This collection of Beethoven Symphonies can hold its own against the best in the market. The 1959 Solti Eroica is more spacious than Karajan's 1962 Eroica but better. Not only does Decca have a better recording and sound, Solti's interpretation is more exciting and befitting of the heroic proportions of the Eroica Symphony. Karajan's 1962 recording is too revebrant. You get the feeling that the orchestra is playing in an empty hall (which, in fact, it is). You'll be surprised but Decca in 1959 had a better recorded sound than later Decca. The sense of presence is incredible. The same can be said of the 5th and 7th symphony. The Vienna Philharmonic is simply Hors Concours here. They outshine the Berlin Philharmonic for in the 5th and 7th in Karajan's cycle. Somehow, the Karajan leaves one vaguely dissatisfied. To be fair to Karajan, part of the reason is the unsatisfactory recording by DG which is too revebrant. The woodwinds in particular sound like they some from some distance away. Whereas in the Solti Vienna edition, the woodwinds are rightly in front. The sound is fuller and better.
Solti's 5th is fast and furious and Gramophone rightly said - it is in the 'great' class. The horns come through thrillingly in the 7th symphony. I have Carlos Kleiber's 5th and 7th. I think the honors are about equal between Kleiber and Solti. If I had to make a choice, I would go with the Kleiber. But the Solti is also not to be missed, especially since it comes with his Eroica. the Solti can hold its own against the kleiber. Collectors need not hesitate to purchase this Solti set.
The Vienna Philharmonic has once again proven that it is one of the world's greatest orchestras. Recommended without hesitation.