpowering, throughout the movement, as well as throughout the entire disc. The Andante is played very well. The phrasing is wonderful. The Scherzo starts out the best I have ever heard. Two crisp, crystal clear Timpani strikes. Then the next 2 are softer, then the next 2 are even softer, which gives it an amazing affect.
Then to the Urlicht. Mehta’s slower tempo just adds to the heartbreaking beauty. Add to that the gorgeous singing of Ileana Contrubas and you have got a winning combonation. To the massive finale where Mehta really triumphs. The tempi are perfect. Mehta builds the climaxes perfectly, never dragging. The brass play superbly! I heard some of the lower brass instruments in this movement that I didn’t even hear before in my other recordings. Very impressive. When the chorus enters, just listen to the bass singers! Spectacular. The entire chorus sounds heaven-sent. Contrubas and Ludwig sing crystal clear and beautifully. The organ is heard very clearly. The combonation of perfect tempi, magnificent signing and ultra-vituostic playing make the finale one of the most moving pieces of music you will ever hear.
This recording has everything you could possibly ask for. Mehta’s perfect tempi, great signing by Contrubas, Ludwig, and the Vienna Staatsopernchor. The Vienna Philharmonic, particularly the brass, play just like the virtuostic ensemble that they are. Go and get it ASAP.