In Toscanini's lifetime, he was often reviled--particularly by Europeans--for his supposedly "insensitive" Beethoven and Brahms, but as time has receded from his active career we now recognize that he was merely too far ahead of his time. His 1933 Beethoven 5th with the NY Phil, also available on CD (and quite beautiful in its own way), is much more of its time: tempo fluctuations, rhetorical phrasing and a perhaps too-wide dynamic range that leads to certain notes being almost inaudible. In this set, however, it is only the 7th symphony that suffers from a tight, tense, inflexible reading, not to mention poor, boxy sonics that kill the conductor's intent. This 5th, once one gets past the slightly rushed first movement, is a model of classical balance and elegance; the 6th is moving in its emotional but unsentimental delineation of the score (though his BBC 6th is better); and the 8th is unsurpassed in its sweeping drama. In short, a fine addition to the "new" Toscanini legacy, for now and in the future.