Larry Lapidus | Spokane, WA United States | 05/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This set has received lukewarm, patronizing reviews. I cannot figure out why. Every bar glows with the imagination and vitality that we hear in Menuhin's own playing, when his unreliable technique permitted. I think here of his Beethoven and Brahms concerto recordings with Furtwangler, and of his early recording of the Mendelssohn Concerto. The Sinfonia Varsovia is certainly no Wiener Philharmoniker, but their playing is lithe and sonorous, and they are obviously inspired by their conductor. It is customary to praise recordings by saying that they reveal a wealth of previously unheard detail. What I hear in these recordings is expressive coherence I had not heard before, resulting from Menuhin's largely successful effort at capturing Beethoven's original impulses which lead to his decision to set down a certain sequence of pitches and to assign them to certain instruments. The Beethoven of this set of symphonies is a fabulously gifted speaker, whose gift of conversation brings forth an torrent of ideas, exhortations, pleas and witticisms that endlessly delight the ear, activate the mind, and purify the soul."