Some months ago, the daily Greek newspaper "To Vima" gave away a collection of 20 CDs, called "Dimitri Mitropoulos - Retrospective". It is a compilation of recordings that Mitropoulos did for Columbia (now Sony). I think some of them are not in the Sony catalogue at the moment. Here is the first box, discs 1-5. Included are: Mozart's Don Giovanni (disc 1-3), Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony and Prokofiev's "Lieutenant Kije Suite" & Piano Concerto no.3, with Mitropoulos as soloist and conductor.
The Greek-born Dimitri Mitropoulos (1896–1960) was incredibly gifted – his photographic memory allowed him to conduct without a score in concert and also in rehearsal! After studies in Athens, Brussels and Berlin, he took various posts in Greece. In 1930, Mitropoulos played the solo part in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3 with the Berlin Philharmonic and conducted the work from the keyboard, becoming the first modern musician to do so. He made his US debut in 1936 and went on to become principal conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (1937–1949) and then music director of the New York Philharmonic (1951–1957), where he was eventually succeeded by Leonard Bernstein. He expanded the repertoire of the NYPO and championed Mahler’s symphonies in particular.
The Aeolian Quartet's epic cycle, originally released in the Seventies, was one of the gramophone's major contributions to Haydn's cause. Listening to the performances anew I find they have lost none of their freshness: they were based on the latest research, and the playing itself is always intelligent and thoughtful, with Emanuel Hurwitz's sweet-toned violin-playing a great asset throughout. (Misha Donat)