Our June 2009 CD release is a live recording of Mahler’s Symphony No 6 taken from a BBC Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 1983 conducted by Klaus Tennstedt.
The symphony is huge – 84 minutes – and intense, reaching a tragic conclusion in the finale, which Mahler said represents “the hero, on whom falls three blows of fate, the last of which fells him as a tree is felled.”
In a 1983 interview in Classical Music, Tennstedt said:
‘I consider the interpretation of Mahler the most complicated activity a conductor can indulge in. You have to know exactl y Mahler’s life, because he composed his life. It was a terrible life, especially his troubles in Vienna. He knew he was a great conductor, but he knew he only did it in order to get the money to allow him to compose in his spare time. “Why should he compose? Let him conduct!” the Viennese said. It was a very tragic life. But this tragic life gave us these great works.’
International Record Review’s critic said this is ‘a performance that must be one of the most terrifying ever heard’ and that ‘Tennstedt instinctively keeps the composer’s potential hyperbole under wraps until key moments but leaves no room for doubt when Pandora’s Box opens in the finale. Here, the devil really is in the detail. Only Karajan’s studio recording compares with Tennstedt’s introduction for its hallucinatory quality as a waking nightmare summoning the most ominous sense of pure evil.’
LPO-0038. £10.99. 2 CD Set