BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21. Symphony No. 2 in
D, Op. 36. Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 55 "Eroica." Symphony No.
4 in B flat, Op.
60. Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67. Symphony No. 6 in F, Op. 68 "Pastorale."
Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92. Symphony No. 8 in F, Op. 93. Symphony No.
9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral."
BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 1 n C mnor. Symphony No. 2 in C minor
. Symphony No. 3 in D minor . Symphony No.
4 in E flat "Romantic." Symphony No. 5 iin B flat. Symphony
No. 6 i A. Symphony No. 7 in E. Sympony No. 8 in C minor. Symphony No.
9 in D minor.
Wolfgang Sawallisch (1923 - 2013) was one of the most respected conductors of his era. He had lengthy associations with a number of organizations including the Suisse Romande Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, Hamburg Symphony, Bavarian State Opera, and was music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra 1993-2003. He specialized in Strauss and Wagner, ,A favorite at Bayreuth, Sawallisch conducting 32 complete Ring cycles during his career. He recorded profusely often as accompanist to leading singers. Here we have the Beethoven symphonies recorded live in the Concertgebouw 1991 - 1993, and major works of Brahms in studio sessions 1989 - 1991 with the London Philharmonic. Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs' brief program notes talk about the conductor's careful balancing of instruments in the Beethoven symphonies, hardly true as balances surely were strongly decided by the recording engineers' microphone placement. At any rate, these are outstanding performances, audio is excellent—and the budget price is another plus. Wikipedia's bio of the conductor mentions an EMI 1973 quadraphonic recording of The Magic Flute with an all-star case (Fischer-Dieskau, Schwarzkopf, Margaret Price). This is available in stereo—Warner Classics, how about issuing that on SACD?
Acknowledged Bruckner specialist Eugen Jochum (1902-1987) recorded all of the symphonies twice (except for the early Die Nulte), some of them more than that. The complete sets were recorded for DGG in the 1960s with the Berlin Philharmonic (Nos. 1, 4, 7, 8 and 9) and the Bavarian Radio Symphony, and for EMI from 1975-1980 with the Dresden Staatskapelle. There are two live performances with the Royal Concertgebouw, a 1980 Symphony 6 included in Volume V of the RCO Anthology, and Symphony No. 5 live from Benedictine Abbey in Ottobüren 1964 (REVIEW). The Dresden set was issued by EMI at budget price more than a decade ago (REVIEW), and now here it is again, this time at super-budget price. A booklet contains limited program notes in three languages along with recording dates and sites. An incredible bargain!
R.E.B. (February 2014)