- This lovely Whiteback pressing is big and lively, earning seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
- Good weight to the brass, huge hall space, wonderfully textured string tone – it’s all here and more
- A top performance from Solti and the Vienna Phil – it’s classic Solti: fast-paced, exciting and powerful
- This is Beethoven played with gusto – he brings this music to life like no other conductor we know of (with the exception of Dorati perhaps)
Solti’s Beethoven has always been underrated. In some respects it’s more satisfying than his ventures into the late Romantic repertoire on which his reputation largely rests. His Fifth Symphony, for example, has all of the drama and flair one could ask for in its outer movements, and his treatment of the Third’s epic funeral march is truly gripping, with a hair-raising fugato climax.
— David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
We like our recordings to have as many of the qualities of Live Music as possible, and those qualities really come through on a record such as this, especially when reproduced on the full-range speaker system we use. It’s precisely this kind of big, clear, yet rich sound that makes audiophiles prize Decca/London recordings above those of virtually all other labels, and here, unlike in so many areas of audio, we are fully in agreement with our fellow record loving audiophile friends.
This Golden Age tape has been mastered brilliantly with “modern” mastering equipment (from the mid-’60s, not the low-rez junk they’re forced to make do with these days), giving you, the listener, sound that only the best of both worlds can offer.
You may have noticed that Beethoven’s symphonies rarely make it to the site. There’s a reason for this: most of the recordings of them don’t sound very good. We are happy to report that, at least when it comes to the Fifth, that problem has been solved, by this very record in fact.
The Leibowitz from Readers Digest that we like is tubier and richer, and more lyrical in performance.
The Solti from 1958 here is cleaner, clearer and both more exacting and lively. I would have a hard time choosing between them. (more…)