…The rating says five stars. I say: there are too many stars to count. Get this SACD, and listen to Beethoven the humanist who plumbed and characterized all those joys and struggles we have come to call the human condition.
This box set contains the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms, the later symphonies of Mozart, symphonies of Mahler and Bruckner, CDs with rehearsals and many more. The German born conductor Bruno Walter (1876-1962) was known primarily for his interpretations of the Viennese school. Though out of step with 20th century trends he was such a fine musician that he became a major figure - filling the wide gulf between the extremes of his day - Arturo Toscanini and Wilhelm Furtwängler.
This is an energetic and well played performance and Mark Obert-Thorn has done marvellously well with the transfer. I love the “Pastoral” of all symphonies and to be able to hear this recording from seventy years ago in very tolerable sound is wonderful. I must say that for the general listener the recording from 1960 on Sony is in better sound and indeed a better performance. The Columbia Symphony Orchestra was in fact the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. There is another recording from 1946 from Philadelphia but I haven’t heard it in a decent transfer.(David R Dunsmore)
Bruno Walter's recording of the Siegfried Idyll with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra is radiantly beautiful–one of the most affecting of all this great conductor's statements. The horns wobble and nick a couple of notes, the ensemble isn't always perfect, and little things happen in the winds, but the sense of what the music is about–the character of the solo playing, the phrasing, and the wonderful feeling of delicacy and joy–is unmatched by anyone, except perhaps Karajan. The "cradle song" quality of the oboe solo early in the piece is captured to perfection, and the music moves along without ever being in a hurry. The end just floats away without seeming to drag or slow down at all. –Ted Libbey
It was to Bruno Walter that Mahler entrusted the score of his Ninth Symphony in the autumn of 1910, knowing that he himself would not live to conduct the premiere. Walter gave the premiere on June 26, 1912, in Vienna, and throughout his long career remained the work's greatest champion. He was 84 when he made this recording, and the reading he elicits from the Columbia Symphony is suffused with nostalgia, warmth, and deep sentiment. Here, a work of leave-taking is interpreted in the spirit of leave-taking, though the treatment is no less radiant and sincere for being somewhat detached.