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GEORGE SZELL: THE WARNER RECORDINGS 1934-1970 (14 CDS)
GEORGE SZELL: THE WARNER RECORDINGS 1934-1970 (14 CDS)

GEORGE SZELL: THE WARNER RECORDINGS 1934-1970 (14 CDS)

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Limited 14 CD set.

George Szell's commitment to musical truth made him an intimidating figure - even among the other formidable conductors of the 20thcentury. His uncompromising quest for perfection drew performances of exalted quality from soloists and orchestras. In particular, his long tenure as the Cleveland Orchestra's music director (1946-1970) established it firmly as one of the world's great ensembles. This set encompasses Szell's entire HMV legacy. Beside such iconic recordings as Strauss's Vier letzte Lieder with Schwarzkopf, Brahms concertos with Oistrakh and Rostropovich, and the complete Beethoven piano concertos with Gilels, it includes several items making their first appearance on CD. Among these is an audio documentary which features rehearsals with Gilels and interviews with Szell and other distinguished figures.

Born in Budapest in 1897, Szell grew up in Vienna. A prodigious pianist and composer as a child, he later held conducting posts in Germany and Czechoslovakia, and his career in the USA, his home from 1939 to escape the Nazis, was furthered by none other than Arturo Toscanini.

According to author and critic Robert Layton, Szell is ‘A perfectionist with an extraordinary ear and remarkable memory, his performances exhibited great dramatic intensity, an astonishing discipline and fire, a selfless pursuit of musical truth and a complete absence of intrusive interpretative mannerisms.’

Szell’s greatest achievement was his stewardship of the Cleveland Orchestra which he took over in 1946, aged 49. Though the orchestra was the youngest and least fashionable of the American ‘big five’, it was Szell’s aim to make it ‘second to none’, and not only in the US. Hi success was such, it out-ran his death in 1970. As Christoph von Dohnányi observed two decades later: ‘When we give an outstanding concert abroad, George Szell gets a good review.’!

Though less voluminous than the Columbia ones, the complete recordings Szell made for EMI - now Warner - represent a significant part of his recorded legacy: Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder with Schwarzkopf, Brahms concertos with Oistrakh and Rostropovich, complete Beethoven piano concertos with Gilels, Dvořák 8th Symphony…

The set also includes the 78RPM era recordings among which the below make their first appearance on CD:

J. Strauss II Pizzicato Polka

Wagner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Act 1: Vorspiel

Weber Oberon – Overture

As a bonus, the box also includes an audio documentary, George Szell – A Memoir, which features rehearsals with Gilels and interviews with Szell, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and other distinguished figures.

Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
38:57
Bronisław Huberman (violin)
Wiener Philharmoniker
George Szell

I. Allegro ma non troppo (Cadenza by Joachim)
21:10

II. Larghetto
9:13

III. Rondo allegro (Cadenza by Joachim)
8:34


Lalo: Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21
24:36
Bronisław Huberman (violin)
Wiener Philharmoniker
George Szell

I. Allegro ma non troppo
7:13

II. Scherzando. Allegro molto
3:44

IV. Andante
5:55

V. Rondo. Allegro
7:44


Strauss, J, II: Strauss II - Waltzes
13:49
Wiener Philharmoniker
George Szell

An der schönen blauen Donau, Op. 314
9:11


Frühlingsstimmen, Op. 410
4:38

Strauss, J, II: Strauss, Jos. & Joh.: Pizzicato-Polka
2:10
Wiener Philharmoniker
George Szell

Strauss, J, II: Strauss II , J: Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, Op. 214
2:34
Wiener Philharmoniker
George Szell


Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15
47:20
Artur Schnabel (piano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
George Szell

I. Maestoso
20:58

II. Adagio
15:50

III. Rondo. Allegro non troppo
10:32

Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Act I: Prelude
8:34
London Philharmonic Orchestra
George Szell

Weber: Oberon Overture
8:18
London Philharmonic Orchestra
George Szell


Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 'Emperor'
37:24
Benno Moiseiwitsch (piano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
George Szell

I. Allegro
20:06

II. Adagio un poco mosso
7:54

III. Rondo. Allegro
9:24


Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 'From the New World'
38:40
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
George Szell

I. Adagio - Allegro molto
8:36

II. Largo
11:34

III. Scherzo. Molto vivace
7:53

IV. Finale. Allegro con fuoco
10:37


Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104
36:12
Pablo Casals (cello)
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
George Szell

I. Allegro
13:41

II. Adagio ma non troppo
10:34

III. Finale. Allegro moderato
11:57


Strauss, R: Four Letzte Lieder (4 Last Songs)

40:08
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
George Szell

Mozart: Ch'io mi scordi di te?... Non temer, amato bene, K505
11:14
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano), Alfred Brendel (piano)
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell

Mozart: Vado, ma dove? oh Dei!, K583
4:23
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell

Mozart: Alma grande e nobil core K578
4:30
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell

Mozart: Nehmt meinen Dank, ihr holden Gönner!, concert aria K383
3:58
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell

Strauss, R: 4 Lieder, Op. 27: No. 1, Ruhe, meine Seele
3:54
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell

Strauss, R: 6 Lieder, Op. 37: No. 3, Meinem Kinde
2:50
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell

Strauss, R: Wiegenlied, Op. 41 No. 1
4:45
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell

Strauss, R: 4 Lieder, Op. 27: No. 4, Morgen
3:46
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano), Edith Peinmann (violin)
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell

Strauss, R: 3 Lieder, Op. 88: No. 1, Das Bächlein
2:01
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell

Strauss, R: Das Rosenband, Op. 36 No. 1
3:13
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell

Strauss, R: 5 Lieder, Op. 48: No. 4, Winterweihe
3:21
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell


Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1899 version)
49:56
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
London Symphony Orchestra
George Szell


Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
35:44
Emil Gilels (piano)
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell

I. Allegro con brio
14:27

II. Largo
12:29

III. Rondo. Allegro scherzando
8:48


Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19
29:45
Emil Gilels (piano)
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell

I. Allegro con brio
14:17

II. Adagio
9:02

III. Rondo. Molto allegro
6:26


Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
35:53
Emil Gilels (piano)
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell

I. Allegro con brio
16:39

II. Largo
10:25

III. Rondo. Allegro
8:49


Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
34:36
Emil Gilels (piano)
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell

I. Allegro moderato
18:51

II. Andante con moto
5:46

III. Rondo. Vivace
9:59


Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 'Emperor'
39:48
Emil Gilels (piano)
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell

I. Allegro
20:16

II. Adagio un poco mosso
8:56

III. Rondo. Allegro
10:36


Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77
40:51
David Oistrakh (violin)
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell

I. Allegro non troppo (Cadenza by J. Joachim)
22:36

II. Adagio
9:38

III. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace
8:37


Brahms: Double Concerto for Violin & Cello in A minor, Op. 102
33:52
David Oistrakh (violin), Mstislav Rostropovich (cello)
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell

I. Allegro
17:02

II. Andante
7:55

III. Vivace non troppo
8:55


Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C major, D944 'The Great'
50:23
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell

I. Andante - Allegro ma non troppo
14:20

II. Andante con moto
14:31

III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace - Trio
9:47

IV. Finale. Allegro vivace
11:45


Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88
37:44
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell

I. Allegro con brio
10:50

II. Adagio
10:38

III. Allegretto grazioso - Molto vivace
6:42

IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
9:34

Dvořák: Slavonic Dances, Op. 72, B. 147: No. 2 in E Minor
6:05
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell

Dvořák: Slavonic Dances, Op. 46, B. 78: No. 3 in A-Flat Major
5:04
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell