“No more important document exists of the musical career of Georg Solti, one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century, than Decca’s newly issued boxed set (108 CDs) of the complete recordings he made as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, from the start of his tenure in 1969 to his unexpected death in 1997,” writes John von Rhein in Tuesday’s (12/12) Chicago Tribune. “In the book ‘Memoirs’ … Sir Georg describes his 22 years as artistic chief of the ensemble he made world-famous as ‘the happiest time in my professional life.’ It was a happy period as well for the orchestra musicians, the concert public and the city whose cultural image he burnished, if not transformed, here and abroad, through the sinewy strength and powerhouse brilliance he kicked up in the musical blockbusters that became his signature.” Among cited highlights of the collection are a “warmly lyrical account” of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger in 1995; the Mahler Eighth Symphony in Vienna in 1971; Strauss tone poems; Schoenberg’s opera Moses und Aron; Tippett’s Fourth Symphony; Handel’s Messiah; Bach’s B minor Mass and St. Matthew Passion; and a Beethoven piano concerto cycle with Vladimir Ashkenazy from 1971 and 1972.

Posted December 13, 2017

In photo: Georg Solti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, early 1970s. Photo courtesy Gary Stucka