This set was very strongly praised in various quarters when it first appeared and I have to say that the assessments were absolutely right. When I first started buying classical LPs many decades ago as a teenager, Silvestri's was a name which would pop up with considerable frequency, but as it wasn't that of one of the 'great men of the podium' I was being encouraged to see as supreme (Toscanini, Klemperer, Walter, etc) then (in my ignorance) I assumed that he was OK but run of the mill. He was the conductor on the first recording of the Beethoven violin concerto I bought (with Menuhin as soloist) and also it was his Shostakovich 5 which I listened to (endlessly) for years. He was allowed to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic, so he couldn't have been bad -- but that was about it. Now that I possess much more experienced ears, and an infinitely better hi-fi system, I can hear that he was actually pretty marvellous.
His performances, without exception in this large collection, are hugely well prepared, his orchestras playing with tremendous attack and precision. There is a constant freshness in the playing, even when the pieces are utterly familiar and run of the mill. He was clearly alert to everything which is going on within an orchestral texture and careful in balancing all the different strands, so that extra richness and life emerges from the orchestration. Balanced, too, is his response to the opportunities both to press vigorously ahead but also to let music which is slow and lyrical make its mark. You can feel the conviction and clarity of intention in everything he does. Of the many works in this box, I found that only two made me bored and restless: Sheherazade (which surely lasts far too long, despite the nice tunes?) and the Shostakovich 5 (which I'd listened to far too much when young!). Particular highlights for me were the Dvorak symphonies, the Liszt tone poems, the two Stravinsky works, the Symphonie fantastique, and the English works on disc 14.
The recordings mostly date from the late 1950s and early-ish 1960s, though one or two date from 1967-8. They are mostly so good, and so well re-mastered, that they sound as if they were recorded last week. So if you are tempted, don't hesitate!