Erich Leinsdorf / Boston Symphony Orchestra

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Leinsdorf’s recordings of Mahler’s symphonies on RCA Victor became benchmarks for both sound and performance quality. Intense, warm and expressive, this rendition of Mahler’s First Symphony is a deeply personal account, whilst Till Eulenspiegel – a party piece during Leinsdorf’s tenure – is performed with great precision and finesse by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The ICA Classics Legacy series represents an historic account of performances by some of the world’s greatest artists. This DVD features some of the earliest televised concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and their Music Director, Erich Leinsdorf. While the material has been restored using the greatest care and state-of-the-art techniques, certain visual artefacts and distortions remain in some instances due to the age of the film. Despite this, it remains of exceptional musical interest and historic value and is released here for the first time on DVD.

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Erich Leinsdorf’s seven season stint as the twelfth music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1962- 1969) was only one chapter in a long and distinguished career that spanned nearly six decades.

With the Boston Symphony Orchestra he performed five Mahler’s symphonies (Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6) and recorded all but the Fourth for RCA in versions that became touchstones for superior recorded sound.

Leinsdorf brought impressive credentials and a wealth of experience to this music. He was born in Mahler’s city, Vienna, just over eight months after the composer’s death, and early in his career served as assistant to Mahler’s own assistant and protégé, Bruno Walter. Mahler’s idiomatic sound world and rhythmic world, urban and rustic, dancing and marching, were in Leinsdorf’s ears since childhood.

Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel was a parade piece for The Boston Symphony Orchestra and its music director during the Leinsdorf years. He conducted it in three seasons and on two American tours. And while Leinsdorf often does not seem to be enjoying himself, especially when he is on camera, in this film, he surely does.


Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 1 in D Major, “Titan”
1. Langsam. Schleppend. Wie ein Naturlaut
2. Kräftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell
3. Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen
4. Stürmisch bewegt
Richard Strauss, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks), Op. 28

Production date: 2011
Duration: 1 h 08 min
Production: © Boston Symphony Orchestra & WGBH Educational Foundation under exclusive licence to International Classical Artists Ltd

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