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James A. Altena
Fanfare, September 2012

Regarding the two Beethoven symphonies…These pieces were jewels of Steinberg’s repertoire, particularly the Eighth, a piece with a surfeit of lackluster recordings but one in which this conductor always achieved exemplary results. In both works…Steinberg is brisk but not brusque, and straightforward but not metronomic…The orchestral sound has weight…with emphasis placed instead on crispness, clarity of line, and audibility of inner voices, characteristics particularly appropriate for both works. Beethoven’s rough-hewn humor is given its full due…

Thankfully, releases such as this one…give this artist of great integrity proper appreciation. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, July 2012

…there are so many wonderful things that stand out, for instance the lilt and charm of his Haydn performance…there is a wealth of detail, and that charming bounce…in the Beethoven Seventh…there is a wonderful sense of life and urgency. Steinberg…knew what he was doing and he produced lively, luminous performances.

…Steinberg’s orchestra has clarity—certainly more clarity than his predecessor, Erich Leinsdorf, was able to produce. Listen to the splendid finale of the Beethoven Seventh, for instance; the orchestra almost sounds as if it’s bursting at the seams with joy and excitement.

The orchestra sounds in altogether better shape in the 1962 Beethoven Eighth, presented as a “bonus” performance. There’s more energy flowing from him to the orchestra; you can actually see it happening.

All in all…this is a marvelous time capsule for those of us who appreciated William Steinberg for what he was and could do… © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Christopher Howell
MusicWeb International, June 2012

Great things had been expected of Steinberg, who had been assistant to both Klemperer and Toscanini and was famed as an orchestra builder. It is therefore interesting to have at least one early colour video of him in action with the orchestra during his tenure, plus a guest appearance from somewhat earlier, filmed in black and white.

Steinberg’s four performances of Haydn’s Symphony no.55 in 1969 are apparently the only ones the orchestra has given of this work. Unlike Munch conducting no.98 in 1960, Steinberg has a harpsichord, particularly active in the slow movement. This sounds big-band Haydn today but is slimmed-down by the light of its times. It’s all very neat, buoyant and nicely phrased.

The Beethoven symphonies are resolved with swift tempi, clean textures and clear phrasing. The effect is again buoyant rather than driven. Many conductors who take the first movement of no.7 swiftly are unable to maintain proper articulation of the dotted rhythms right through. The beginning of the development is a danger point where even Reiner falters. Steinberg is one of the best I’ve heard from this point of view.

I’m sure purchasers will enjoy this video…Useful documentation of a conductor whose time with the orchestra was short. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review, April 2012

the warmth and precision of the orchestra come through—visually even more than aurally. Steinberg’s personal warmth shines as well: almost alone among conductors of his time, he sought a genuine partnership with orchestral musicians, a kind of cooperative music-making that went against the then-common grain of dictatorial conducting and that frequently elicited a commitment from the musicians that resulted in great beauties of performance. Steinberg was not particularly noted as a Haydn conductor, and his rather overly Romantic interpretation of the Symphony No. 55 seems distinctly old-fashioned today. He was, however, known for his Beethoven, and if the versions heard here are not as crisp and rhythmically decisive as some others, they feature lovely flow and often a greater helping of exuberance than one usually hears in Beethoven. This is a DVD for fans of Steinberg and lovers of the Boston Symphony—no truly classic performances here, but some very fine ones that display the individual touches of a skilled conductor known far more for his years with the Pittsburgh Symphony than for his work with other ensembles. © 2012 Read complete review

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