BEETHOVEN:  Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 (recorded April 4, 1937).  Symphony No. 6 in F, Op. 68 "Pastorale" (recorded December 2, 1937)
TELDEC LEGACY 28408 (F) (AAD) TT:  67:45

STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 (recorded April 21, 1941). Don Juan, Op. 20 (recorded November 8, 1938).  Till Eulenspiegel's Lustige Streiche, Op. 28 (recorded January 13, 1941).
Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, Willem Mengelberg, cond.  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Clemens Krauss, cond. (Till)

TELDEC LEGACY 28409 (F) (AAD)  TT:  74:00

Teldec has previously issued many of Willem Mengelberg's Telefunken recordings. In 1993 a limited series of CDs appeared in moderately successful transfers—although no  transfer credits  were given.  The transfer for Heldenleben (243 729) was odd--it sounded like a dub of the old Capitol LP--with a few 33 1/3 rpm clicks.  But all of these initial CD transfers have long disappeared and, fortunately, first-rate carefully remastered transfers of all of Mengelberg's commercial recordings are being issued; you'll find reviews on this site.Teldec  presumably has access to the cleanest masters and we have a right to expect the best from them—unfortunately somewhere along the way something went wrong. 

Ted Kendall is credited with "transfers and digital remastering" for the Beethoven symphonies.  Perhaps his original work has been tampered with in the processing to CD, but there is a decided lack of high frequencies (no one could ever say Mengelberg's Telefunken recordings sounded dull, but they do here) and bass is murky and undefined.  The Strauss collection is a mixed bag sonically.  Clemens Krauss's Till is an outstanding transfer that belies its age.  Reliable Brian Krimp made the transfer of Mengelberg's 1938 Don Juan (recorded November 8th according to Teldec's cover credits,  November 9th according to Jan van Bart's Discografie van het Concertgebouworkest -- many of the recording dates are different from those provided by Teldec).  Sound for Don Juan is spectacularly good.  But the transfer of Heldenleben leaves everything to be desired.  High frequencies are limited and there is an overall dull sonic picture.  The earlier Teldec 1993 release sounded far better than this.  Seth B. Winner Sound Studios did the transfers for both Till and Heldenleben.  As stated above, the transfer for Till is superb -- so what could have gone wrong with Heldenleben?  Winner Studios have done some of the finest Mengelberg transfers in the past (i.e.Pearl 9154 containing Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Berlioz and Borodin).  Perhaps Teldec subjected the final tape to excessive filtering?  But only on Heldenleben?  Strange indeed.  The LYS CD of Heldenleben (418) (reviewed on this site) is superb even though they didn't even attempt to join the two 78 rpm sides in the battle scene -- Teldec does, with moderate success).

Perhaps future issues in the Teldec series will be of higher technical quality.  But surely if you are interested in Mengelberg's Beethoven symphony Telefunken recordings you will want to wait for the announced Pearl set that contains all of them (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8) in transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn.

R.E.B. (Aug. 2001)