Fritz Reiner was one of the foremost conductors of his time. Crowning his long career in Europe and America was the decade from 1954 to 1963 as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra – an illustrious partnership that ranks along such other historical tenures as Karajan’s in Berlin, Szell’s in Cleveland and Bernstein’s in New York.
"…The remaining selections are just as impressive sonically. But of course, marveling at the sound quality of these 40-year-old recordings is only a secondary consideration. Reiner's magnificent and still-unequalled performances remain the real reason for acquiring this disc. For newcomers, these new SACD transfers should remove any hesitations regarding sound quality, while veterans will feel an old romance rekindled. " ~ClassicsToday
…On this release Reiner and his orchestra are in glorious form. The quality of these Strauss family waltzes can survive even the most inept amateur and hand-organ grinder. In the hands of Reiner, however, the waltzes sound marvellous and are a real joy. Reiner was conducting in Vienna as early as 1915 and one can clearly hear that the Viennese stamp of authenticity is attached to these performances. The spirit of Vienna is also perpetuated with the Chicago Symphony having several Vienna-trained members at the time of these recordings. Reiner is able effortlessly to adapt to the contrasting moods and fast-changing tempos. He manages to deliver real excitement and an anticipation of what is to come next. He knows how to obtain the slight buoyancy on the second beat, an almost inaudible accent after an almost inaudible pause…
Rubinstein's heartfelt affinity and mastery of Brahms' burly piano writing is never in doubt, although the pianist's remake 10 years later with Erich Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony benefits from his greater introspection and expressive simplicity in the first movement's lyrical second theme and the entirety of the slow movement. All told, the volatile Rubinstein/Reiner Brahmsian chemistry holds its own after more than half a century. –Jed Distler, Classicstoday.com
Fritz Reiner was one of the foremost conductors of his time. Crowning his long career in Europe and America was the decade from 1954 to 1963 as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra – an illustrious partnership that ranks along such other historical tenures as Karajan’s in Berlin, Szell’s in Cleveland and Bernstein’s in New York. Luckily for posterity, Reiner’s legendary interpretations at the helm of the Chicago Symphony – which no less than Igor Stravinsky called “the most precise and flexible orchestra in the world” – were captured on record by RCA Victor. Now for the first time ever, they are being issued together in a single Sony Classical box set of 63 re-mastered CDs.