Levine’s Mahler

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C minor ‘Resurrection’
Historical performance on 19th August 1989

  • Kathleen Battle (soprano), Christa Ludwig (mezzo)
  • Performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor , conducted by James Levine

This recording was of great interest to me for several reasons:

1. I have always been a huge admirer of the voice of Kathleen Battle

2. Christa Ludwig performed a lot of Mahler’s work under the direction of Leonard Bernstein

3. James Levine is an amazing orchestral conductor, and I heard him do a performance of Mahler’s 3rd symphony that I will always remember.
James Levine left his mark not only on the operatic life of the Salzburg Festival, but also on its concerts, in particular its Mahler renaissance, culminating in the present performance of the ‘Resurrection’ Symphony, which is magnificently sung by chorus and soloists and superbly played by the Vienna Philharmonic.

Volker Boser wrote in the Münchner Abendzeitung on 21/8/1989:

“Christa Ludwig, Kathleen Battle and the Vienna State Opera Chorus had no difficulty in achieving the same high level as that by Levine and his orchestra, we were witness to a Mahler experience that will remain with us for a very long time.”

Here are some interesting comments from the singers who participate in the Mahler 2 performance:


And here’s Bernstein conducting Mahler’s 2nd (ending)


Tags: Mahler Symphony #2, James Levine, Battle, Ludwig, Vienna Philharmonic

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