Very few great conductors were able to polarise the concert scene like the Romanian-born Sergiu Celibidache (1912-1996). He hated marketing in all of its forms, and with the exception of Wilhelm Furtwängler, was disparaging of his more famous fellow conductors, including Herbert von Karajan and Arturo Toscanini. He also loathed going into the studio, so most recordings illustrating his astounding talents as a conductor are of concert performances.
The recordings featured in this 10-CD set were made between 1945 and 1963, and are mainly live broadcasts given with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Radio Symphony Orchestras of Berlin and Cologne, and a number of Italian radio orchestras. The repertoire ranges widely - from the English baroque of Purcell through Viennese Classicism of Mozart to Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Strauss. The compilation also features several popular works from the 20th century (Ravel, Gershwin and Samuel Barber for instance), plus music by Reinhard Schwarz-Schilling and Harald Genzmer associated with the German avant-garde. The least-known pieces are undoubtedly orchestral works of Heinz Thiessen (1887-1971), Celibidache’s composition teacher, to whom a full disc is devoted.
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.