…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…
…In essence, this is glorified stereo with remarkable presence – one feels quite close to Rubinstein, & the CSO seems only feet away – but there is no additional surround sound depth. For the sake of authenticity, this is just as well, & Rubinstein & Reiner at least are not misrepresented through creative engineering. One may regret, however, that this SACD has no bonus tracks & find that it offers less value than other titles in the line.
Kijé is from the mainstream Prokofiev stable: folk tunes scored with great invention and combined with sections of sarcasm and wit. The Stravinsky tone poem, Song of the Nightingale, is music taken from his opera, The Nightingale. It is a score of great brilliance and demands the utmost virtuosity from every player. Here, under the watchful eye of Fritz Reiner, the Chicago Symphony delivers the goods.(Anthony Kershaw, audiophilia classic, 2009)
There is no question that the Viennese stamp of genuineness has remained indelibly in Reiner's readings of the music of Vienna. And it is no coincidence that in Chicago, where the orchestra was founded by Theodore Thomas and led for many years by the late Frederick Stock, the spirit of Vienna is perpetuated by several Viennese-trained members of the orchestra.( Joseph Wechsberg )
Stirring readings of the two most popular of Respighi's three Roman tone poems by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner. The familiar compositions are performed with all their colors showing, and the record is sure to be in demand among both old and new collectors.(Billboard, 8 Aug 1960)
For a few decades now, Fritz Reiner's recording of the Verdi Requiem (one of his rare stereo recordings not made for RCA, and not with the Chicago Symphony) has lurked in the shadowy corners of Decca's catalog, appearing only on budget LPs and CD two-fers. Now, in its latest incarnation as part of the Decca Legends series, it may at last get the recognition it deserves. Reiner's rendition has several things going for it, not least of which are the superstar soprano and tenor soloists.
A delightful program of Strauss Waltzes played by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Fritz Reiner should help this album achieve strong sales in the classical field. Selections include "Artists' Life," "Vienna Blood," "Roses from the South" and the "Treasure Waltz." Sound is first rate and cover is attractive too.(Billboard, 17 Nov 1962)
For sheer intoxicating opulence of Straussian sound, it was something close to matchless music that brimmed and overflowed last night in Orchestra Hall. Fritz Reiner is a master of the genre, and when he came to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, rooted in the music from the time of its birth, he found a sensitive instrument he has made unique. When he stands before it with a Strauss score incandescent at his fingertips, no wise man stays at home.(Claudia Cassidy - The Chicago Tribune)
There are many great things to enjoy, but what really jumped out at me in this recording was Ravel’s astonishingly good orchestration. We’ve all heard the music umpteen times, and, like many comfortable things, we tend to take it for granted. Reiner and his heroes will refresh your memory of Ravel’s (and Moussorgsky’s) genius with unassailable playing and a rich interpretation. Like all great things, it just seems right. The magic continues with the warm recorded sound. The soundstage is wide if not deep, and imaging is similar to the hall perspective.(Anthony Kershaw - Audiophilia Classics)