on 25 December 2013
If you find Celibidache's EMI Bruckner Symphonies set tedious then don't bother to read further.
However, if you enjoy the measured and stately approach he takes in that set then you will likely find much to like about this compilation of sacred and opera music.
While I like Celibidache's slow Bruckner I also like others' Bruckner such as Karajan, Giulini, Knappertsbusch, Maazel, Furtwangler and Tennstedt - so I'm not one of those feared "only Celi knows how to do Bruckner" types!
I bought this primarily for the works I know: Requiems by Verdi, Brahms and Mozart and these readings are quite different to the my usual choices of Guilini, Karajan, Klemperer and Solti (I don't have any affinity with the "new age/18th century/HIP" versions).
The other works on this set also will be listened to more carefully. A quick listen indicates that the opera works and the Stravinsky are going to be enjoyed.
In these longer versions of the Requiems details emerge more clearly and the works take on an more revered and Ecclesiastical tone (said without apologies!)
However, whether this dimension resonates with you or not you will, I believe, see a lot of merit in the way Celibidache effortlessly unfolds these magnificent pieces. For me, these compliment rather than replace any of my favourites.
Update: 28 September 2014
Having now listened to the complete album I have no hesitation in increasing my star rating.
The Mendelssohn and Smetana are glorious, the Italian overtures beautifully played with the reverence one would expect of the maestro. The Stravinsky proved to be the joy I expected it to be and I still know nothing of Weber, so cannot comment on this Oberon.
But it is the Wagner that has captured me: Celibidache's approach to the Wagner works embodies everything Celi fans love about the man's conducting: measured and magnificent at a pace that just feels right.
And I say as an owner of the Wagner excerpts by Furtwangler, Klemperer, Tennstedt, Maazel and Karajan: all of which I love.
If you love them too then get this set, if only for the Wagner interpretations. The bonus will be finding other works in this set that are also well worth having.