Some of my favorite Cleveland Orchestra CDs are conducted by Boulez, and Maazel. I like Szell's Schumann No.2. I have some of his Beethoven, Dvorak, and Mozart but I usually listen to other conductors instead.
Yeah! I love reading about the early days and how both the musicians and patrons of the arts worked to make things happen and build the orchestra and organization, and present numerous concerts.I just started rereading it the other day! One of the main things you learn is that the pre-Szell era was hardly chopped liver. The orchestra was small, underpaid, and didn't have year-round work (all of which persisted into the Szell era), but even so they took some pretty big swings. Severance Hall opened in 1931, Artur Rodziński became music director in 1933, and from November 1934 to December 1936, the orchestra had this insane run of presenting fully staged opera: Die Walküre, Otello, Tosca, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (that work's American premiere), Il barbiere di Siviglia, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Der Rosenkavalier, Carmen, Die Fledermaus, Parsifal, Tannhäuser, Elektra.