Why can't Lorin Maazel always perform like this? These are showpieces that will knock your socks off. They're also sonically amazing. The reviewer below who says Bernstein is better has missed the point, I think: Yeah Lennie is more intense (though not really...he's just shriller and faster) in the outer sections of Festivals, but the inner sections, which are more contemplative and lyrical, are brittle and unfelt with Lenny, gorgeous with Maazel. (Hear the sumptuous Cleveland strings in the that close out part two, just before the mandolin movement enters!) If you want just loud thrills, the classical equivalnet of a hard rock band banging while you crank up the amplifier, go with Lenny. If you want shades and colors *and* a finale that will threaten your plaster, this is the one. (Maazel also uses a real glockenspiel for the churchbell, whereas Lenny flubs by with a combination triangle and piano note struck in unison.)
The Pines recording is also dazzling, with a very rich, almost spiritual middle two sections. The last movement here is a little trite maybe, but few conductors pull this off really well to my ears. (It actually works better *slower,* which gives it a greater majesty and a "finale" quality, but most conductors try to up the temperature by going in fast, and Maazel is no exception. Neither is Lenny, by the way.) This is a superb disc, and I'm thrilled Decca had the good sense to bring it to life on CD.