In this collection of mid-'30s recordings of Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel and Don Juan, along with Mozart's Symphony No. 36, plus the overtures to Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, and Così fan tutte, Fritz Busch demonstrates why he was considered one of the great German conductors of the first half of the 20th century. Played by the London Philharmonic, Busch's Don Juan is ravishingly beautiful and almost unbearably exciting. With the BBC Symphony, his Till Eulenspiegel is incredibly colorful and his Symphony No. 36 is amazingly majestic. The Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra brings ideal characterizations to Busch's trio of Mozart overtures, and the Don Giovanni overture is unrelentingly exhilarating. In every instance, the orchestras play with amazing technical assurance; the unity of the LPO's violins in the opening of Don Juan, and the BBC's strings in the symphony's closing Presto are prime examples. At the time, only Toscanini and Weingartner could achieve comparable excellence. With Guild's clean, detailed, and vivid transfers, this disc should be heard by everyone who remembers the old days, and by anyone who wants to know why the old days are so often referred to as the good old days.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Symphony No. 36 in C major ('Linz'), KV 425|
|Don Giovanni, KV 527|
|Le nozze di Figaro, KV 492|
|Così fan tutte, KV 588|