I had a revelation on first hearing this recorded performance of Mahler's Seventh Symphony conducted by Otto Klemperer. It certainly differed from the headlong and frenetic Leonard Bernstein recording. With so many critics then hailing the Bernstein as definitive, how could this antithetic 100-minute marathon be valid, with its tempi being so seemingly glacial? Well, tempi aren't everything; the music that the performance conveys, is. Not halfway through the first movement, the realization that Klemperer had heard so much more in Mahler's writing than had anyone else, and was making ME hear those same things, more so than in any other performance committed to records, struck me and shocked me. Mind you, this is the movement where Klemperer is "accused" of handling matters most differently from the "norm" that so many had accepted.
I should not have been surprised, for Klemperer often offers insights into familiar pieces such as Beethoven's Eroica Symphony that are lacking in performances by other conductors. Give it a careful listen. You'll hear and revel in the music like you never have done before. That's if you can FIND the recording, that is. Long out of print from EMI, this has become a cultist item of sorts, with asking prices for used copies and online auction prices in the hundreds of dollars. You MIGHT just have to settle for a secondhand LP copy!--En.N.