More determined than doughty, Kurt Masur's 1973 recording of Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig is more than acceptable but less than endorsable. More slapstick than subtle, Masur's 1974 recording of Beethoven's Eighth Symphony with the same orchestra is more than tolerable but less than enjoyable. Philips released neither recording in the United States during the LP era except as special imports and issued them here on CD only at budget price. But while Masur and the Gewandhaus' performances have not improved, the sound has. By returning to the original tapes, what was once warm and clear stereo sound is now revealed as warmer, clearer quadraphonic sound. On this super audio CD, Masur's "Eroica" and Eighth, while still not great performances by any stretch of the imagination, now sound like great recordings with a depth and openness that rival and may even surpass the finest made today. There are dozens of better performance of these works, but no better recordings. James Leonard, All Music Guide
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