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Not Szell doing 2. My favorite will be my first EMI or Columbia I run into.
I've got all the Szells on Columbia SAX -- these are landmark recordings. The SAX with Sym 1 and 4 has YAX stampers and not Epic BC stampers, so I'm pretty sure it was remastered or repressed by EMI. The 2 CD remaster on Sony has excellent sound. Here are my other favorite cycles:James Levine with the Philadelphia Orchestra -- RCADaniel Barenboim with the Berlin Staatskapelle -- Teldec/WarnerI have not yet heard the Wolfgang Sawallisch recording with the Dresden Staatskapelle, but that one is also considered a reference recording.
My favorite recording of individual Schumann symphony:Schumann Symphony No 1, New Philharmonia, Klemperer, Columbia SAX 5269,(Semicircle)Schumann Symphony No. 2 - VPO, Sinopoli DG 410863-1Schumann Symphony No.3, LAPO, GIULINI DG 2532040Schumann Symphony No.4 BPO, Furtwangler DG, LPE 17 170 (10 inches Tulip)
Thank you for your input! I'm pleasantly surprised to see you list Klemperer's recording. That's not one of the "usual" responses, but I like it. I've not heard the Sinopoli 2nd but have heard Giulini's 3rd. That Furtwangler must be pretty rare, yes?