BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 55 "Eroica." Hans Knappertsbusch, cond. (rec. Dec. 17, 1953). BRAHMS: Symphony No 2 in D, Op. 73 (Hans Knappertsbusch cond. (rec. Oct. 13, 1956). MOZART: The Magic Flute (Karl Christian Kohn / /Erika Köth / Anneliese Rothenberger / Fritz Wunderlich / Hermann Prey / Gertrud Freeman / Hildegard Hillebrecht / Bavarian Opera Chorus / Fritz Reiger, cond.). BRAHMS: Alto Rhapsody. REGER: An die Hoffnung, Op 124. Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Hiller, Op, 100.(Christa ludwig, alto. Eugen Jochum, cond. PROKOFIEV: Scythian Suite. Excerpts from Romeo and Juliet. (Sergiu Celibidache, cond. MOZART: Serenade in B Flat, K. 361 "Grand Partita." Requiem in D minor. Ave verum corpus, K. 618. Mojca Erdmann, soprano. Okka von der Damerau, mezzo-soprano. Michael Schade, tenor. Christof Fischesser, bass. (Zubin Mehta, cond.) VERDI: Requiem (Anja Harteros, soprano. Daniela Barcellona, mezzo-soprano. Wookyung Kim, tenor. Georg Zeppemfeld, bass.(Lorin Maazel, cond.). MOZART: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550. SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 5 in B flat (Günter Wand, cond.). PFITZNER: Von Deutscher Seele, Op. 28. Luana DeVol, soprano. Doris Soffel, mezzo-soprano. Thomas Moser, tenor. Alfred Muff, bass. (Horst Stein, cond.) BERLIOZ: The Damnation of Faust (Marcello Giordani. José Van Dam. Katarina Delayman. Roderick Earle. (James Levine, cond. (rec. July 1999) (SCHUBERT: Symphony No 9 in C (Christian Thielemann, cond.). SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No 4 in C minor, Op. 43 . STRAVINSKY: Symphonies of Wind Instruments. RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Scheherazade, Op 35. (Valery Gergiev, cond.)

Founded in 1893, the Munich Philharmonic is now celebrating its 125th Anniversary with release of this 17 disk set of memorable performances lead by some of their past Music Directors. Major conductors of the orchestra included Felix Weingartner (1898–1905), Hans Pfitzner (1919–1920), Oswald Kabasta (1938–1944), Hans Rosbaud (1945 - 1948), Fritz Rieger (1949–1966), Rudolf Kempe (1967 - 1976), Sergiu Celibidache (1979–1996), James Levine (1999 - 2004), Christian Thielemann (2004 - 2011), Lorin Maazel (2012 - 2014), and Valery Gergiev (2015).

The Orchestra has a remarkable history. Gustav Mahler conducted the premieres of his Fourth and Eighth symphonies, and Bruno Walt3r led the premiere of Maher's Das lied von der erde. This new set features performances led by the orchestra's music directors. Major vocal soloists are featured, and in the choral works we hear the fine Munich Philharmonic Chorus. Artistic level is high throughout, and some unusual repertory i (Reger / Pfitzner) is included. It might seem odd that only one disk features Sergiu Celibidacne, who led the orchestra for two decades; perhaps this is because countless recordings of this famed conductor are already available on CD and video. A handsome 150-page booklet contains many photos and information about each performance, although specific recording dates often are not provided. Of particular interest for collectors are the Beethoven and Brahms symphonies conducted by Knappertsbusch, and the Mozart opera with leading singers of the time. Excellent audio throughout, stereo in later performances. No Rudolf Kempe performances are here in spite of his importance. . You can find two of them (Copland El Salón Mexico / Prokofiev Symphony No 7) in the recent CRQ release (REVIEW). Collectors will welcome this new commemorative issue, a mid-price release.

R.E.B. (October 2018)