FRITZ REINER - CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
RCA 370198 (63 disks)
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Yet another inexpensive multi-disk issue from RCA, this containing all of the famed Hungarian conductor Fritz Reiner's recordings with the Chicago Symphony. The record collecting world was amazed and delighted when RCA issued their first stereo recording in 1954, Ein Heldenleben by Richard Strauss, a spectacular stereo showpiece. For the next decade many other recordings were made until 1964 when Reiner died. All of his Chicago recordings are included in this huge set, sounding better than ever as the original 2 and 3 track tapes have been remastered with the latest technology. Audio is wonderful in every way. There was a time years ago when elite audio labels issued some of these recordings at premium price. Now we have them sounding better than ever at budget price!

Each disk has its own jacket with the original issue cover, and a 158-page booklet is included with information about Reiner, many photos, and complete track information. Most of the CDs have rather brief playing time as each contains only what was on the original issue. Many collectors might not realize that Reiner made two recordings each of Zarathustra (March 1954 / July 1962) and Don Juan (December 1954 / February / 1960). Both versions of each are included. We also have the Schumann piano concerto played by Byron Janis recorded February 1959 issued here for the first time on CD, perhaps because Van Cliburn recorded it about a year later and RCA felt that would be more marketable. Here the Janis Schumann is coupled with his stunning performance of Liszt's Totentanz, which also is available coupled with Rachmaninoff's Concerto No.1. There is one odd inclusion: Nights in the Gardens of Spain played by Arthur Rubinsterin with Enrique Jorda and the San Francisco Symphony recorded in 1957. Why was it included? Making more sense for inclusion is Reiner's last recording (September 1963) of Hayd's Symphonies 95 and 101 with members of the New York Philharmonic (called "His Symphony Orchestra").

Included are the following:

ALBENIZ: Excerpts from Iberia
BACH: Harpsichord Concerto in F minor (Andre Tchaikovsky)
BARTOK: Concerto for Orchestra. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste .
BEETHOVEN: Symphonies 1, 3,5, 6, 7 and 9; Piano Concerto No.5 (Van Cliburn)
BERLIOZ: Les nuits d'ete (Price)
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 3. Piano Concerto No. 2 (Van Cliburn). Piano Concerto No. 1 (Rubinstein). Violin Concerto (Heifetz). Tragic Overture.
DEBUSSY: Iberia. La Mer.
DVORAK: Symphony No. 9. Carnival Overture.
FALLA: Nights in the Gardens of Spain (Rubinstein). El Amor Brujo
(Price). Music from The Three-Cornered Hat.
HAYDN: Symphonies Nos. 88, 95, 101.
HOVHANESS:The Mysterious Mountain.
LISZT: Mephisto Waltz. Totentanz (Byron Janis)
MAHLER: Symphony No. 4. Das Lied von der Erde. (Forrester/Lewis).
MOZART: Divertimento No. 17. Serenade No 13. Symphonies 36, 39, 40, 41. Piano Concerto No 25 (Andre Tchaikovsky)
MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition. Night on Bare Mountain.
PROKOFIEV : Alexander Nevsky. Lt. Kije Suite.
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Scheherazade.
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 1 (Janis). Piano Concerto No. 2 (Van Cliburn / Rubinstein). Paganini Rhapsody (Rubinstein)
RAVEL: Rapsodie espagnole. Noble and Sentimental Waltzes. Alborada del gracioso.
RESPIGHI: Fountains of Rome. Pines of Rome.
ROSSINI: : Overtures.
SCHUBERT: Symphony No.5. Symphony No. 8.
SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto (Van Cliburn).
SMITH: The Star-Spangled Banner.
JJOHANN STRAUSS: Waltzes.
STRAUSS Also sprach Zarathustra. Ein Heldenleben. Don Juan, Don Quixote (Janigro). Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. Burlesque (Janis). Sinfonia Domestica. Excerpts from Salome and Elektra.
STRAVINSKY: Le baiser de la fée. Song of the Nightingale.
TCHAIKOVSKY: Nutcracker Suite, 1812 Overture. Symphony No. 6. Piano concerto No. 1 (Gilels/Van Cliburn). Violin Concerto (Heifetz).
WAGNER: Music from Die Meistersinger, Götterdämmerung.

Even if you own some of these remarkable recordings perhaps you should consider getting this set so you will have them in stata-of-the art audio. A feast for audiophiles and music lovers!!! THIS IS A LIMITED EDITION —grab it before it disappears!

R.E.B. (January 2016)