These are classic interpretations that have long stood the test of time and still retain an authenticity and freshness after almost 50 years of their recording. Horenstein is one of the giants in both these composers, and these are the occasions in which he was at his very best.
Mahler's First was recorded with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in 1953. The dashing swagger that informs the First movement may also be found in Barbirolli's almost contemporaneous recording with the Hallé in 1957, but the VSO are slightly more involved. I also enjoyed the marvellous Finale that is taken at a leisurely pace which informs the music with largesse and grandeur. Although the recording is not top class, the whole recording is really a legend.
Bruckner's 9th Symphony is similarly involving and this is one of those intrinsically classic versions, full of beauty and epic grandeur. Comparable to Walter, Haitink and the expansive Mehta, another recent reissue on Decca Legends, Horenstein is swift, yet also very trenchant. The recording is a trifle rough but otherwise this is one of the greatest Adagios ever recorded.
Vox has reissued all the extensive notes and documentation that were part of the original LPs. For this alone, they are to be commended.
Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech