Celibidache unfolds Franck’s ingenious/cyclical three-movement D-minor Symphony with patience and gravitas, structured securely, dynamically vibrant and detailed pertinently. The generous space he affords the music is filled with illumination, rarely sagging, the road-map planned meticulously and executed with certainty, played sonorously and beguilingly, with power, passion as well as – second movement (with harp and cor anglais) especially – sensitivity and shape, while also suggesting ‘something beyond’. Yet the Finale, for all its reflective beauty, could be thought sluggish, and the afore-mentioned harp is barely audible (timpani the polar opposite in the outer movements) in its bolstering of (here unanimous) pizzicatos, only individually present at the middle movement’s conclusion – odd – although the Symphony’s ultimate coda rallies to a splendid blaze of sound. Overall – and alongside, say, Ansermet, Berglund and Boult – I am delighted to welcome Celibidache’s Olympian account. Equally time-bending is the Debussy: ‘Clouds’ starts hesitantly if soon becoming hypnotic; ‘Festivals’ is a little dour if lucid, with a well-managed ‘distance getting nearer’ episode, yet two abrupt tempo changes, one slower, the other faster, simply do not work; whereas ‘Sirens’ is wholly mesmeric in its allure and painterly suggestion, the wordless ladies of the choir staying in-tune throughout. Applause is retained. MPHIL0046.

https://www.warnerclassics.com/release/franck-symphony-d-minor-debussy-trois-nocturnes

https://www.mphil.de/en/label

https://www.classicalsource.com/cd/munich-philharmonic-sergiu-celibidache-conducts-death-and-transfiguration-brigitte-fassbaender-sings-kindertotenlieder-munchner-philharmoniker-archive