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4.5 out of 5 stars61
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 27 March 2009
I would describe myself as a casual listener of classical music and this album has proved to be a great value introduction for me as it covers a wide variety of styles. With this great album you get 99 pieces of classical music, that's over eleven and a half hours of great music, including some of my personal favourites: Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue', the 'Carmina Burina' by Carl Orff, Beethoven's 'Piano Sonata No. 14' and Tchaikovsky's bombastic 'Festival Overture in E-Flat Major "The Year 1812"'.

However, one word of warning: the download weighs in at 1.1GBs, so it does take some time to download. But it's well worth the wait!
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on 23 November 2010
What a fantastic way of gaining a wide range of classical music at an excellent price. One or two of the performances are not of the highest performance quality (literally just one or two - Pachelbel's Canon springs to mind) but the overall quality is fantastic. I have quite a few of these 99 most essential.... collections and have yet to be disappointed in a collection.
0Comment14 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 April 2009
You can't really argue with £3 for 99 classical tracks. They do all seem to be recorded at 256VBR MP3, not various bit-rates as per a previous review - they may show up as 2xxVBR in iTunes, but this does not reflect the encoder setting, which I believe to be 256.

Having said that, some of these recordings aren't the best, some sounding muffled, and some with clear digital compression of background noise. I'm not listening through a super-high-end system, but a DAC and fairly decent pair of 'phones.

But, like I said, a nice selection especially for £3.

Update: e.g. of quality - Track 62 (Turandot - Nessun Dorma), the right channel cuts out every few seconds
22 comments11 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 May 2009
Technical quality - all tracks encoded at VBR, most of the time 196/224kb with a minimum of 32k. Original material mostly good or excellent (A few tracks I'm not sure about but could be my equipment). Many well-known performers (Brendel on piano, Menuhin on violin, London Symphony Orchestra and many others), as well as many _I_ haven't heard of. Only two or three of the 99 are soprano-type vocal, which suited me; most were instrumental, with some choral.

Some of the tracks are just one movement, but usually the full movement, sometimes to 15 or 18 minutes, though a _few_ are a rather short extract.

Title I'd disagree with. There are _many_ of the classical pieces I'd expect to find - I can't think of anything that was a glaring omission, and there were some nice surprises. But there were many I _wouldn't_ consider essentials - I'd say a third to a half were. However, having the others there is certainly no bad thing, and you can't complain at this price!

The tag information has been well filled in (with other information in the track titles) - especially composer's names: not just Tscaikovsky's forenames, but even Chopin's is _spelt_ correctly. With one exception - you can't get the date of the recordings, as both the copyright field and the actual date field have been set to 2009.

[Make sure you've got the Amazon downloader working first; downloading 99 tracks one at a time is tedious!]
0Comment7 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 April 2009
This is an unfettered bargain - 99 glorious pieces of music for 3 of yer earth pounds. That's crazy good value.

From casual listener to novice through to the aficionado, this album will have something for everyone. And they haven't cobbled it together using shonky performances - there are a myriad Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestras performing beautifully and the flow of music is absolutely stunning.

As we enter Spring-proper, and can see Summer on the horizon, this is the music to listen to while pottering in the garden, and admiring the flowers that are starting to say hello. It'll last you an entire afternoon and evening so you may even manage to squeeze in a summer barbecue before the London Symphony Orchestra bring it all to an exuberant close.

Just 2 points of note, really, and they're practical, and dull: the download time is crazy. Even with a fast connection, you're looking at a couple of hours download time. Further, it takes up hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of megabytes of memory... it's a massive, *massive* file. I downloaded it thinking to (possibly sacrilege... apologies in advance) delete any files that weren't absolutely a necessity. After all, for £3, even having only 8 or 9 pieces of music would still be a bargain. But, as it turns out, they are *all* a necessity because they're all outstanding.

(As a brief aside, it's missing the presence of Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain"... it would have given the whole collection a wonderful kick in the trumpet. But it does have Orff's "O Fortuna" so it's far from toothless.)

It's really an exceptional compilation of music, and if you can afford the space, buy it buy it! If you can't, get some more memory then come back and buy it buy it!
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on 16 October 2010
Worth of each penny paid and every second spared to download. Seemless collection of amazing classical masterpieces. I doubt you would miss your favorite ones among the 99 tracks available.
Highly recommended bargain!
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on 16 March 2009
This has to be the best £3 ever spent! When it says 99 essential pieces it REALLY means it! You must buy this album- so many recognisable peices on the one album!
0Comment36 of 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 April 2010
Brilliant value for money. Every classical melody you ever tried to remember the name of in one huge collection. The nice thing about a compilation like this is that you can sample and follow up on composers you might not have listened to before and maybe hear interpretations that are different to the ones you already own and love. Great for long journeys, long walks, quiet evenings at home, and (my personal favourite) revising for nasty exams.
11 comment18 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 May 2009
I have a love for many genres of music, but found buying classical music a bit daunting. With this collection I have found a source of beautiful accessible music and a base to build on my music collection. This is a must for people new to classical music - with not much money!
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on 25 March 2009
Good quality and well-chosen recordings by a wealth of talented individuals and orchestras. Nicely programmed for continuous listening. It's like having your personal Classic FM without the commercials. Allow several hours for this enormous download.
0Comment17 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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