Hermann Scherchen conducting Gustav Mahler. What’s not to like? The Vienna State Opera Orchestra play on this great Westminster recording. I have always thought that my first Mahler 2nd was the Bruno Walter version, but I recall purchasing a single LP version of the second before that. Now, that is a lot of music to pack onto one LP, and the sound was atrocious to say the least. It was a great performance from what I could tell, but the sound was so bad that it hit the trash bin in lieu of the Walter cassette. I never could remember exactly who performed the work, but now that I listen to Scherchen’s version, I am sure this was it. Originally released on a 2 LP set, I am thinking that Westminster put out a budget line [or licensed it out to someone else] and they put in the whole thing on one LP. Not a good idea….
Regardless, this is a top notch performance. You may not be familiar with the name of the conductor, but he recorded a lot for the Westminster label, and at the time, they put out some great records. Recent CDs of the Mahler 2nd go for a lot of money, or it is in an expensive box set. However, our UK friends at Hallmark have released a download version. The sound is fine, and it is a bargain. Even if you have some other Mahler 2nd recordings, this is one to add to your collection. The beginning starts off at quite a quicker pace that most other recordings, but the energy is great, and it goes uphill from there. This is definitely sourced from an LP, but it is hardly noticeable except on the last track [but still not bad at all], and for the price difference a welcome alternative to the CDs.
Mahler Symphony No. 2 – Scherchen / Vienna State Opera Orchestra at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1lsUY8z