This product of the mysterious Archipel label (no website, no location given, no sources indicated for the recordings) is a historical reissue, including two performances by the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra under conductor Günter Wand in the early '50s. Despite 24-bit remastering, the sound is no great shakes; perhaps the recordings originated as radio broadcasts. Both performances, however, are worth the attention of historical-recording buffs. Wand has a distinctive sound in the Beethoven Mass in C major, Op. 86, combining fast, urgent tempos with a rich sound elicited from the Cologne Radio Choir. The mass features a quartet of little-known but impressive German soloists. Wand also proves an excellent foil for pianist Walter Gieseking in the Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54, pushing the tempo once again and requiring a full complement of Gieseking's characteristically fluid, silvery tone. It's an unusually stirring performance of this concerto, and Gieseking fans especially will find it a worthwhile rarity.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Mass in C major, Op. 86|
|Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54|