A must-have for collectors of sublime historical recordings, this re-release of Fournier and Gulda's 1960 recording is equally appropriate for listeners seeking their first recording of Beethoven's works for cello and piano. Fournier's commitment to the exploration of the Beethoven sonatas and variations is clear; he made three complete recordings of the works over the course of his career – the first with Artur Schnabel in 1947, this one with Friedrich Gulda in 1960, and finally with pianist Wilhelm Kempff in 1965.
The complete Works for Piano and Orchestra, with Rafael Orozco playing the extraordinarily demanding piano score, which Serge; with his huge, slender, nimble fingers tended to compose to impress people and make many back away, is more than merely admirable when combined with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, under the Direction of Edo De Waart.
A number of recordings of Weber's virtuoso clarinet music have come on the market since these 1980s Chandos recordings were released, but they have held their own well enough to merit reissue on the label's two-for-one budget line. They are, perhaps, quintessentially English despite the Finnish origin of the conductor in the orchestral works: straightforward, technically assured, warm in the orchestral sound (recorded mostly at Birmingham's Town Hall), and never drawing attention to itself or letting anyone see or hear anyone sweat.