Sinopoli interpretations of these two Strauss tone poems are magnificent and are recorded with clarity. What I find most impressive is the way Sinopoli approaches a score as if it were a brand-new document waiting to be brought to life. - Gramophone
Editorial Reviews - Amazon.com essential recording
This recording was the hi-fi demo disc of the 1950s. On CD, it still sounds pretty incredible; an achievement as remarkable technically as it is musically. And what playing! Fritz Reiner sadistically enjoyed driving his players to despair. There's a famous story about principal trumpeter Adolph (Bud) Herseth, who played his tricky little fanfare at the beginning of the second half of Zarathustra so perfectly so many times that even Reiner finally gave up. Most critics and Strauss lovers consider Reiner's performance of A Hero's Life to be the best ever committed to disc, and I'd be the last one to disagree. This is one of those recordings where everything just went right.
Blomstedt’s singular view of Also sprach Zarathustra reflects his deep knowledge of and experience with the piece… The San Francisco Symphony plays masterfully, its characteristic warm sound allied with a virtuoso polish that nonetheless conveys a sense of discovery… Blomstedt’s Ein Heldenleben is one of the most beautifully rendered performances on disc.- Victor Carr Jr.
Karajan was a great Straussian, and this collection, produced by John Culshaw in 1959-60, with the VPO (especially the strings) in superb form, shows him at his most charismatic. Also sprach Zarathustra was a famous early Decca stereo demonstration record, and remains as spectacular as ever. The many-faceted portrait of Till is delectably witty, Don Juan is exciting, racy, and full of sensuality, which is voluptuously shared by the dramatic and sinuous 'Salome's dance'. The transfers undoubtedly recreate the sonic excitement of the originals.
Ivan March, Gramophone
For sheer intoxicating opulence of Straussian sound, it was something close to matchless music that brimmed and overflowed last night in Orchestra Hall. Fritz Reiner is a master of the genre, and when he came to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, rooted in the music from the time of its birth, he found a sensitive instrument he has made unique. When he stands before it with a Strauss score incandescent at his fingertips, no wise man stays at home.(Claudia Cassidy - The Chicago Tribune)