Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21, Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
Paul Paray, conductor
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Pressing: US, dark maroon, Colorback
Price range: $32-40, mean $37 on popsike
Comments: When I first picked up this album from a record store in Chicago, I really wanted to like it. I'd been looking for it for a while. Cool cover. However, years later, it is not my go-to album for Beethoven's first two symphonies. Why? Well, the performances are pretty fine, don't get me wrong. The Detroiters play with passion. Tempos are swift. It's the recording quality that places it in Mercury's mediocre category. The sound is very thin sounding. I think the mikes are close up, so you have that very close-up immediate sound (as if you are standing with the conductor) which is intrinsic to a number of the Mercury recordings. With Beethoven, I prefer to hear more of a hall acoustic. So, for the sound quality, this is somewhat disappointing. Unless you find it cheap, go for the Szell, Walter, Klemperer, Karajan, or Bernstein recordings.