To mark 60 years since Celibidache’s debut with the orchestra, the Wiener Symphoniker has released this remastered live recording (taken from a Konzerthaus performance on 30th October 1952) on their new label. By turns stormy and flowing, it is a very different experience from Celibidache’s later Brahms recordings with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony and the Munich Philharmonic (in themselves worlds apart), but will nonetheless be a must-have release for Celi completists.
The other works on that 1952 programme (Liszt’s Les Préludes and the Ravel left hand concerto with Casadesus) have been knocking around for some time, and the Brahms has been previously available too, distributed a little more dubiously.
If not entirely distortion-free, the Symphoniker’s new transfer is a lot cleaner with more vivid details in the upper mid-range and a refreshing absence of blasting dynamic contrasts. The horns still sound congested from time to time but these minor flaws pale in comparison to what Tonmeister Holger Siedler has achieved with the strings and winds. Going legit will cost the Austrian standard RRP of €19.90, though the release is available for €16.99 on amazon.de and for the immense improvement in sound quality is worth a spot on any Christmas wish list.