Yep, this is Bernstein: not unpolished, but not willing to let polish get in the way of emotional drama. However, as other reviewers pointed out, this isn't the melodramatic, overromantic Bernstein of the later years either; these performances manage to almost perfectly combine emotion and technique. Bernstein's sense of tempi and phrasing is top-notch, and the emotional sensitivity he gets out of the always-adept VPO is admirable, particularly in the slow movements. What really makes this CD a winner, though, is that both of these brilliant symphonies have been recorded almost to death over the years, and yet Bernstein still manages to make them sound fresh and new. He clearly knows what the music is trying to *say* to its listeners, and he and the orchestra work in such a manner that the music does not just exist, it *communicates* with listeners. To put that another way: some recordings of these symphonies sound like they're being played by an orchestra, and others sound like the music is creating itself. This CD definitely falls into the latter category. In particular, the finales of both symphonies are stellar, and I've never heard a better slow movement of the "Jupiter." You can't go wrong with this one.