I'm not fan of Möst by any stretch of the imagination. A typical performance is usually lifeless and dull. He is very much an intellectual and puts a lot of thought into his performances, but that seldom translates into exciting music. It usually translates into strict unbending tempos, uniform volume, and little expression - all of which is usually death to composers like Bruckner, Strauss, etc. You've never heard boring Strauss until you've heard Möst do it. I live in Cleveland and gave up on Möst several years ago. Now I usually skip Möst performances in favor of guest conductors.
This DVD, however, has me happily flummoxed. It is not a typical Möst performance. This time there is life, and lots of it. He has decided to step out of his head and let the formidable Cleveland Orchestra go. The Orchestra, in return, plays with everything they got - this is something Möst rarely allows. They sound almost as good as they did during the Dohnanyi years. The scherzo is thrilling, the opening movement properly mysterious (though I hoping for more fire at the end). If I have a complaint it's that he rushes through some of my favorite parts of the adagio (his typical unbending tempo kicks in at last).
Overall, however, this is a great performance. The orchestra sounds great, the production value is top notch - just as good as any of the Claudio Abbado productions which, I feel, set the standard for great audio/visual presentations. No lingering shots of the conductor, or of the hall, or of clouds overhead. Just watching the musicians do their thing, cutting to the right players at the right time. What more can I ask for?
And there's a very interesting interview with Möst as a bonus - as I said, he's very much an intellectual. I've been to several of his talks and his analysis is always fascinating to listen to, even if his conducting rarely is. This time, I'm pleased to report, he has them both down pat.