A problematic set
Daryl Bullis | Albany, NY USA | 07/19/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, Solti's Ein Heldenleben is powerful indeed and has merit on all fronts: tempo, power, sound...and the Zarathustra ranks up there as well...but I must disagree with Solti's interpretation of the Alpensinfonie. I was disturbed by the rushed approach, especially through some of the most beautiful legato passages and with his use of such an intrusive wind machine. The whiny sound of that machine really put me off, especially when it drowned out the orchestra. It didn't have all the punch and sublimnity that I know lies in this work, and for that, I would whole-heartedly recommend the Karajan on DG available in the Karajan Gold series sounding as sumptuous as ever. Solti for me has produced some of the most amazing recordings of the lp era (Rheingold, Gotterdammerung, Salome, Elektra, etc) but I find much of his work "streaky." When he is on, he is fantastic. When he is rushed and "off", it is a huge disappointment.This set has its merits. Be advised that these readings are quirky, and should not be taken as definitive. There is a whole world of other recordings out there that would serve the music scores better. I recommed this set as a complement to other recordings, just to give an idea of what Sotli was (or was not) able to do with the various scores and different orchestras. The price is a huge bonus for this set."
If you like the big sound, this CD is hard to beat
Ray Barnes | Surrey, British Columbia Canada | 06/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most potential buyers of this CD will want to hear the Heldenleben with the VPO and the Zarathustra, Don Juan and Till with the CSO. It might be fair to say the most interesting item of all in this collection would be the Alpensinfonie done with the Bavarian RSO in the Herkulessaal in Munich. All of the above were originally recorded in the 1970s and this last item might have the best recording quality. It would be hard to create more amplitude than this, and the playing is as distinguished as that afforded under the direction of Richard Strauss himself when he recorded it in the 1940s with the same orchestra. All the items show Solti at his extrovert best, with excellent playing, and for many these performances are close to definitive, depending upon one's taste. I think they can be recommended alongside - but not in preference to - Karajan and Kempe, in the same period. Very appropriate packaging and presentation with fine documentation. At bargain price, this can be strongly recommended."
Beatiful Work of CSO and Vienna as well.
Daryl Bullis | 07/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD probably has the best interpretation of Don Juan and Ein Heldenleben of any recording I have listened to. 5 Stars is an understatment!!"