It’s my album of the week on sinfinimusic.com, and there’s a lot to beat out there:
The set faces testing competition, starting with Rattle’s 1990s Birmingham cycle for EMI-Warner and Herbert von Karajan’s 1970s Berlin cycle for DG. In one important respect, there is no comparison: for tonal beauty and playing skill, this set outshines the other two by a factor of laser to gaslight.
The current Berlin Philharmonic are a crack ensemble who deliver precision music making at high power. Birmingham sounds stressed in contrast and Karajan’s Berliners cautious. The playing here is massively impressive, almost overwhelming on the open roads of the Second Symphony. Not much can beat the sensual pleasure of listening to this kind of aural perfection.
Read on here.