Two box sets which are no doubt familiar to many here.
Mravinsky, Erato box (11 or 12 CDs):
A few years ago, Mravinsky seemed to be highly regarded here,
in particular from some whose opinions I trusted. I picked up
two sets, this Erato and a Scribendum set of Moscow concerts.
I never got around to listening until now, ironically after a
recent largely-negative thread on the conductor. Anyway, I've
heard 6 CDs so far.
- Shostakovitch 5 and 12: 5 is IMO a great performance, while 12
seems more effective/attractive than in others I've heard.
- Shorter Russian works, including a terrific Francesca da Rimini.
- Beethoven 1, 3, 5 and 7: while 1 is fine, the others are rather
relentless, perhaps okay in 5, but it didn't work for me in 7,
and the beauty of quieter sections (especially the wondrous middle
part of the Eroica's funeral march) seems to get lost.
- Mozart 33 and 39: after the LvB I was surprised at how graceful
and attractive these were.
Hagen Quartet, complete Mozart quartets (7 CDs)
- First 3 CDs, the early works, starting with the familiar and
delightful Divertimenti K136-138 (well performed, although I
found the finale of K136 too fast), and then the (unfamiliar-to-me)
first 13 quartets. While the first 7 had some undistinguished
movements, many movements (especially the sllow ones, starting
right out with K80) were interesting and effective. And most
of K168-173 were winners in my book (even if not up to the
near-contemporaneous Op. 20 by the much older Haydn). A very
pleasant surprise. Performances were a good match to the music.