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Ernest Ansermet: French Music
Ernest Ansermet: French Music
Price: £48.72

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars French master., 1 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This set is a very extensive survey of 20th century French music and if nothing else will introduce purchasers (myself included) to several previously unknown pieces. There are the well known works from Ravel (Bolero, Rapsodie Espagnole, Daphnis etc) and Debussy (La Mer, Nocturnes, Jeux etc) but also pieces from Lalo, Ambroise Thomas, Roussel and Alberic Magnard which are not so common these days. It's all good stuff however!
In the early days of stereo these recordings were the only ones available for much of this repertoire. Reviews in the Stereo record guide of 1960 of some of them were generally very good in terms of performance and sound. The sound stands up pretty well today actually but there are limitations at the frequency extremes of bass and treble. Where these performances score highly is in character, with a flavour of French authenticity. Sometimes the orchestral playing is not perfect but Ansermet seems to bring out all the colour in the scores. The Dutoit, Montreal versions of many of these works are better recorded and played but I find Ansermet the more engaging interpreter. The pungent sound of some of the woodwind playing is not heard in modern orchestras (for better or worse) but here it does not sound out of place.
This set is excellent value for money and may be the last chance to get some of these Ansermet recordings on CD. Universal in Italy should be congratulated for such a splendid gift to French music lovers!

Rossini: Complete Overtures Vol.1 [Christian Benda] [Naxos: NBD0028]
Rossini: Complete Overtures Vol.1 [Christian Benda] [Naxos: NBD0028]
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £11.40

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventures in bluray audio., 17 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bluray audio seems yet another format to confuse the consumer! However I thought I would try one and this Rossini overtures album seemed as good a place to start as any. The sonic experience is actually quite stunning and I think preferable to SACD which can often sound quite "soft". Many people will have a bluray player for films and so can enjoy 5:1 or two channel music from this disc. In the end, I preferred to use my two channel system which is decidedly more "high end " than my surround sound system. Played through this, the Naxos disc sounded very realistic and made me wish all my other discs reached the same standard.

The benefits are largely to do with clarity and impact all of which adds up to greater realism. The performances are very good also, with very competent playing and conducting and spirited interpretations. Many of us have a soft spot for the old ASMF records and their Rossini overtures discs have long been favourites. I am pleased to have this newcomer however simply because it is good music very well played and superbly recorded!

For anyone not familiar with Rossini overtures I can only say you will hear lots of catchy tunes, vivacious music and delightful instrumental solos.

The disc contains nearly two hours of music and the asking price therefore represents very good value for money. I can therefore recommend this disc very highly.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 3, 2014 9:58 AM BST

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35 - 41
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35 - 41
Price: £7.37

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Mozart, 20 Mar 2011
Karajan splits opinions quite distinctly with late Mozart symphonies. Maybe these are not definitive for our age but I am very glad they are available. Big band Mozart, very well played and with some spirit. To suggest Karajan did not understand Mozart is not acceptable. I remember hearing a broadcast of Don Giovanni from the Salzburg festival many years ago with Karajan conducting an electrifying performance which I have never forgotten. The man was a very great Mozartian and attempts to sideline his legacy should be viewed carefully. Unless you are a period instrument fanatic you will enjoy these superb performances. The recording quality is very good also.

Bach Complete Edition (157 CD, 2 DVD & CD Rom Box Set)
Bach Complete Edition (157 CD, 2 DVD & CD Rom Box Set)
Offered by ____THE_BEST_ON_DVD____
Price: £92.98

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bach for life, 24 Feb 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I admit to being at first a little overwhelmed by this set. There are so many wonderful pieces of music contained here that I have never heard before! Like many, I listened when I could to BBC radio 3's broadcast of the complete Bach a couple of years ago but even that did not prepare me for this. The performances of the Cantatas here are very good. I think this is critical because I believe these works represent the core of Bach's writing. The organ works are also very well played and recorded and must compare favourably with any others currently available. I have to admit that I have always preferred Bach keyboard works played on a piano than a harpsichord as they are here and these discs do not alter that. However, the same work does sound completely different on the two instruments (a piano does not have the same percussive effect as a harpsichord) so this is interesting.
The other concertos and orchestral works are really enjoyable with recent performances on period instruments.
Some reviewers have criticised large collections such as this, asking when can you possibly listen to all this music. With Bach (and Mozart) it is not difficult and the more you know the better you appreciate.
As another reviewer has said, these Brilliant sets cost about the same as a tank of petrol but unlike petrol, these will last a lifetime! This set represents incredible value for money.

Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1, 2, 3, Marche Slave, Capriccio Italien
Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1, 2, 3, Marche Slave, Capriccio Italien
Price: £7.25

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous Little Russian, 24 Feb 2011
I have had these discs for some months now but have only recently come to fully appreciate their qualities. Firstly you need to turn up the volume level a bit more than usual because the recording level seems lower than many discs. Once this is done the sound is very good with fine separation of instruments and a wide dynamic range. These first three symphonies are generally thought lesser than the three that follow. They are probably less confident in the writing but they contain wonderful music nevertheless. These performances by the BPO under Karajan do not overplay the simple passages but can blaze out when required and some of the solo woodwind playing is superb. There are several versions of these symphonies available today from Russian orchestras and these must be considered. However, Karajan and the BPO (despite the vintage) take some beating.

Symphonies Nos. 1 - 10 & Kindertotenlieder- Jubilee Edition - 150th Anniversary of the Wiener Philharmoniker
Symphonies Nos. 1 - 10 & Kindertotenlieder- Jubilee Edition - 150th Anniversary of the Wiener Philharmoniker
Price: £20.61

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Mahler Cycle, 22 Jan 2011
I wanted a complete cycle of Mahler symphonies by one conductor and orchestra. I have previously purchased individual records from Szell, Barbirolli, Rattle, Solti, Klemperer, Neumann and others and have enjoyed these performances greatly over the years. The Maazel set has the huge advantage of being played by the VPO and they certainly add colour to these scores. The conducting is different to the alternatives mentioned above but in the end is highly satisfying. I am looking forward to hearing Maazel conduct some of these symphonies this year in London.

As others have said in reviews there is probably no perfect Mahler set of symphonies but for me these performances have a very strong Mahlerian feel and a consistent approach. I can live with these where I know I could not live with Rattle or Bernstein for example.

The recording quality is good as well!

Mozart Complete Edition [170 CD + CD ROM]
Mozart Complete Edition [170 CD + CD ROM]
Offered by IMSSALES
Price: £99.99

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Mozart, 22 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Spurred on by the BBC's recent broadcasting of the complete works of Mozart, I decided I must. fill some of the gaps in my Mozart music collection. However purchasing this massive set did this in one go! I already had many of the better known works on CD such as the late symphonies, popular piano concertos, Cosi, Giovanni, Figaro etc but finding discs of all the lesser known works is much more difficult. The BBC broadcasts had proved one thing to me in that I believe Mozart never wrote bad music. All of it is priceless. So the decision to purchase a complete set at 40p per CD had only minor risks: were the performances any good and were the recordings acceptable?

The performances are mixed but most are good and some are excellent. The absence of big stars does not diminish the quality of the set as a whole. Similarly, the recordings are mostly very good and recent. I have not played all the CD's yet but so far I have only found one which I would consider below par.

I have already discovered some previously unknown gems and am looking forward to working my way through all 170 CD's. This set is very warmly recommended!

Early Symphonies And Letters (Harnoncourt) [Digipak]
Early Symphonies And Letters (Harnoncourt) [Digipak]
Offered by crucialmusic
Price: £25.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can you speak German?, 13 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The super performances are punctuated by dialogue which I was not expecting. This was not very useful since i cannot speak German. Perhaps this could have been made clearer before purchasing. Cheap price though.

Mozart: Symphonies Nos 29, 31, 32, 35 & 36
Mozart: Symphonies Nos 29, 31, 32, 35 & 36
Price: £16.92

5 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average Mozart, 13 Jan 2011
I am not sure what to make of these discs since I fell asleep while listening to them. I have an SACD player but did not really notice much difference in the sound from a typical CD. This is the sort of performance I would expect to hear from any provincial UK orchestra. OK but definitely not outstanding.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 21, 2013 9:43 PM BST

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