The music of Brahms held an important place in Sir John Barbirolli's repertoire and these recordings of the symphonies, made with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1966 and 1967, stand as one of the peaks of his discography. Barbirolli's relationship with this music is rooted in his time as an orchestral cellist, and these performances are notable for their rich, ripe sonorities and expansive warmth. This Japanese SACD reissue features the 2011's EMI Remaster.
Karajan surmounted this pinnacle of the choral-symphonic repertoire - which Beethoven himself called "the greatest work I have composed" - no fewer than four times in the recording studio, but only once live and on film: in this unique document from the 1979 Salzburg Easter Festival. The atmosphere of Salzburg's Festspielhaus and festival audience adds a special frisson to this conductor's classic interpretation of the Missa solemnis.
Herbert Blomstedt's Beethoven cycle with the Staatskapelle Dresden is one of the great ones, as much for the magnificent playing of this finest of all German orchestras as for Blomstedt's effortlessly musical interpretations.' - David Hurwitz, Editorial Reviews - Amazon.com
Stereo recordings from the early 1960s. Everyone has sentimental favorites, and this set is one of mine. Yes, the ensemble has a few rough spots now and again—nothing serious—but the playing has such warmth and emotional generosity, that bigness of spirit that’s so often forgotten in today’s Beethoven performances. The Budapest Quartet clearly frames its view of the composer in terms of the great, late quartets. So Op. 18, cultured and intelligent thought it is, could do perhaps with a touch more energy in spots, a leaner basic sonority. But once we hit the great middle quartets it’s smooth sailing right through to the end.
"…Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm produced this gold SACD with its customary unprocessed digital sound, so the reproduction is as faithful to the actual performances as can be managed, and the presence of the orchestra is truly something to behold. While purists may still take issue with the use of modern instruments, the large size of the orchestra, and a few minor issues, even they will recognize that Blunier has learned a great deal from the early music camp and that his interpretations are intelligent and insightful. They also have an appealing warmth that is sometimes lacking in versions with original instruments, and the vigorous playing certainly keeps the music from seeming fussy or sterile." ~allmusicguide