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I find Mahler a difficult composer to understand, but am gradually getting more familiar with his symphonies. A week ago, I got my first Mahler cycle-- the DG Kubelik one-- and have listened to the first and second symphonies. The first is excellent; the second is good but lacks a certain "epicness."

Kubelik is more focused on sounding beautiful than emphasizing Mahler's neuroticism, at least in the first two symphonies. He also takes fairly quick tempos-- the upshot of that is that all the symphonies fit on one CD, except for the third.
 
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