In the golden age of orchestral recording – the 1950s cusp between mono and stereo – American labels piled into London and Vienna after an aggressive union priced their own musicians out of work. At Abbey Road, players worked 30 days on the trot, three sessions a day, to feed a burgeoning market for classical music. In Vienna, the Philharmonic (exclusively contracted to Decca) performed under six different names for other labels.
If you're a lover of chamber music then you can't do any better than this amazing 59 CD set. The overall price is steep but it averages out to be less than $5 per CD. Couple that with the truly legendary performances offered here and you have an incredible bargain that will not be around for long. The Westminster record label (1949-1965) was justly famous for it's "Natural Balance" recorded sound which was primarily the combined effort of producer Dr. Kurt List and engineer Karl Wohlleitner. Centered in Vienna, they had access to some of the finest chamber musicians in the world through the city's various orchestras.
This 1972 studio recording is the ultimate Tales Of Hoffman. The recording was originally an LP on the ABC label in the Westminster Legacy issues, but digitally remastered and edited for cd by Deutsche Grammophon. Deutsche Grammophone cd labels are famous for remastering legendary and classic recordings of classical music and opera and they have outdone themselves again with this one. It features virtuoso singers at the top of their game and the orchestra is directed under the baton of the seasoned conductor Julius Rudel.