- Audio CD (15 Jan 2001)
- SPARS Code: ADD
- Number of Discs: 4
- Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
- Label: Deutsche Grammophon
- ASIN: B00004ZB9I
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 812,157 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Unlike the smoothly flowing performances of, say, Colin Davis, Celibidache's reading of No. 2 moves in fits and starts, drifts into remoteness, but ultimately overwhelms with glowing legato. While Osmo Vänskä's fresh account of the Fifth is a favourite, Celibidache's knocks one out with the work's grandeur. In the first movement, he achieves a gigantic climax. His Allegro molto is steadier than most, but, yet again, the build-up in tension is mesmerising. The grinding dissonances of the ending slow up until time seems to stand still. The orchestra was said to have marvelled at the way he turned the famous theme into an 'endless stream of song', and indeed it soars on wings as if it could glide on forever. Old-fashioned it may be, but also revelatory.
Other treasures are a dreamlike Till Eulenspiegel, a blistering Don Juan and a Franck Symphony, which he ennobles with a performance of vast range. This set also contains Jacqueline du Pre's no-holds-barred Dvorák Cello Concerto (also available on Teldec) in which conductor and soloist do ravishing justice to the work. The distortions are forgivable, coming as they do from raw emotion, but the noises off in the hall are less easy to ignore.
© BBC Music Magazine 2001