C1582. ARTURO TOSCANINI Cond. NYPO: The Victor Records Restored, Vol. I, incl. Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Rossini, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Verdi, Dukas & Wagner. (Canada) 3-Immortal Performances IPCD 1087, recorded 1929-36, Victor. Restoration by Richard Caniell. Includes 34pp Booklet w.notes by John Sullivan & Richard Caniell. - 752830574830
"We're fortunate that these precious recordings have been well served by sound restoration artists who specialize in historic material. I am familiar with three previous comprehensive reissues of the Toscanini-NYP recordings. The first is a 1989 Pearl set, remastered by Mark Obert-Thorn. Obert-Thorn also remastered the recordings for Naxos Historical (released 2001), a set that includes numerous alternative takes, as well as a 1931 concert performance of the Beethoven Fifth (all of the issues under discussion feature a 1933 concert Beethoven Fifth). Ward Marston remastered the recordings for the official RCA Red Seal release, most recently as part of the 2012 Arturo Toscanini: The Complete RCA Collection. Both Obert-Thorn and Marston achieve predictably brilliant results in their restorations, each providing a worthy representation of these great recordings. Still, there are perceptible differences. The Pearl set has lovely warmth, detail, and balance, but the tuttis are a bit compressed. That latter aspect is improved in the subsequent Naxos Historical set.
The RCA set, however, has more immediacy and presence than the Pearl and Naxos releases, but the sound becomes a bit more strident in the higher frequencies and climaxes. I think Richard Caniell has achieved the best of both worlds in his new restoration for Immortal Performances. Caniell remasterings have a marvelous warmth, spaciousness and detail, coupled with impressive (and often hair-raising) presence and impact in the grand orchestral moments. I must emphasize that in comparing the various restorations, we are dealing uniformly with achievements of the highest level. That said, the new Immortal Performances set becomes my first choice to hear the great Toscanini-NYP recordings in all their sonic glory.
The accompanying booklet for the Immortal Performances set includes documentary information on the various recordings, as well as insightful essays by John Sullivan and Richard Caniell. In sum, if you are looking for the most complete representation of the Toscanini-NYP recordings, the Naxos Historical reissue is self-recommending. For the finest sonic representation of these unique, glorious recordings, the front-runner in a most impressive field is Immortal Performances."
- Ken Meltzer, FANFARE, Nov./Dec., 2017