SONY 533636 (65 disks)

This is an incredible feast for collectors! The great New York Philharmonic, founded in 1842, made its first acoustic recording in the early '20s, and many of these early recordings are included in this important set. Of course there are no recordings by the many early music directors of the orchestra (these included Theodore Eisfeld, Carl Bergman Walter Damrosch and Gustav Mahler).. All of the music directors from that time on made recordings, and many of these re included. 20 have never before been issued on CD, and 15 are the first authorized releases. All have been remastered from original sources with optimum udio qualiuty. The first CD includes Willem Mengelberg's 1928 performance of Strauss's Ein Heldenleben, still one of the finest recordings of this music which was dedicated to the Dutch conductor. Audio quality in this recording made in Carnegie Hall is a miracle. We have several other Mengelberg recordings as well as one by Josef Stravinsky, who was briefly was music director. Of course Arturo Toscanini is featured, music of Rossini, Wagner, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven—proving that the NYP was one of the great orchestras at that time. John Barbirolli conducts Schubert, Brahms, Sibelius, and Ravel, Sir Thomas Beecham is represented by Strauss, Don Quixote, and Igor conducts his Sacre du printemps (the work many yeas later would be recorded by Leonard Bernstein). Artur Rodzinski leads Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Wagner and Sibelius.. Oscar Levant's brilliant playing of Gershwin's concerto is there. Bruno Walter figures prominently in Beethoven, Mahler,Dvorák,and Mozart. Leopold Stokowski conducts Wagner, Messiaen, and Vaughan Williams. Dimitri Mitropoulos by many varied workd: Borodin, Gould, Saint-Saëns, Skalkattos, Berg. Schoenberg, Krenek, Sscriabin, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich,and Prokofiev. Then begins the Leonard Bernstein era, and of course many of his recordings are featured, along with varied repertory by other later conductors: Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta, and Kurt Masur.

There is a handsome 164-page booklet that gives comprehensive recording information and original release numbers. In 2002, R.D. wrote a comprehensive review of the special New York Philharmonic Historic Broadcasts 1923 - 1987 set which is a treasure for collectors, although no longer available. Check this FEATURE. Also of interest is another NYP special issue,also reviewed by R.D. on this site in 1999, New York Philharmonic - The Mahler Broadcasts - 1948 - 1982 (REVIEW).

This new Anniversary Edition sells at budget price - an incredible bargain for collectors. Doubtless it will be a limited edition so get it before it disappears.

R.E.B. (April 2017)