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Mitropoulos Mahler 3 CD wins prestigious Toblacher Komponierhäuschen Award

25/Jul/2011

  • Mitropoulos Mahler 3 CD wins prestigious Toblacher Komponierhäuschen Award

The ICA Classics CD featuring Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting the Kolner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester in a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No.3 has been awarded the Toblacher Komponierhäuschen international record prize for 2011 in the ‘republishing’ category.

The Toblach Jury said the following:

"Some poor quality pirated recordings of Dmitri Mitropoulos’s legendary final Mahler concert in Cologne, performed two days before he died, have circulated before but WDR have now made the excellent original tapes available for the first time to the new English collectors label ICA Classics, and the results exceed all expectations.

Those used to Mahler’s monumental symphony in stereo performances by conductors such as Haitink, Horenstein or Solti will be astonished at the airy transparency and unbelievable wealth of detail captured from this massive instrumental colossus by the WDR engineers, and obviously by Mitropoulos too, in 1960 mono sound: by contrast many of the very latest digital recordings of the work sound washed out and pumped up.  Yet here, from the very first bar right through its ninety breathtaking minutes, Mitropoulos’s fantastic expressive power takes you into another world, a quality described by Michael Schwalb in his programme notes as the decisive factor in his particular magic, which nowadays makes him seem almost like some exotic being from a bygone age.  For almost all the star Mahler conductors of today seem by contrast to be mere technocrats.  Schwalb writes further: “Mitropoulos takes Mahler at face value, he relies totally on the integrity of those great architectural spans, which is why the narrative force of his broad tempi seems so captivating and so well-balanced.  But he also conveys all of Mahler’s tortured soul and dark gazes into the abyss”.  The Third Symphony has been recorded many times but there is no comparable interpretation with this degree of dramatic force, of such narrative power, of such heart-rending intensity.  The fact that Mitropoulos suffered a heart attack during the performance and only had two more days to live makes this last document of his artistry all the more valuable and shattering."

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