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A lot of people here have identified Szell as "surgical" and "stiff". I don't think of Szell as a surgeon, but more as a master chef; and Szell himself was a gourmet cook. ... But as a master chef, Szell's approach is one of balance: too much seasoning and you can't taste the food; not enough seasoning and the food taste like nothing.

George Szell; Gordon Ramsey; at work:

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"Now Gordon, a little decrescendo
on the salt. Ah! That's perfect. Just
right."
 

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How much technical imperfection impacts your enjoyment is really entirely subjective to your tastes as a listener.
And, who knows? Some of us may not like the way Beethoven conducted/interpreted his own symphonies, could we have a chance to hear the performances, after having gained familiarity of the music as produced by some of our favorite conductors and their orchestras.

One can test this notion out somewhat by blindly comparing recordings of 20th century works conducted by the composers and comparing the renditions with other interpretations. Stravinsky, for example, famously conducted much of his own music. One can compare that to other conductors' productions. Results might prove interesting, even revelatory.
 

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Whatever is said in this thread of George Szell one way or another, I stand by my contention that my absolute favorite recorded version of one of my absolute favorite symphonies, the "From the New World" by Antonín Dvořák, is the recording made by George Szell with the Cleveland Orchestra in March of 1959, near the close of the Cleveland's 41st season, at Severance Hall.

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This recording, from "back in the day" when the "New World Symphony" was known as number 5, is one of the symphonic pieces that early grabbed my attention as "classical music" and held me in its grip from that first hearing till ... now, and onward.

If I had to live with only one Dvořák recording, this one would be my choice.

If I had to live with only one Szell recording, ... ditto.
 

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An excellent recording of a superb masterpiece. His recordings of Dvorak's Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8 as well as the Slavonic Dances are also superb. His recording of the Dvorak Cello Concerto accompanying Fournier on the cello, this time with the Berlin Philharmonic, is my all time favorite recording of the Dvorak Cello Concerto.
The final three Dvořák symphonies are available in a 2-CD set which also features some music by Smetana, all conducted by Szell:

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That disc is also in my collection. Unfortunately, I do not have the Fournier performance in my collection, but I'm looking into picking it up. Thanks for the recommendation.
 
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