Post by Mark Obert-Thorn Post by Johannes Roehl
I think Ozawa is almost as complete as one can get the music on disc. It's certainly "more complete" than the recordings with Fricsay, Maag and another one or two I have.
Jeffrey Tate and the Rotterdam Philharmonic recorded a two disc set of Midsummer Night's Dream with the Peter Hall Company, released on EMI and Brilliant. Jaime Laredo also recorded a two disc set with actors and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on Nimbus. I have not followed along with the text, so I cannot swear that each has the complete play and music. The spoken voices are somewhat below the volume of the music. (BTW, I don't care for either.)
If I want to listen to the play itself, I go to the Caedmon version, which was released on CD. Some day I will pull the Argo version out of the Shakespeare box. For the Mendelssohn, I second the recommendation for Litton and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in the Eminence box. I also like Rafael Frühbeck De Burgos with the New Philharmonia Orchestra on Eloquence. There are fourteen tracks for Midsummer Night's Dream on the CD, along with two overtures under Ansermet.
There is an audio book quality to Judi Dench's narration for Ozawa. If I want to hear Midsummer Night's Dream with some dialogue, I listen to the Nelson recording, which I find magical. I would like to listen to Sargent's 1954 BBC SO recording, but I was once burned at the Pristine Classical site. I was looking for the recording of Mendelssohn's Symphony #3 and #5 under Mitropoulos. The audio sample was corrupted: it made an extremely high pitched shrieking noise. My ears rang for days. I wrote to Mr. Rose, who was rather nonchalant about my experience. (I was told that the dangerous clip had been replaced, but I can't bring myself to listen to the transfers on the site.)