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Bruno Walter: The Edition [Box set]

Bruno Walter Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: 62.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 May 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 39
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • ASIN: B00BNZN27E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,252 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Product Description

39 CD-box with recordings of Bruno Walter’s later years in a high quality LP-sized box. 32 page LP-sized booklet with elaborate liner notes in German and English. This box set contains the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms, the later symphonies of Mozart, symphonies of Mahler and Bruckner, CDs with rehearsals and many more. The German born conductor Bruno Walter (1876-1962) was known primarily for his interpretations of the Viennese school. Though out of step with 20th century trends he was such a fine musician that he became a major figure - filling the wide gulf between the extremes of his day - Arturo Toscanini and Wilhelm Furtwängler.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Recordings from a Dinosaur 26 May 2013
Format:Audio CD
I've used this headline before - in a review of Otto Klemperer: Romantic Symphonies
It applies to both men, but even more so to Bruno Walter, who was nine years older than Klemperer.

Bruno Walter began his conducting career in 1894.
Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner were (just barely) contemporaries. Bruckner died in 1896, Brahms in 1897.
Gustav Mahler was very much a contemporary.
He hired Bruno Walter as an assistant in 1894, and Walter was part of Mahler's inner circle until the composer's death in 1911.
[Klemperer was part of the inner circle from 1905-1911].

Bruno Walter was a Nineteenth Century musician who survived into the Modern Age.
A true dinosaur.
Thanks to the forward thinking of Columbia Records, the 82 year-old conductor was brought out of retirement in 1958 to record his core repertoire in modern stereo sound.
This continued until his death in 1962.

I first started listening to classical music when I was fifteen - in 1964.
My first big crush was Herbert von Karajan.
I think I may have been influenced by the sheer look and feel of 1960s Deutsche Gramophon LP records.
They were twice as thick as American records, came in extra-wide plastic-lined sleeves, and didn't snap, crackle and pop like American records.

The infatuation with Karajan lasted about five years, until I discovered Bruno Walter and Otto Klemperer at my college record shop (what's a record shop?).
The American pressings were still pretty awful, but the music-making was revelatory: Walter was warm and comforting; Klemperer was imposing and majestic.
Still my two favorite conductors of the stereo era.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Reissue 10 July 2013
By J. Gibbons TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is, of course, a bargin reissue of Sony's original collection taken from the archives of American Columbia. The choice of performances is the same as the original issue. Therefore it is not a complete collection of his American Columbia output but - where alternative recordings exist - includes what the compilers felt were the best versions. The personal choice this involves is bound to cause debate amongst collectors but it is surely more important to consider what is included rather than bemoan what is not.

Most of Walter's 'indian summer' sessions with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra are here and well deserve their continuing place in the catalogue.

The Beethoven symphonies are superb performances. Whilst not minimising the drama inherent in the music, they are intensely lyrical and, although very different in approach from other conductors, Walter's interpretations retain their validity after more than half a century.

The Brahms symphonies are also a highlight of the set and remain amongst the finest ever recorded. Bruckner's 9th Symphony is also outstanding as are the Haydn and Mozart symphonies and overtures. The New York Philharmonic Mozart late symphonies have been used here and are very fine although, of course, very much in the 'big band' tradition of Mozart interpretation.

Given Walter's friendship with the composer, the Mahler discs have enormous interest. However, I should like to suggest their value lies in the quality of the performances themselves rather than as a guide to 'authentic' performance practice. After all, other conductors who knew Mahler - like Klemperer - recorded performances very different from those included here. Both the Ninth and Resurrection symphonies are quite superb.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A massive profile of one of the GREAT conductors 26 May 2013
By Misha
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
All my life, I have loved Bruno Walter's interpretations, and so it comes as would a birthday present to have this wonderful collection of CD's. If you are considering the purchase of such a large set, then you must be a Bruno Walter fan. Therefore, a review of the music will be not be required, while a technical appraisal of the recordings will be of the moment.

I enjoy a valve sound, electrostatic speakers and a audio-note DAC. This means that I really do hear what I play, and that the recording and mastering technology is of the essence to my enjoyment. Here's where some of the CD's come a-cropper. Those that were recorded in mono lack definition and lustre, while the later recordings are as good as it gets. Fortunately, most are in the latter category and a joy to listen to, being clean and precise.

So, what you get is warm-hearted, optimistic and intensely charged interpretations of a cross section of orchestral music selected by the maestro himself, and you are transported into a wonderland where nothing is out of place, and everything is just where it ought to be, and all of this at a most affordable price. What more can anyone ask for, and easily forgive the odd muddy sounding CD of an older technology!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Peerless Musician! 13 Jun 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Just for this review we shall leave out of account Bruno Walter's background, his close ties with Gustav Mahler and his earlier performances and recordings - and confine a few comments to this collection: the Bruno Walter Edition.

That most musical of music critics, Sir Neville Cardus, writing in 1955 eloquently summarised Bruno Walter's conducting as 'A life-time of masterful musicianship warmed by love ... every note is related to a various, humane, and lovable art'. These recordings, often said to represent Walter's 'Indian Summer' (and what a harvest!) are the proof of that claim. Such an assessment of Bruno Walter, as man and musician, meant for Yehudi Menuhin that Walter's 'kindness was not the only reason why, of all the conductors whom I met in my youth, he remained my favourite.'

As may be seen from listings of the contents elsewhere, the works represented, all recorded in the late 50's and early 60's, are the music closest to this conductor's heart. He knew these works intimately and loved them deeply. And the glory of this collection is that all Bruno Walter's deep sensitivity and profound musicianship have been preserved. Unlike the (generally awful!) recordings Toscanini and Furtwangler had to contend with, the recorded sound here is excellent - nothing is 'spot-lit', nothing exaggerated, there is ripeness and warmth with a winsome clarity and truthfulness.

In many respects the performances are beyond reproach - none of us know so much or will live so long! Walter is never less than devoted to his art, and in many cases his approach and the response he finds from the orchestras he worked with are peerless. There is affection, but equally there is vitality. There is authority, but also humility before the score.
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