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Great Conductors of the 20th Century Vol.07 - Ferenc Fricsay

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Great Conductors of the 20th Century Vol.07 - Ferenc Fricsay

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CD1
01. Dukas- The Sorcerer's Apprentice (10:42)
02. Kodaly- Dances of Galanta (17:47)
03. Shostakovich- Symphony No 9- I. Allegro (5:04)
04. Shostakovich- Symphony No 9- II. Moderato (5:16)
05. Shostakovich- Symphony No 9- III. Presto (2:54)
06. Shostakovich- Symphony No 9- IV. Largo (2:41)
07. Shostakovich- Symphony No 9- V. Allegretto (6:04)
08. Hindemith- Symphonic Metamorphosis- I. Allegro (3:40)
09. Hindemith- Symphonic Metamorphosis- II. Moderato (7:32)
10. Hindemith- Symphonic Metamorphosis- III. Andantino (3:19)
11. Hindemith- Symphonic Metamorphosis- IV. Marsch (4:41)
12. Strauss, Johann- Kunstlerleben (9:49)

Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (1)
Wiener Philharmoniker (2)
RIAS-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (3-12)

CD2
01. Beethoven- Leonore Overture No 3 (16:23)
02. Beethoven- Symphony No 3- I. Allegro con brio (17:12)
03. Beethoven- Symphony No 3- II. Marcia funebre. Allegro assai (19:06)
04. Beethoven- Symphony No 3- III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace (7:05)
05. Beethoven- Symphony No 3- IV. Finale. Allegro molto (13:19)
06. Mozart- Overture to Cosi fan tuttte (4:22)

RIAS-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (1-6)

Ferenc Fricsay – conductor

 

It's sad that the "Great Conductors of the 20th Century" reissue series has not gotten more notice ... because it has my vote for the best reissue program thus far of the 21st Century. Drawing from the archives of all the major classical labels (EMI, Sony, BMG, DG, Decca, Philips, Supraphon, etc.), EMI and IMG Artists have assembled a wonderful series of affordable two-disc sets by the leading conductors of the last century. And unlike its counterpart, "The Great Pianists of the 20th Century," which are basically compilations of material already available on other CDs, the "Great Conductors" features rare and, for the most part, previously unreleased performances!

This particular CD, Volume 7, features the great Ferenc Fricsay, who died tragically young at the age of 48 in 1963. Thankfully stereo recording processes had been available for nearly ten years, so Fricsay has left us with a wealth of great performances. His albums of Beethoven Symphonies, the Dvorak "New World", and Bartok Piano Concertos are still regarded as definitive. What has been collected in this two disc set though is not his legendary studio recordings, but some equally excellent live performances, all but one with his beloved Berlin RSO. It is a delight to hear Fricsay tackle 20th Century masterpieces by Kodaly, Shostakovich and Hindemith on disc one, then dive into more standard fare with Beethoven and Mozart on disc two. The fact that half of these performances are in mono is not a distraction -- the sound is excellent throughout the collection.

Whether you are a serious collector of classical music or a beginner, the "Great Conductors of the 20th Century" has something for everyone. If the prized, rare performances previously unreleased on CD (or ever!) doesn't excite you, then use this as an opportunity to check out one of the greatest conductors ever recorded. Since stores are offering increasingly homogenized classical music sections, this conductor may not be in your collection, and that would truly be a shame. ---Michael B. Richman

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