There were occasions during the three decades when the LP record ruled supreme – from the 1950s to the 1970s – when the chemistry between an orchestra, its conductor and their record company combined to work a magic that the commitment of long-term recording contracts quite often made possible. Karajan and the Philharmonia; Ansermet and the Suisse Romande; Dorati and the Minneapolis; Münch and the Boston Symphony, Cluytens and the Paris Conservatoire and Previn and the London Symphony are all prime examples of such collaborations. All of these produced recorded performances that are as fine today as they ever were and are all well-represented in the current CD catalogues. Until now there has been one successful recording collaboration that seems almost to have slipped under the radar: the Pittsburgh Symphony, William Steinberg and the Capitol Records producer, Richard C. Jones.
This set of 20 CDs presents virtually everything that was recorded by Steinberg during the seven years that he recorded for Capitol: from the Schubert Second Symphony, recorded on 9 February 1952, to the Italian Serenade by Wolf, from 16 April 1959. There are some exceedingly good performances in this set and the recordings show that Capitol Records were at the technical forefront when it came to sound quality and production values.
The earlier recordings were, of course, made in mono and come up surprisingly well on CD. From 1956 onwards the recordings were made in stereo. There are a selection of recordings, both mono and stereo, that are here being released on CD for the first time.
Also included are the recordings of Strauss that Steinberg and Jones made with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, in June 1957.
Getting to know these wonderful 1950s recordings from a conductor who, perhaps, didn't always get the critical acclaim that was his due, will be an exciting and rewarding experience for any prospective purchaser.