BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92. Symphony No. 8 in F, Op. 93. Prometheus Overture, Op. 43.
Vienna Philharmonic Orch/Cladio Abbado, cond.
DECCA 480 5952 TT: 73:06
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SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39. Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 43. Symphony No. 3 in C, Op. 52. Symphony No. 4 in A minor, Op. 63.
London Symphony Orch/Anthony Collins, cond.
DECCA 4842 9490 (2 disks) TT: 132:12
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FRANCK: Symphony in D minor. ROUSSEL: Symphony No. 3 in G minor,
French National Orch/Leonard Bernstein, cond.
DECCA 478 6971 TT: 69:27
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SAINT-SAËNS: La Princesse Jaune Overture. BERLIOZ: Overtures to Le Corsaire, Le r Lear, La carnival romain, Les francs juges. ADAM: Si j'ete roi overtre. HEROLD: Zampa Overture. REZNICEK: Donna Diana overture. VON SUPPE: Pique Dame overture. NICOLAI: MerryWives of Windsor overture.AUBER: Overtures to Le Domino noir, Massaniello, Le ceval de bonze, Fra diavolo and Les diamants de la couronne
Paris Conservatory Orc/Albert Wolff, cond.
DECCA 480 2385 (2 disks) TT: 144:19
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HAYDN: Symphony No. 94 in G "Surprise." Symphony No. 92 in G "Oxford." Symphony No. 104 in D "London." Symphony No. 99 in E flat. SCHUBERT: Symphony No.6 in C. MENDELSSOHN: Sympony No. 4 in A, Op. 90 "Italian."
Vienna Philharmonic Orch. (Haydn Symphonies 94, 99) London Symphony Orch (Haydn Symphony No. 92, Schubert, Mendelssohn). London Philharmonic Orch. (Haydn Symphony 104)/osef Krips, cond.
DECCA 480 4331 (2 disks) TT: 1147:13
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Claudio Abbado has made many recordings of Beethoven symphonies including a superb set of live performances with the Berlin Philharmonic available on video (REVIEW). Here at a very reasonable price we have Symphony No. 7 recorded in 1965, and Symphony No. 8 from two years later. Abbadi adnures should own them, and here they are in a generous copling.

One might well wonder why Leonard Bernstein recorded the Franck and Roussel symphonies in Paris in 1981. He had already recorded the Franck with the New York Philharmonic in 1959, and the Roussel with the same orchestra in 1961. There surely is nothing special about the later recordings (the conclusion of the Franck symphony is remarkably bland). This is for those who must own all of Bernstein's recordings.

British conductor Anthony Collins (1893-1963) had a distinguished career as an orchestral player early in his career, and as a conductor, not only in England but in the United States. He made a number of recordings for Decca 1952-1955 including the first complete recordings of the Sibelius symphonies with one conductor and orchestra, and these have been highly regarded over the years. This twin-disk set offers the first four symphonies in splendid mono sound of the time. A previous issue on the Eloquence label released some years ago contains the remainder of the symphonies coupled with various other works conducted by Thomas Jensen with the Danish National Orchestra. This is a fine releases that doubtless will bring back many memories for some old-time collectors.

These disks of French overtures were recorded in La Mason de la Mutualité in Paris 1954-1955, just pre-stereo. Top engineers were involved and they did their work well—sound is well-balanced and obviously the acoustic was unresonant. The problem here is that despite Albert Wolff's credentials (he was director of Opéra-Comique and gave premieres of a number of major works) the fact remains that he didn't have much to work with. The Paris orchestra obviously is small, and their playing often is insecure. Again we have a "memory" disk for collectors Several of these overtures previously were issued on Testament coupled with two suites of Massenet (REVIEW).

Josef Krips (1902-1973) was a distinguished conductor of his era, but never held any of the major conducting posts, although e was music director of the London Symphony 1950-1954 and from 1963-1970 led the Buffalo Philharmonic. Krips appeared often at the Metropolitan opera. His recordings include the Beethoven symphonies with the LSO for Everest, the Beethoven piano concertos with Arthur Rubinstein for RCA. Krips also recorded many Mozart symphonies, Schubert's Symphony No. 9 and Dvorák's Serenade for Strings with the Concertgebouw. This new set offers four Haydn symphonies, Schubert's Symphony 6 and Mendelssohn's Italian, made with the Vienna Philharmonic and LSO 1948-1957. There is no indication of audio format although my screen readout indicates stereo,these surely don't sound like stereo. It is unlikely the earlier recoding's were made in two-channel.

R.E.B. (July 2014)