Reiner/CSO: R. Strauss Ein Heldenleben (rec. 1954) - RCA VICS -1042 (4S/2S)
Jacket VG / LP EX / US pressing
This superlative LP from RCA (VICS-1042, US pressing, plum/silver label – 4S/2S stampers, stereo) features Fritz Reiner's brilliant account of Richard Strauss' Ein Heldenleben, recorded in the rich acoustics of Orchestra Hall, Chicago on 6 March 1954 with the mighty Chicago Symphony Orchestra on resplendent form.
With Karajan and Kempe, Reiner was among the undisputed masters of Strauss' music during the last century and this amazing performance explains why – a gramophone classic. Incidentally, the solo violinist is CSO Concermaster John Weicher and the horn soloist CSO Principal Philip Farkas. The sound is superb, warm and spacious.
Incidentally, the striking cover art reproduces Rosa's "Seated, Helmeted Soldier", while the fine liner notes on the reverse side of the jacket are uncredited.
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD. There is edgewear, particularly at corners, as well as some discoloration to the rear panel. However, there are no seamsplits, bends, scuffs, or owners' markings, and the album remains solid and presentation worthy – overall, a handsome collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is similary EXCELLENT. Although the surfaces are not always CD silent, in general the playback is truly superb. If you must have a flawless copy, you are advised to look elsewhere – overall, this is an excellent collector's copy.