To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Otto Klemperer's death, EMI Classics pays tribute to the incomparable conductor with the release of an extensive edition of 11 luxurious yet affordably-priced boxsets. Three new sets devoted to Mahler, Bach, Rameau, Handel, Gluck & Haydn and 20th Century Music are coming out this May. Otto Klemperer had a remarkable career as a young man but it was at the age of 70 that he started a series of recordings that would not only establish him as an internationally renowned conductor but provide EMI with a catalogue of recordings that became and remain touchstones.
Gustav Mahler's works are full of abrupt changes of mood. His influence on his successors was enormous and numerous composers Zemlinsky, Schönberg, Berg, Webern, Shostakovitch, Britten and Copland are just a few to acknowledge their debt. His influence also spread to the world of popular music. Paul McCartney wrote "I have always adored Mahler, and Mahler was a major influence on the music of The Beatles. John and me used to sit and do the Kindertotenlieder and Wunderhorn for hours, we'd take turns singing and playing the piano. We thought Mahler was great."
This 6-CD collection records Mahler's most remarkable works. Otto Klemperer regarded Mahler as his the best he ever saw and although eternally grateful that he recorded the works contained in this collection it is sad that he never committed so many more to disc. Whilst all of them demand attention it is those of the "Resurrection" Symphony (No. 2), Symphony No, 9 and Das Lied von der Erde in particular that have always been ranked as of the highest rank and in their latest remasterings literally defy their age.