This is one of the greatest recordings of the famous Ninth Symphony. It has long been overshadowed by Karajan's three recordings for the same label, as well as Bernstein's version with the same orchestra. But put them all on your CD player and compare, and this is the one you'll be coming back to. Böhm was the least glamorous of conductors, but he approaches the Ninth with messianic zeal and a fanatical gleam in his eye. The opening movement is a cataclysm, the sublime slow movement never loses its contemplative flow, and everyone involved simply sings and plays the pants off of the finale. If the final minute or two doesn't pull you right out of your seat, nothing will. Grab it while you can at this "twofer" price. It's a steal. –David Hurwitz
The compact disc, as a sound carrier, was still on the horizon when Herbert von Karajan urged his record company to utilize the new digital technology in his recordings. Consequently Karajan's Magic Flute, recorded in 1980, became the first release of a Deutsche Grammophon digital production and was first released on LP.
"The set also includes two magnificent Kubelík recordings from the 1960s with Bavarian Radio forces. Schoenberg's Gurrelieder (with tenor Herbert Schachtschneider as a vocally heroic Waldemar) is superbly played and sung, and Kubelík's conducting is as dramatically involving as any. It sounds better than ever in this latest mastering. Finally, there is utter enchantment: the 1964 recording of Mendelssohn's music for "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (with Edith Mathis and Ursula Boese as soloists), prefaced by a fascinating rehearsal of the Overture, released here for the first time. The booklet includes excellent notes and photographs" ~International Record Review
A rewarding release… As to the Mandarin, first impressions suggest a gloved fist on Ozawa's part and a general softening of attack since [his earlier DG recording from] 1975… Ozawa is strong on sensuality - those all-pervading glissandos, the seduction games and the languidly teasing sequences that lead to the chase… As to the Concerto for Orchestra…the Bostonians' Bartókian pedigree - it was, after all, Koussevitzky who commissioned the work — guarantees a certain élan and refinement… Ozawa is best where the going gets frantic (his finale is terrific, especially at the outset, and he plays Bartok's more concise original ending)… Ozawa's virtues are intelligence, alertness and a fine ear for detail… (Gramophone [8/1995] reviewing the Bartók recordings, originally released as Philips 442783)
…Summarising, the team of Järvi and his talented young chamber orchestra players evoke Beethoven's wilful and often irascible (but lovable) polemics and character like few before them. The Eroica is fully charged and brilliantly executed. It joins the ranks of élite performances, together with an 8th Symphony whose real stature is newly revealed and celebrated. The Polyhymnia International engineers provide an immediate and fully transparent recording, with a measured amount of ambience, despite two locations being involved.