Berlin Philharmonic: 100 Years (Nikisch, Blech, Fried, et al.) - DG 27 40 259 (5LP box set)
Box NM / LPs NM
Spanish pressing - white circle label - mono
This handsome near-MINT condition 5 LP set from Deutsche Grammophon was issued in celebration of the Berlin Philharmonic’s 100th Anniversary and features an array of extraordinary historic performances by conductors and composer/conductors associated with the earlier years of the orchestra’s distinguished history. Although DG’s recent centenary CD releases brought back to circulation some of this material, other performances were regrettably omitted. LP 1 includes Arthur Nikisch’s legendary Beethoven Fifth (rec. 1913) as well as his Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 1 and Berlioz Roman Carnival Overture (both rec. 1920). LP 2 contains Leo Blech’s 1922 reading of Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and Bruno Walter’s 1924 accounts of the Beethoven Coriolan Overture and Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. LP 3 is devoted to the artistry of Hans Knappertsbusch in a Wagner series, all recorded in 1928: the Preludes to Act I and III, as well as the Dance of the Apprentices from ‘Die Meistersinger,’ the Ride of the Valkyries from ‘Die Walkure,’ the Transformation Music from Act I of ‘Parsifal,’ and the Venusberg Music from Act I of ‘Tannhauser.’ LP 4 showcases both the brilliant Erich Kleiber in Mozart’s Overture to Idomeneo (rec. 1928) and Six German Dances (rec. 1927/28), and the Scherzo and Wedding March from Mendelssohn’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ as well as the enigmatic Oscar Fried in Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre op. 40 and a glittering Stravinsky Firebird (1919 Ballet Suite – both recorded 1928). LP 5 brings together two composers who frequently conducted the great orchestra – Hans Pfitzner in Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony op. 93 (rec. 1933) and Richard Strauss in Gluck’s Overture to ‘Iphigenie in Aulis,’ Weber’s Overture to ‘Euryanthe,’ and the Dance of the Seven Veils from his own ‘Salome’ (all rec. 1928). The fine booklet (in Spanish only) surveys these artists as well as other conductors who lead the orchestra during this period.