One of a breed of autocratic conductors who ruled their orchestras completely, George Szell raised the Cleveland Orchestra, over the course of a quarter-century, from a middling regional ensemble to the level of the world’s best. Szell grew up in Vienna, but fled the outbreak of WW2 and settled in New York in 1940. He had, by then, established himself as a successful conductor, but his appointment in Cleveland in 1946 secured his lasting legacy. He remained music director there until his death, in 1970. Szell was famous for his meticulous preparation and his recordings reflect his punishingly high standards. Haydn was central to his repertoire, which encompassed European classics and contemporary music we’d now think of as “classic”, and the special quality of playing he expected is clear in this collection of six Haydn symphonies; it’s not for nothing that CBS once issued a Szell/Cleveland “best-of” entitled “One Hundred Musicians and a Perfectionist”.