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Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, September 2012

I wonder how many readers recall Klaus Tennstedt’s early years in the U.S.…how exciting they were, how he upset the balance of acknowledged great conductors, the brilliance of his interpretations, his wonderful imagination in phrasing and accents. He was like no one else then performing; even a critic with as narrow tastes as B. H. Haggin came under his spell.

This DVD returns us to those wonderful days of yesteryear.

…it’s so wonderful to see Tennstedt on the podium again.

Tennstedt’s Mahler Fourth is completely typical of his style: Incorporating a great many contrasts, not only of dynamics but also of phrasing, he begins the symphony with a languorous tempo and a rallentando in the upward portamento string passage, then suddenly increases the tempo when the clarinets enter. The rest of the movement is played in much the same unexpected way, with that wonderful undercurrent of intensity that only Tennstedt could bring to bear on Mahler in his time…

But there is nothing perfunctory about this performance. Like so many Tennstedt concerts of this period it takes wing and flies—levitates at times—and there was no one who could touch him when he was “on,” not in Mahler, not in Beethoven, not even in Mozart.

If you are a fan of Tennstedt, you cannot be without this DVD. If you want to see and hear what was so wonderful about Tennstedt, this is also the place to start. This man, like a handful of conductors before him, was one in a thousand. We shall not see his like again. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

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