C0987. DIMITRI MITROPOULOS Cond. Kölner Rundfunks S.O.: La Mer (Debussy), Live Performance, 24 Oct., 1976; w.Lucretia West: Symphony #3 in d (Mahler), Live Performance, 31 Oct., 1960; Mitropoulos addresses Kölner Rundfunks S.O. (Germany) 2-ICA ICAC 5021. - 5060244550216
“Mitropoulos is more of a known quality in this music. This uncut performance from one of his last concerts before his fatal heart attack is with the same forces that he used for his outstanding Mahler 6, so hopes were high. By and large, they were not disappointed. This in most ways replaces and improves on the [earlier] New York performance. In some ways, the first part of the symphony, up to the finale, seems a little lower-key than in New York, but that could be for a number of reasons. The most likely one is that the dynamic range of the recording was somewhat compressed. Another possible explanation is that Mitropoulos was pacing his forces and himself for a long stretch and letting the intensity build. The third is that, as reported in the liner notes, Mitropoulos, who had already had a series of heart attacks, had another one during the performance of the first movement. He was able to complete that movement and, in the intermission that followed, was advised by a doctor to go to a hospital. He refused and finished the concert. Two days later in Milan he had the heart attack that killed him. In any event, this is still an outstanding Mahler 3. Mitropoulos is faster than Adler in the two big outer movements and much more of an interventionist. He will make minor tempo adjustments and bring out voices and colors much more than Adler will. The contrast is greatest in the finale, precisely in the spot where I wondered about Adler. Where Adler lets the voices talk back and forth almost matter- of-factly, Mitropoulos pulls great intensity and color out of them. It is tremendously gripping. Does the later climax and resolution suffer from this? Probably not, but Mitropoulos is working on smaller canvas than Adler gave himself—he takes a lot less time and that means that things happen closer together. Is Mitropoulos’s ending of the movement as overwhelming as Adler’s? Probably not. Adler’s has the weight of all that time and concentration behind it. But the Mitropoulos ending is moving and satisfying. Mitropoulos’ alto has almost as nice a voice as Adler’s and they dig a lot deeper in IV. Mitropoulos is a little less haunting in the middle of III but just as tangy in the outer sections.”
- Stephen D. Chakwin, Jr., AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2011
“This wonderful, saintly man had such tremendous energy and fire. He used to ask us for a huge dynamic range, and you can hear that so especially effectively in the performances of Mahler we gave with him. But then he was passionate about everything he conducted, and that included the newest and toughest music, which he tackled with the greatest enthusiasm.”
- Stanley Drucker, CLASSICAL RECORDINGS QUARTERLY, Winter, 2010
“Dimitri Mitropoulos (1896–1960), a most distinguished Mahlerian, was one of the great conductors of his generation, the music director of the New York Philharmonic and a frequent guest conductor of the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics as well as La Scala, Milan.
This Cologne performance of Mahler’s Third Symphony from 31 October, 1960, is the only complete performance of the work conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos, the only other being his 1956 broadcast with the New York Philharmonic which is distorted by cuts and amendments.
It is the only officially released recording of Mitropoulos’s performance and together with Debussy’s LA MER, is sourced from WDR’s own master tapes.
The Cologne concert took place two days before Mitropoulos’s death in Milan on 2 November 1960. The set is completed by Mitropoulos’s outstanding interpretation of Debussy’s LA MER. A worthy document of a great conductor.”