Deutsche Grammophon Releases Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Wunderlich and Fischer-Dieskau for the First Time on CD

Archival Recording Features Josef Krips Leading the Wiener Symphoniker in a Live Recording

2011 is a Mahler anniversary year celebrating the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death (May 18th). In honor, Deutsche Grammophon has uncovered a treasure from the archive: this live recording of a sold-out concert from the Vienna Festival given at the Musikverein on June 14, 1964. With incomparable soloists at the height of their individual powers, this was an unforgettable performance. Now released for the first time on CD, this faithfully restored recording presents a marvel of singing and orchestral playing and will be available in the US on May 24, 2011.

Josef Krips was an exceptionally gifted conductor and was recognized early for his innate ability with opera and singers. At the age of 24 he became Germany’s youngest general music director in Karlsruhe and had already led performances of Tristan und Isolde and Siegfried. Of course, Krips conducted much more than opera and, even as a child, had felt drawn to the music of Mahler. As soon as Krips began to conduct concerts he regularly programmed Mahler’s works, performing Das Lied von der Erde for the first time in Karlsruhe in 1928 and for the last time in Vienna in 1972. Among the other cities where he conducted it were London, Buffalo, New York and San Francisco, always with famous singers such as Anton Dermota, Richard Lewis, Jess Thomas, Kathleen Ferrier, Maureen Forrester and Dame Janet Baker. Yet, he conducted only one performance with a baritone soloist: this was the present performance with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

This performance took place during the 1964 Vienna Festival and was also the first time Krips worked with Wunderlich. The tenor and conductor would go on to work together at the Vienna State Opera in a number of Mozart’s operas and it was always an occasion of great joy and memorable performances. It was also a good time for Fischer-Dieskau who later recalled in a letter to Krips that this particular performance was his “…finest performance of Das Lied von der Erde”.

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