Suggestions for CSO Solti

I’m greatly enjoying the Solti In London box set (cd) and disappointed I didn’t purchase the Solti CSO set when it was released. As I consider buying the CSO recordings individually I’d appreciate any suggestions on where to start.



Btw -

Solti in Europe (Decca 47 discs) - release date March 31, 2023

Decca presents the third in a trilogy of Solti releases which compliments the Solti/Chicago & Solti/London boxed sets . Solti (in) Europe. 45 CDs + 2 DVDs from his very first recording on Decca (as a pianist in 1947) to his last studio album made three months before his death (which were his very first recordings made in his native Hungary with Hungarian musicians).

The Rite of Spring is a no holds barred recording.  If you want to hear Solti’s CSO Brass in Full Cry, look no further.  I also really like some of his last CSO recordings, possibly because I attended the Concerts, but the Shostakovich 15th Symphony and Babi Yar are particularly notable, along with Shostakovich orchestral arrangement of Moussorgsky Songs and Dances of Death.  For Bruckner I would pick my favorite Bruckner Symphony, the Sixth, but all the Bruckner Symphonies are well done.  I am less enthusiastic about his Mahler, but the Sixth is feral, with the opening chords leaping from the speakers in attack mode.  The Fifth of course features the great CSO trumpet Adolph Herseth.

  I never sampled much of Solti/CSO second Beethoven Symphony cycle, which from the bits I heard sounded a bit glib.  The earlier seventies cycle was the second cycle that I bought in the lp days.  The real glories there were the Seventh and the Ninth, both of which are at the top of extremely competitive fields.  The rest of that set is a bit erratic.  I hated the Sixth back then, but listened to it recently and now it sounds more conventional; I think Solti must have been influenced by HIPP movement.  The real clinkers are the Eighth and surprisingly the Fifth, both of which I would have thought to be in Solti’s wheelhouse.  Just 3 days ago I played the BluRay of the Piano Concertos with Azhkhenazy, which are outstanding interpretively and sonically, revealing a wealth of color in the CSO strings.

  The ultimate Solti/CSO collaboration may be the Verdi Requiem, which Dies Irie will have you looking over your shoulder hoping the Grim Reaper isn’t coming for you.  Their Symphonie Fantastique will have you checking your speakers to make sure that a guillotined head isn’t rolling out of them