"A well-chosen selection of concert overtures is the spine of this latest installment on Naxos' Great Conductors series. Der Freischutz has an elastic sense of narrative, plentiful rubati and rich lower strings whilst in Euryanthe Mengelberg conjures overlapping string lines and indulges little agogics, intensely theatrical and dramatic. He demonstrates a real sense of paragraphal conducting, encouraging a lighter weight of string tone and conjuring up evocative pictorialism - basses of real amplitude and puncturing brass.
The trumpet of The Damnation of Faust rings out thrillingly, cellos and violas play with pliancy, the burning basses coruscate, the syntax of the work is certainly stretched taut by Mengelberg but triumphantly so. This defiant and magnificent 1929 recording sounds ringingly triumphant in Naxos's restoration; in fact the whole disc does. Ian Julier's notes strike his usual intelligent balance between fact and judgement. Exciting, revivifying stuff."