Eloquence Classics has recently released the complete Chicago Symphony Orchestra catalog recorded under the baton of fifth music director Rafael Kubelík for the Mercury label. Newly remastered by Thomas Fine—the son of C. Robert (Bob) Fine and Wilma Cozart Fine, the original recording engineer and producer of much of the Mercury Living Presence catalogue—the ten-disc set features works by Bartók, Bloch, Brahms, Dvořák, Hindemith, Mozart, Mussorgsky, Schoenberg, Smetana, and Tchaikovsky. The set is now available in the CSO’s Symphony Store.

“For these seventieth anniversary reissues of the complete Mercury recordings of Rafael Kubelík and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, new high-resolution transfers were made from the best tape sources available,” writes Fine in the accompanying booklet. Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition was the first release, and it “received especially positive press, including the description by the New York Times music critic Howard Taubman as ‘the living presence’ of the orchestra. Mercury subsequently adopted Taubman’s description as their classical label name.”

Kubelík “was a powerful, often daring interpreter, and Mercury’s experiments with recording technology meant that he was captured from 1951 to ’53 in some of the finest mono around,” writes David Allen in the New York Times. “Eloquence’s bundle is the first to collect those recordings in their own box, even including excerpts from early stereo tests, and they are all worthwhile: vibrant, atmospheric accounts of Mozart symphonies; a Brahms First that rivals any of Wilhelm Furtwängler’s for visionary intensity; Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra, lovingly colored; performances of Dvořák’s Symphony no. 9 and Smetana’s Má vlast as ardent as you’d expect from a Czech émigré. Treasurable.”