The last time this was done on BaL the Karajan came out on top. It is wonderfully played of course (just listen to those horns as they hurl out the Bruch Violin Concerto theme as the summit is reached) and I'm not quite as troubled by the sound as EA is. The magical epilogue is superbly realised in Karajan's recording. I am not as troubled either by the wobbly horns in the Dresden/Kempe recording.
Agree about the VPO/Previn which is a much underrated disc but the RPO/Kempe is in a class apart and is easily my own top choice. It's wonderful that Testament have restored this version to circulation. I am less enraptured by the LSO/Haitink than some but concede that it has to be a major contender in what is now an increasingly crowded field. Other ones in my collection are from Antoni Wit and Horst Stein (both very good), Ozawa (can't get on with this one), Haitink again (in 1985, nothing flash here and all the better for it), Thielemann (like this as well), Jansons (both the Concertgebouw and BBC Welsh discs, again both fine) and last but not least, the composer himself in obviously limited 1941 sonics.
There are some terrific performances here but definitely RPO/Kempe for me. His Straussian credentials are better than anyone bar Karajan and it shows in this riveting performance happily recorded in glorious sound.
Last edited by Petrushka; 16-01-11 at 12:04.
Reason: tidying up
“Every piece of music is a rehearsal of one’s life,” - Sir Colin Davis