For years Philips has witlessly reissued, over and over, Edo de Waart's not particularly spectacular Rotterdam recording of Saint-Saëns' "Organ" Symphony, letting this superb version, one of the great modern recordings of the piece, languish out of print. If you missed it during its 15 minutes of availability back in 1985, here's your chance to make amends…. Haitink's Bizet Symphony always has been a reference recording, distinguished by its stunning playing (marvelous oboe solo in the second movement) and unfailing elegance of phrasing. Indeed, the approach is quite similar to de Waart's
The Symphony in C is an early work by the French composer Georges Bizet. According to Grove's Dictionary, the symphony "reveals an extraordinarily accomplished talent for a 17-year-old student, in melodic invention, thematic handling and orchestration." Bizet started work on the symphony on 29 October 1855, four days after turning 17, and finished it roughly a month later. (…) The symphony was immediately hailed as a youthful masterpiece on a par with Felix Mendelssohn's overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, written at about the same age, and quickly became part of the standard Romantic repertoire. It received its first recording on 26 November 1937, by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Walter Goehr.
The renowned French conductor Jean Martinon succeeded the legendary Fritz Reiner at the helm of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1963. According to one critic, during his five-year tenure, "there is no question that he maintained the orchestra's exalted performances standards, if not improving upon them." In that time, he made nine critically lauded recordings for RCA Victor, now re-issued for the first time ever together in a single SONY Classical box set of 10 re-mastered CDs.
Great Conductors of the 20th Century is a joint venture between the production and licensing expertise of IMG Artists and the international marketing and distribution clout of EMI. Sixty volumes were planned with hopes for even more. Unfortunately, though, perhaps reflecting our leaner climate for classical projects, the producers now advise that only forty will be issued.