September 17, 1959, Villa Berg, Stuttgart, Celibidache conducts a without-audience programme for broadcast, the Stuttgart Radio SO honed to the nth degree without denuding spontaneity and passion.

The Haydn is wonderful – gravitas, sparkling vitality, eloquence, grandeur/songfulness (Minuet & Trio indivisible), and a fizzing Finale that could not go faster (it’s marked Presto) or be played with greater precision and unanimity. (One conundrum is that ‘Celi’ observes the first-movement repeat; I cannot recall any other occasion – so many – when he has noted such sonata-form repetition.) The Tchaikovsky is extraordinary (with very little to suggest how he would conduct it much later in Munich) – a first movement of vivid contrasts concerning emotions and tempos, the fast music is a whirlwind; then a broad 5/4 second movement during which ‘Celi’ peers into its dark side, followed by a fairly-measured march (it would be much more so in Munich) that builds to a powerhouse and ecstatic conclusion (f**k me!) set on its final lap by a slight but very effective rallentando (at 7:23) – absolutely right to my mind, and nowhere near the (glorious) half-speed continuation of, say, Erich Kleiber, Martinon, Fricsay or (concert) Maazel, followed by a leave-taking Adagio of such intensity that I didn’t know where to put myself.

The (mono) sound is generally excellent, with the cavil that certain low frequencies and quiet dynamics are a little tainted by the digital remastering; and, maybe, there is added reverberation – but of no consequence given the exceptional performances. SWR Classic SWR19118CD.