One of the most acclaimed musicians of his era, Toscanini was a conductor of the "old school" - aristocratic, perfectionistic and something of an autocrat on the podium. After a brief flurry of interest in Fascism in the 1910s, he rapidly became disillusioned with the movement and indeed became a personal rival of Mussolini, repeatedly antagonising him through acts of artistic defiance such as refusals to open concerts with the Fascist anthem Giovinezza.
Eventually he fled Italy for the United States, becoming the first conductor of the newly-formed NBC Symphony Orchestra, with whom he pioneered radio broadcasts and recordings that made him a household name in America until his retirement at the age of 87. He gave the premiere performances of several major works, including Barber's Adagio for Strings and the American premiere of Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony.
"…As far as sound goes, it's the best I've heard from Living Stereo and perhaps the best I've heard from my stereo period! The soloist to orchestra balance is just about perfectly even, which means the orchestra is considered an equal part by the engineers. I prefer that to the "I'm ready for my closeup now Mr De Mille" balance used by most producers in order to highlight the "STAR"." ~sa-cd.net
Recorded in London’s Henry Wood Hall in November 1977, these two performances offer a special reminder of the magic of Mstislav Rostropovich. If ever one needs to relive the pure magic of music, that elusive quality that operates above and beyond all words, it is to Rostropovich that one can confidently turn; especially when he is in partnership with another “great”—here, Giulini.
"…I've known and loved the Solti/CSO "New World" recording for years; it is now relegated to the re-gifting pile. If you are a Dvorak fan, buy this disc." ~sa-cd.net
"…MDG provides typically fine sonics, with the strings well balanced against a piano that turns a bit glassy in its upper register at higher dynamic levels. The real question is whether or not, with such fine versions already available from various Czech groups on Supraphon (Panocha Quartet) and Praga (Klánský/Prazák Quartet), you will want to spend premium price to acquire this newcomer, even if the coupling of these two particular works is somewhat unique. This is a decision you must make for yourself; if you ultimately opt to go for it, you won’t be sorry." ~classicstoday
…Der Sinfonie voran geht eine ausführliche, traditionelle Instrumentenvorstellung. Das Booklet beinhaltet Biografien, Informationen zu Orchester und „Bobbys Klassik“ sowie die Erzähltexte. Ein „Begleitheft zur CD“ zeigt Partiturauschnitte und Bilder der Orchesterinstrumente. Ein Rätsel, quasi als „Lernkontrolle“, verlangt den routinierten Rätselkenner. Bleibt nachzutragen, dass das Beethoven Orchester Bonn unter Thomas Honickel die „unterbrochene“ Sinfonie selbstverständlich hochkompetent musiziert.
"…65 exhilarating minutes!" ~Bayrischer Rundfunk
"Sehr viel schöne Musik auf neun reich gefüllten CDs. Jedes Werk erfährt eine mehr als angemessene Interpretation. Kaufen und genießen!" ~Grammophone