This is one of the worst collaborations out there, and I can't recommend it even at a bargain price. Ashkenazy and the CSO never seem to be on the same page, except in the 4th Concerto, and personally, there I don't like the cold, graceless page they're on. The first two concerti don't come off to my ears, with orchestra and soloist never really listening to each other and sounding too blustery for this music. (It's hard to find a good performance of the rather bad Second Concerto in any case.) The Third is praised by some, and I guess it has merit or at least character, but personally I find it overblown and even more outsized, though there are some moments when the sheer force of the CSO thrills. The tubby sound doesn't help matters in the "bluster" department, however. (The sound throughout the set isn't great, but in the Third Concerto it sounds like they remastered the tape in a restroom.) The Emperor can't hold a candle to dozens of other recordings out there in this hyper-competitive field. Folks who are certain these are "the greatest recordings ever" should first listen to Michelangeli/Celibidache, Schnabel/Stock, Arrau/Galliera or Fischer/Furtwangler and you'll hear what I mean. There are so many magnificent recordings of the Emperor that anything less so should be avoided. Ashkenazy's Bagatelles are ordinary...two words: Sviatoslav Richter, on Praga. (Okay, that's four words.)
Even at a bargain price, this set really isn't worth it, especially when so many sets are being remastered and reissued at bargain-basement prices. I've never understood Solti's reputation, other than as a pedantic. For all his incessant talk about divining meaning from the score and plumbing the depths, I rarely find a lot of insight in his interpretations. Often he and the CSO were just full and loud, at least on record (I never got to hear them live), and that's mostly the result here. Not recommended.