Of the many sound recordings made of this work, two stand out – for different reasons, but with a connection. The first is the now legendary 1952 recording by Kathleen Ferrier , with the tenor Julius Patzak and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Bruno Walter. At the time of the recording, Kathleen Ferrier was in considerable pain from the cancer from which she was suffering. The orchestra were aware of just how ill she was and played their socks off for her. The result is one of only a handful of occasions when something quite magical is captured on disc. Kathleen Ferrier died, 17 months later, at the age of only 41.
The second recording is that by the mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig and the tenor Fritz Wunderlich, conducted by Otto Klemperer. A casual glance at the credits lists two orchestras – the Philharmonia Orchestra and the New Philharmonia Orchestra. The work is certainly scored for a large orchestra, but two orchestras? No, only one orchestra was used, but the story behind it is somewhat bizarre. The whole recording was made in three distinct sections over a total period of 29 months. Christa Ludwig's songs 2 Continued page 32/32