Easily the best mono disc thus far in this series was made by Walter with the NYPO in 1956, and largely comprises of music by Johann Strauss II: it really is remarkably fine. The sound is spacious and full, in fact almost as good as stereo. To have Walter's accounts of the An der schönen, blauen Donau, the G'schichten aus dem Wienerwald and the Kaiser waltzes is treasure indeed, especially as the readings are so idiomatic. However, the conductor reserves his special affection for Wiener Blut, the introduction coaxed with loving care, the violins ravishing. In addition there are volatile performances of the Fledermaus and Zigenunerbaron Overtures. These Strauss items are coupled with four of Brahms's Hungarian Dances (Nos. 1, 3, 10 andRead more 17). They are given a Viennese air and are filled out with charming detail. The concert ends with Walter's 1941 version of Smetana's "Vltava" (Ma vlast). This opens delicately and the moonlight sequence is also quite lovely. Unfortunately the restricted range of the recording prevents the St John's rapids episode from providing any sense of dynamic expansion, although the work's closing section comes off well.