The forty-page booklet featuring an essay from an unexpected source: Karajan biographer Richard Osborne.
Osborne compares the New York and Vienna Philharmonics in Bernstein’s two Beethoven sets.
Surprisingly, he comes out in favor of New York:
“the [New York] Philharmonic never edited out Bernstein’s input, as a decade later the Vienna Philharmonic, protective of their long-established Beethoven tradition, was inclined to do.
Like their Austrian colleagues, the New Yorkers had been playing the Beethoven Symphonies since the 1840s. In New York, however, there was no danger of this famously iconoclastic orchestra treating the mighty nine as some sacred family heirloom.”