Among the great Austro-German conductors, Carl Schuricht (1880-1967) is not easy to classify. On one side were the highly subjective, "romantic" conductors like Furtwangler, Abendroth, Kabasta, Max Fiedler, and Knappertsbusch. At the other extreme were the more objective, literal and "modern" Richard Strauss, Weingartner, Kleiber and Rosbaud. Schuricht's art occupies a "middle ground," with occasional leanings in both directions. This was also largely the case with Bongartz, Konwitschny, Krauss, Lehmann, and Scherchen.
The main attraction here is the superb Bruckner 8th on Disc 2. It is my favorite stereo account and it ranks among the greatest- ever recordings of the work. My other favorites here are the 1949 Furtwangler (Testament), Horenstein (BBC), Knappertsbusch (Tahra), Kempe (Somm - especially the slow mvt., which I prefer to Schuricht's), and Beinum (Philips or MHS).
The selections on Disc 1 are somewhat of a mixed bag. The Hebrides Overture is a fine reading, although I don't think it really challenges the classic Maag and Furtwangler accounts. This Schubert 8th with the VPO is not Schuricht at his best. When his regular producer Victor Olof quit Decca to join up with another label, he was replaced by the rather egocentric John Culshaw, with whom Schuricht did not get along. This 8th is said to have had umpteen rehearsals, and the result is rather static and dull. A FAR greater live account can be heard on Music & Arts 1094. EMI should have offered instead Schuricht's superb 1949 Beethoven 5th with the Paris Conservatory - a GREAT reading that is currently only available in poor transfers on "bootleg" CD labels.
The Beethoven 1st is from Schuricht's complete Beethoven set, which is still available on French EMI. Too bad the superior VPO First, once on a ten-inch London LP, wasn't chosen instead - it's probably my favorite performance of the work. But I certainly have no objections to the excellent Haffner - Schuricht's straight but nicely nuanced account is fully in accord with this work's delightfully sunny good nature.
Broader representations of Schuricht's mastery are available on two 10-disc sets, one from History (I have reviewed it here at Amazon) and the other on Scribendum (available at Amazon UK). Also very much worth exploring is a series of live concert performances on the Swiss CD label Archiphon. Like Ancerl and Furtwangler, Schuricht in live performance was a more inspired and expressive conductor than he was in the studio.