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Great Conductors Of The 20th Century / Fritz Reiner


Release Date: 07/13/2004 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 62866   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsWolfgang Amadeus MozartFelix MendelssohnRichard Wagner,   ... 
Performer:  Emil GilelsCarol Brice
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony OrchestraPhiladelphia OrchestraRCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 2 Hours 39 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The cover photo's resemblance to Bela Lugosi as Dracula aside, the fact that Fritz Reiner was a great conductor is evident from the first notes of the Beethoven Coriolan Overture that opens this set. The unanimity of attack, the energy and precision of his Chicago Orchestra, and Reiner's smooth transit from the portentous opening measures to the warm singing violin line help make this a performance to remember. The highlight of the set, new to CD, is a 1954 Chicago mono recording (a great one, you won't miss stereo here) of Mozart's "Linz" Symphony, a version that could have been made yesterday--lean, lithe execution, crackling tempos, and a brilliantly played whirlwind finale. It's preceded by the conductor's 1958 partnership Read more with Emil Gilels in Brahms' Second Piano Concerto, a strong contrast to Gilels' more relaxed, better-known DG remake with Eugen Jochum. Here, he's right in Reiner's groove with brisk tempos and a rhythmic snap that's softened in his later version. Reiner also shows himself a top-notch Brahmsian (Disc 2 includes a fine Tragic Overture), a master of the composer's transitions, which often are difficult for conductors to make convincing but seem to be child's play for him.


Aside from a darkly dramatic Chicago reading of Wagner's popular Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey, the rest of the set documents a slightly earlier phase of Reiner's long career. Too bad EMI's compilers didn't offer more than just one item from his Pittsburgh Symphony years, but it's a beaut--Falla's El amor brujo. Except for dated 1946 sonics (ameliorated by a fine transfer) it's fully competitive with his later stereo version from Chicago with Leontyne Price. Carol Brice is thrilling in the songs embedded in Falla's ballet; her strong chest voice captures the peasant nature of the material, and the orchestra's in top form. A sardonic 1950 Till Eulenspiegel with the RCA Victor Symphony plays to Reiner's Straussian strengths, but a 1952 NBC Symphony version of Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin is short on the work's elegance. Fillers include Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream Scherzo and a brief dance from Bartók's Hungarian Sketches.


The transfer quality is very high: the classic Chicago recordings sound as good as the current crop and the earlier monos possess presence and detail. EMI's Great Conductors series usually offers at least one live concert item, and the absence of some of Reiner's many Chicago broadcasts is both inexplicable and regrettable. But despite whatever is not here, what is gives a fine overview of one of the century's great conductors and constitutes one of the best volumes in an engrossing series. [8/4/2004]
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Emil Gilels (Piano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878-1881; Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/08/1958 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago 
Length: 45 Minutes 04 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
2.
Symphony no 36 in C major, K 425 "Linz" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1783; Linz, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/26/1954 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago 
Length: 22 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
3.
Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61: Scherzo by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/30/1951 
Venue:  Academy of Music, Philadelphia 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
4.
Tragic Overture, Op. 81 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/14/1957 
Venue:  Orchestral Hall, Chicago 
Length: 12 Minutes 03 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
5.
Götterdämmerung: Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/18/1959 
Venue:  Orchestral Hall, Chicago 
Length: 13 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
6.
Hungarian Sketches (5), Sz 97: no 5, Swineherd's Dance by Béla Bartók
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 12/29/1958 
Venue:  Orchestral Hall, Chicago 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
7.
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/20/1950 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 14 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
8.
Le tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1917; orch. 191; France 
Date of Recording: 01/19/1952 
Venue:  Carnegie Hall, New York City, NY 
Length: 13 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
9.
El amor brujo by Manuel de Falla
Performer:  Carol Brice (Soprano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1915; Spain 
Date of Recording: 02/05/1946 
Venue:  Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 
Length: 23 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
10.
Coriolan Overture in C minor, Op. 62 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/05/1959 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago 
Length: 6 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 

Featured Sound Samples

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Mendelssohn): Scherzo
Tragic Overture (Brahms)

Sound Samples

Coriolan Overture, Op. 62
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in B flat Op. 83: I. Allegro non troppo
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in B flat Op. 83: II. Allegro appassionata
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in B flat Op. 83: III. Andante
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in B flat Op. 83: IV. Allegretto grazioso
Symphony No. 36 in C 'Linz' K425: I. Adagio - Allegro spiritoso
Symphony No. 36 in C 'Linz' K425: II. Andante
Symphony No. 36 in C 'Linz' K425: III. Menuetto & Trio
Symphony No. 36 in C 'Linz' K425: IV. Presto
A Midsummer Night's Dream: Scherzo
Tragic Overture, Op. 81
Götterdämmerung: Morgendämmerung und Siegfrieds Rheinfahrt
Hungarian Sketches, Sz97: Swineherd's Dance
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche Op. 28
Le Tombeau de Couperin: I. Prélude. Vif
Le Tombeau de Couperin: II. Forlane. Allegretto
Le Tombeau de Couperin: III. Menuet. Allegro moderato
Le Tombeau de Couperin: IV. Rigaudon. Assez vif
El amor brujo: En la cueva: La noche
El amor brujo: Canción del amor dolido
El amor brujo: Danza del terror
El amor brujo: El círculo mágico: Romance del pescador
El amor brujo: A media noche: Los sortilegios
El amor brujo: Danza ritual del fuego: Para ahuyentar los malos espiritus
El amor brujo: Escena
El amor brujo: Canción del fuego fatuo
El amor brujo: Pantomima
El amor brujo: Danza del juego del amor
El amor brujo: Final: Las campanas del amanecer

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Two Fantastic CD's!! September 1, 2012 By Richard F. Buckley (Jefferson Hills, PA) See All My Reviews "My experience with this set of CD's is incredible! I remembered faintly how I, as a child, remembered Fritz Reiner's work. Not any more! Not after buying this terrific set of CD's. I won't bore you by repeating the genuine and well-earned praise of previous writers, except that this man got the most out of every orchestra and every composer he ever tackled. This set of out-of-print CD's would be a bargain for any serious lover of classical music at any price!" Report Abuse
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