Symphony No. 2, ‘Resurrection’
One of the most dramatic openings of any symphony – baleful scurryings from cellos and basses launching a work of extraordinary contrasts.
Bamberg Chorus & Symphony Orchestra/Jonathan Nott
Tudor 7158 (2 discs)
Symphony No. 6, ‘Tragic’
Lean and purposeful, ‘Tragic’ launches with an implacable march and ends with a finale punctuated with three hammer blows of ‘fate’.
San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas
San Francisco Symphony 821936-0001-2
Some of Mahler’s most sublime songs are included here, most particularly the twilight atmosphere of ‘Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen’.
Janet Baker; New Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli
EMI 566 9812
Symphony No. 9
Mahler’s last completed symphony seems to express the complex feelings of someone facing the end of their life, shot through with fear.
Signum SGCD 188
Das Lied von der Erde
A despairing yet blissful hymn to earthly life, these settings of ancient Chinese poems is one of Mahler’s most powerful song cycles for solo voices and orchestra.
Kathleen Ferrier, Julius Patzak; Vienna PO/Bruno Walter
Alto ALC 1120