Great Conductors

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Even though the cover provides no listing of the maestros included on Great Conductors, be assured that this double disc from Worldstar actually contains historic recordings by some of the most famous conductors of the twentieth century. As a result of changing recording technology, these performances by Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, Otto Klemperer, Clemens Krauss, Bruno Walter, and nine other conductors have highly uneven reproduction and varying degrees of clarity, so listeners should be prepared to hear a mix of murky recordings and others that aren't too bad for their time. Unfortunately, there are neither liner notes nor even a listing of dates for the sessions, so there's no way to tell from the table of contents which recordings are truly antiquated and which are closer to contemporary standards. Suffice it to say that all the tracks are somewhat deficient, except for the first movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 8, led by Roger Norrington, which seems modern and sounds quite good. But worse than the audio problems is the scrambled order of tracks on disc 2, which bears no relation to the insert and will throw off listeners unacquainted with the composers or their pieces. This set may be of limited interest to hunters of obscure recordings -- good luck identifying the sources! -- though others will find it almost unlistenable and hard to tolerate for its sloppy production.

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