"…If you want this performance on SACD, you can't really go wrong since it at least sounds as good as the RBCD, and it's cheaper anyway than the RBCD-only version. I'm torn because I love this performance, but I can not rightfully give it high marks for sound. At least it's not as awful as the SACD job that was done on Karajan's second recording of the 9th." ~sa-cd.net
My admiration for Horenstein’s tireless championship of Bruckner and Mahler in Britain has always been tempered by what I actually hear on the recordings that have been preserved, whether live or in the studio. While his dedication is never in question, Horenstein had a serious interpretive weakness that manifests itself in virtually everything he did: an inability or refusal to make necessary tempo adjustments, particularly in sonata form first movements and finales. This habit, combined with a certain nervousness that sometimes gives an unwelcome sense of haste to slow passages, mars much of what would otherwise be a major achievement, from the first movement of Mahler’s Third and the “Abschied” finale of Das Lied von der Erde, to the second movement of Nielsen’s Fifth.
…It is, above all, a triumph for the Vienna Philharmonic: their second memorable live Bruckner Ninth in so many months. …Given my reservations over Bernstein's handling of the first movement, this is obviously no front-line library recommendation. But, Bernstein being Bernstein, he can misdirect parts of the first movement and still go on to conduct an utterly memorable performance. As Schumann said of Chopin in a rather different context: "Hats off, gentlemen, a genius!".
Richard Osborne, The Gramophone