Most worthy and gratifying pre-stereo.
Jeffrey Lee | Asheville area, NC USA | 03/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's too bad that these performances by Mitropoulos and the Minneapolis Symphony didn't have the opportunity to be recorded in stereo, and with the kind of expertise exemplified by some of the great sound engineers that followed. One must take what one gets. And one thing you DON'T get is big hall ambience or much ambience at all. But, if you don't mind the dry acoustics--and I certainly didn't--you WILL still somehow get a sense of intimacy and almost palpable realism from the orchestral venue. At least, this is my feeling. At times, it's as if I'm listening to a live radio broadcast. Occasionally, noise effects are heard from musicians moving about the stage, and the sounds conveyed by the instruments are often incredibly life-like. But what about the performances ? Mitropoulos' Mahler First can be characterized as intense, exciting and lyrical. Especially noteworthy is the final movement, performed with great urgency and power. The entire effort is a splendid one. All involved seem to play their hearts out. Technical execution, however, is not of the highest order, but it is fine, and, once again, don't expect the kind of ravishing, big hall acoustics you get from more modern, stereo recordings. In the final analysis, and in spite of the dry sound, I find this a very rewarding musical experience....Otherwise, Mitropoulos delivers an absolutely spellbinding performance of Rachmaninoff's tone poem, Isle of the Dead."
If you can get past the sound...
bigcatfish | St. Louis, MO | 03/30/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"...this is a magnificent performance. In fact, it is the first recording of Mahler's "Titan"...made in 1940...and probably has more historical signifigance than artistic value being that everbody and their pet turtle has recorded this symphony. Excellent liner notes about Dmitri Mitropoulos and his tenure with the Minneapolis Symphony during the 1940's and about how Sony digitally "cleaned up" the original recording. Unfortunately, those with ears used to modern recording techniques might have problems getting past the "tinny" sound. However, if the low-tech recording dosen't bother you, Mitropoulos' passion for this piece come through loud and clear."
Delirious and dramatic Mahler 's First!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 11/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dimitri Mitropoulus conducted an extraordinary performance of this millenary Symphony, impregnating it with an exquisite decadent Viennese taste, visibly accented in the First Movement. The supreme virtuosity of this ensemble is worthy to remark, because in the thirties, was not ranked between the most distinguished ones. That is why the figure of Mitropoulus seems to enhance and even expand through the times. His artistic contribution was simply invaluable in the selected host of notable European personalities who arrived to USA in search of creative freedom and full development of his skills. This version is extraordinary idiomatic, rich in tints and loaded of this nostalgic mood that conjugates the vanished dreams of a lost childhood, the enrapture Vienna landscapes, the fatalism, anguish and desperation of this disturbed composer. There have been countless versions around the First but just a few, to be honest have achieved such grade of interpretative freshness, artistic conviction and loyal commitment like this one. Obviously, the personal condition of Dimitri, his inner demons to hide his homosexuality in those times, worked out as additional ingredient (emotional memory) to accent the oppressive and somber character of the Symphony. Mitropoulus portrayed with such elegance, lyric flight, delirious rapture and engaging flair the kaleidoscopic fates of this emblematic work.
I consider this performance remains between the most distinguished ones ever made to date. The others would be the other version of him conducting the New York Philharmonic, the two famous Horenstein `s reading, the reminded version of Bruno Walter with NYP, Kubelik 's Bavarian Symphony, Bernstein 's Vienna, and Maazel . You may name others too but after listening at least fifty different versions of new releases, something seems to have vanished, a certain spelling essential atmosphere that express that crucial point of transition, the breakthrough of the Post Romantic Tradition and the unavoidable fissure of the existential anguish. Many conductors simply do not want to think the untold spirit hidden beneath the bars and tend to confound the ontological loneliness, and religious fears with a gradual unhinging of the senses.
When you listen this historical recording and the fabulous redemption return in the Last Movement, you will understand with major intensity what I mean.
Don' t doubt it just for a second and buy this treasured CD