This Sony 60 CD box set has not placed the music under a heading in the booklet, denoting which era they were composed. For example, one should start from the Medieval period and work upwards. But the works are all over the place. And in this box set's excellent booklet, similar to the Living Stereo box 1 &2, there are no simple details about the various era's and what they mean. So I shall explain it myself. (REVIEWS BELOW).
THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD: The first composers glorified God for Monasteries, so they became the great musical centers. Abbess Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was among the first earliest recognised composer. CD Canticles of Ecstasy. Sequentia. 1994. Harmonia Mundi. Plainsong was their means of expression. 12th Century troubadours created a demand for secular music. Gradually Composers created an art of their own which did not depend on religious texts or functions. Eventually they began to serve in the courts of the ruling classes, writing both sacred and secular music. So some composers served at Church and the courts.
THE (REBIRTH)RENAISSANCE: 1450-1600. The great new bastions of culture now became the city states of Italy. Music now depended on Dukes and princes, but the music was still largely focused on Religion. The composers based much of their instrumental music on the vocal music and popular dances of the time. The instrumental music was softer. The printing press changed all that and the lute came into its own.
THE BAROQUE PERIOD: 1600-1750. During this period music was enriched by new vocal forms Opera, the Cantata and Oratorio's and by instrumental forms such as the Sonata and the Concerto. Secular music became popular and tipped patronage away from the church to the courts then eventually to the public. Most new musical ideas originated in Italy, where Scarlatti and Vivaldi were prominent. However, it was in Germany, with J.S Bach and Handel that Baroque music reached its heights.
THE CLASSICAL PERIOD: 1750-early 1800's. Or the age of reason. Impersonal and objective. This era saw a dramatic change in the arts and Architecture. It was in this unsettling period that composers such as Haydn, Mozart and Gluck created their unique work; with the simplicity and restraint of their music, where the symphony, concerto and the Sonata under went change. Mozart was not entirely a Classical composer, his music, such as the operas were emotional. Schubert(1797-1828) has been called" the last of the Classical composers and the first of the Romantics" But he is more Romantic. Thus, it is very difficult to Pigeon hole these composers, like you can artists.(Painting).
THE ROMANTICS: From early 1800's onwards. Romantic is subjective, where feelings came to the fore, and individualism is important. But no composer is either completely Classical or Romantic. For example, Beethoven (1770-1827) expanded traditonal musical forms to convey depth and intensity of feeling. But he is in either camp as it were. Schumann was inspired by the grandeur and spirituality of Nature. He was a true Romantic. Here the Middle class played a great part in breaking the stranglehold of the Prince's and Religion over music.
Sony Classics have released this box; they are renowned for the Living Stereo Classics box Vol 1 & 2. Toscanini and Reiner RCA box, plus Colin Davis box set. This Box is made of thick cardboard, and has a second box inside, with foam rubber on one side and on the floor. The 245 page all English Booklet, is put in at the side of the CD's. I put it on the other side of the foam rubber. The booklet has notes from the original recordings, written by the soloists, conductors and musiologists, with track numbers, composers, music to be played, plus artists involved in the music making. No translations of songs. The lid has gold lettering, and is a creamy white, like the rest of the box, which has four pictures around the side, from the different eras. Underneath the CD number, Composers, Music and artists involved in this project. The CD sleeve is white, with the composer, title,soloist, leader of small orchestra, all printed in different colours, which range from Ultramarine Blue, light green, red to brown. Then a picture by a painter of the period. For example, CD 1 Caravaggio. The paintings seem to fit the era. Behind on a white background, CD number in white, on a red background for all the CDs. Then in Black, composer, music to be played, track numbers, then soloist, or conductor. The CD is black with words in silver, composer, CD number, and music to be played, plus soloist etc. You cannot possibly get lost.
The CDs were recorded from 1986-2000. All DDD. With the following printed on each CD Sleeve in this box set. " The recording has been processed using 20-bit technology to maximize sound quality." So all the tech heads should be happy to know this. Released 2013. By the way, I am going to go across the page with my review. The composer in capital letters, music to be played, Soloist, conductor and small orchestra. Plus some times a few comments from me. The music is all played on period instruments and very soothing the music is.
J.S BACH: (BAROQUE) The works for Lute. Suite G minor BWV 995. Fugue G minor, BMW 1000. Suite E minor BMW 996. Prelude, Fuga and Allegro BMW 998. Partita C Minor BMW 997. Prelude C minor BMW 999. Suite E Major BMW 1006a. Lutz Kirchhof. Theorbo/ Baroque Lute. The lute originated in the Near East, and was known to the Arabs as the Ud or G'lud. This instrument entered Western Europe, at the end of the 13th Century, through contact with the Moors in Spain and via returning Crusaders. The Ud has a deeper Bass sound. Kirchof states that Bach was no Lutenist. For he had to find completely new solutions to challenging problems of fingering for example. J.S BACH:(BAROQUE) Sonatas for Viola da Gamba.BMW 1027-1029. J.C.F BACH: (BAROQUE-CLASSICAL) Sonata in A major. Anner Bylsma-Cello piccolo. Bob van Asperen Organ. Blysma's interest is in the interpretation of ancient music on historical instruments. He has won prizes for his interpretations of music of the 18th century on the Baroque cello. THE HARPSICHORD in the Netherlands (1580-1712) (RENAISSANCE- BAROQUE). Bob Van Asperen. I have not heard of any of the Composers. Keyboard music by Flemish Masters together with works which were clearly influenced by them, all from the Renaissance and Baroque. Played on a 18th Century rebuilt Harpischord,yet built in 1640.
J.S BACH:(BAROQUE) Auf, schmetternde Tone BWV 207a, Schleicht, spielende Wellen BWV 206. Ziesak, Chance, Pregadien, Kooy, Kammerchor Stuttgart, Concerto Koln, Frieder Bernius. MOZART:(CLASSICAL) Missa Longa K 262. Offertories K72 & 260. Te Deum K 141. Ave verum corpus K 618. Tolzer Knabenchor. European Baroque Solists. Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden. Divertimenti K 334 & K 247.For 2 violins,Viola,Cello and 2 Horns. L' Archibudelli. Divertimento K 563. Adagio and Fugue after W.F.Bach. K 404a for violin, Viola and cello. 3 Adagio's and Fugues after J.S Bach for Violin, Viola and Cello. L' Archibudelli-Vera Beths Violin, Anner Bylsma Cello, Kussmaul Viola. SCHUBERT:(Early ROMANTIC) Quintet in C. D 956.Rondo in A Major for Violin and string Quartet. Beths, Rautenberg, Dann, Bylsma/ Slowik cello's. D 956 is one of the greatest of String Quintets. Played on Stradivarius instruments. Symphony No's 5 & 6. The Classical Band. Cond Bruno Weil. The Band is dedicated to performing the repertoire of the Classical and early Romantic eras on historical instruments in the style of the period. A lighter sound than that of an Modern orchestra.
SCHULZ:(BAROQUE) Psalmen Davids. Complete 26 Psalms.SWV 22-34. 35-47. Kammerchor Stuttgart. Musica Flata Koln. Frieder Bernius. J.S BACH: (BAROQUE) Suites for Cello, Solo. BWV 1007-1012. Anner Bylsma Stradivarius " Servals" from the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. He brings a vivid musical imagination and an ardent intensity to the early movement. He offers new insights. ITALIA MIA:(RENAISSANCE) Musical imagination of the Renaissance. Huelgas Ensemble: Paul Van Nevel.The piece Fortuna Desperate is beautiful and meditative. Van Nevel is a specialist in polyphonic music of the Middle ages and the Renaissance. THE LUTE IN DANCE AND DREAM: Three centuries of Lute Masterpieces. Lutz Kirchhof. Renaissance and Baroque Lute. The sound is very soothing. BEETHOVEN:(CLASSICAL-ROMANTIC) Sextet in E-Flat major for 2 horns, 2 violins, Viola and Cello. Duett mit Zwei obligaten Augenglasern in E-flat major for viola and cello. Quintet in A Major for 2 Violins, Viola and 2 cellos. L'Archibudelli. SCHUBERT:(ROMANTIC) Symphony No 8 (Unfinished). Symphony No 9 " The Great".The Classical band. Bruno Weil. Lighter textures with original instruments. BEETHOVEN:(CLASSICAL-ROMANTIC) Trio's for Violin, Viola and Cello, op 9, 1-3. L' Archibudelli. FEBUS AVANT!(MIDDLE AGES) Music at the court of Gaston Febus (1331-1391). Huelgas Ensemble. Paul Van Nevel. The music sounds like Gregorian chant. GOMBERT: (RENAISSANCE) (1500-1557) Music from the court of Charles V. Motets. Chansons. Mass for 6 voices. Regina Coeli. Magnificat Secundi Toni. Huelgas Ensemble. Paul Van Nevel. Gombart was born in Flanders and was probably a pupil of Josquin. His work is rich with full harmonies and counterpoint. Both his sacred and secular music is often dense in texture. A beautifully sung collection.
AIRS DE COUR:(RENANISSANCE- BAROQUE) French Court Music from the 17th century. Marie Claude Vallin. Soprano. Max van Egmond. Baritone. Lutz Kirchhof Renaissance Lute. A beautifully sung CD. Very uplifting and if I may say, spiritual in its own way. You can dream of worlds beyond worlds, that stillness, always beyond words. VIVALDI:(BAROQUE) The Four Seasons. Sinfonia " Al Santo Sepolcro". Concerto op 3 No 10. Tafelmusik/ Jeanne Lamon. A superbly imaginative version of the Four seasons on original instruments. Their playing is full of fantasy and has a robust gusto that is irrestible. Gained a Rosette for excellence from the Penguin Guide 1996. HAYDN:(CLASSICAL) Symphonies Nos 41, 42,43,44, 51 & 52. Tafelmusik. Bruno Weil. Direction of this Canadian group, Jeanne Lamon. H.G Robbins Landon was the musicologist and artistic consultant and was pleased witht he results. There are 20 strings, against which oboes, horns and occasionally trumpets are balanced. There is no Harpsichord. Bruno Weil's tempi are fast. Sets new standards. WEISS:( BAROQUE) LUTE Works. Lutz Kitchhof. Baroque Lute & Theorbo Lute. Weiss was a contemporary of J.S Bach. He was regarded as the greatest Lutenist of the Baroque period. The quality of Weiss's musical invention seems inexhustible throughout all these works. VIVALDI:(BAROQUE) Sonatas for Cello and Basso Continuo 1-6. Anner Bylsma cello. Vivaldi wrote imaginatively for the cello, and the Sonatas like the concerto's have many marvellous melodies.
BEETHOVEN:(CLASSICAL) Archduke and Ghost trios. Jos van Immerseel Fortepiano. Vera Beths Violin & Anner Bylsma Cello. The period instrument piano does not sound like a Steinway. HANDEL:(BAROQUE) Concerti Grossi,Op 3, 1-6. Tafelmusik/Jeanne Lamon. Original instruments are played but not flaunted too abrasively. The playing is fresh and unfussy. It has plenty of warmth. MOTETS OF THE 17th CENTURY:(BAROQUE) Austria. Bohemia. Bavaria. Niederaltaicher Scholaren. Konrad Ruhland. HAYDN:(CLASSICAL) The last 4 piano Trios. Robert Levin. Vera Beths. Anner Bylsma. These are truely magnificent pieces full of originality. These performances do them ample justice by the outstanding musicianship. BOCCHERINI:(CLASSICAL) Overture in D major. Concertos for Violoncello and Orchestra in D Major,G 476 and C Major, G 573. Octet in G Major, G 47O. Sinfonia in C minor, G 519. Tafelmusik. Anner Bylsma-Cello and Jeanne Lamon direction. Bylsma is a superb cellist. He is lucky to have Jeanne Lamons Tafelmusik as his accompanying group. One of the most elegant and polished of all period instrument ensembles. Cello Sonatas. Fuges for 2 cellos. Anner Bylsma, Slowik and Van Asperen. Bylsma and Boccherini go together, for he could not be boring if he tried. These Cello sonatas of which he wrote 34, are full of attractive musical invention. MOZART:(CLASSICAL) Quintet for Clarinet, 2 Violins, Viola and cello in A major,K 581 " Stadler Quintet". Quartet for clarinet and strings K 378. Trio for Piano, clarinet and viola in E-flat major K498. "Kegelstatt-trio" L' Archibudelli. Neidich Clarinet and Levin Fortepiano. The clarinet Quintet K581 is one of the most beautiful works written for Clarinet and strings. One of the best CDs in this collection. NORTH GERMAN ORGAN MUSIC:(BAROQUE) Ludgeri Church, Germany. Dom Church, Denmark. Gustav Leonhardt.
C.P.E BACH:(BAROQUE-CLASSICAL) Complete flute sonatas. Transverse Flute and Harpsichord. Barthold Kuijken-Flute. Bob can Asperen- Harpsichord. FRANCHOMME/CHOPIN:(ROMANTIC) Grand Duo Concertant and other works. Anner Bylsma-cello. Lambert Orkis- Pianoforte. L' Archibudelli and Smithsonian Chamber Players. SCHUBERT:(EARLY ROMANTIC) Mass in A flat major, D 678. German Mass, D 872. Vienna Sangerknaben. Chorus Viennensis. Hering, Van der kamp, Orchestra of the age of enlightenment. Bruno Weil. The A flat major Mass is directed by Weil in an understated manner resulting in a satisfying performance. The orchestra of the age of Enlightenment plays superbly. Weil's tempi are brisk. ORGAN MUSIC IN FRANCE AND SOUTHERN NETHERLANDS-(BAROQUE) Gustav Leonhardt. HAYDN:(CLASSICAL) THe Creation. Ann Monoylos, Hering, Harry can der Kamp. Tolzer Knabenchor. Tafelmusik. Bruno Weil. Weil uses a period orchestra of 45 players and a choir of similar numbers. A joyous offering, with swift tempi. Based on the original autograph manuscript that Haydn himself used for performances of the work. AGRICOLA.(MEDIEVAL) A Secret Labyrinth. Hugelgas Ensemble. Paul Van Nevel. BEETHOVEN:(CLASSICAL-ROMANTIC) Complete Sonatas for Pianoforte and Violoncello. Jos van Immerseel Pianoforte. Anner Bylsma Cello. MOZART:(CLASSICAL) REQUIEM,K 626. Tolzer Knabenchor,Ulewicz, Holzl, Hering, Van der Kamp. Tafelmusik- Jeanne Lamon and Bruno Weil. The period instrument sound is different, with lighter textures. Swift tempi. Included is a Mozart fragment supplemented by Sussmayr, completed by H.C Robbins Landon. SCHUBERT:(EARLY ROMANTIC) Piano Trios. No 1 in B-flat,op 99. No 2 in E flat, op 100. Immerseel,Fortepiano, Vera Beths Violin and Anner Bylsma Cello.
VIVALDI:(BAROQUE) Eleven Concerto's. Anner Bylsma, Tafelmusik/ jeanne Lamon. HAYDN: The last three String Quartets. L' Archibudelli. HANDEL:(BAROQUE) Music for the Royal fireworks. Concerto's for two wind ensembles and strings.1-3. Tafelmusik. Jeanne Lamon.In the concerto's for two wind ensembles Handel borrows freely from other works such as the Messiah.TELEMANN:(BAROQUE-CLASSICAL) Paris Quartets 1-12. Barthold Kuijken flute. Sigiswald Kuijken Violin. Wieland Kuijken Viola Da Gamba. Gustav Leonhardt Harpischord. These Quartets have become among the most popular works in the Baroque chamber repertoire. UTOPIA TRIUMPHANS: (RENAISSANCE) Huelgas Ensemble. Paul Van Nevel. J S BACH:BAROQUE) Violin Concerto's. BWV 1041. 1042. 1043. 1064.Tafelmusik. Jeanne Lamon is warmly stylish. Brandenburg Concerto's Nos 1-6. Tafelmusik. Jeanne Lamon. Is enjoyably robust and spontaneous. The tempi are brisk. BRAHMS:(ROMANTIC) Sonatas for piano and cello op 38 and op 99. SCHUMANN:(ROMANTIC) Funf Stucke im Volkston op 102 for cello and Piano. Anner Bylsma Cello and Orkis Piano. The instruments both come from the collection of the Smithsonian Institutions National museum of American history in Washington D.C. Bylsma plays the 1701 Stradivarius. Orkis plays the 1892 piano made by Steinway and sons, played by Paderewski 1892-1893. HANDEL:(BAROQUE) Water Music. Suite from Il Pastor Fido. Tafel Musik. Jeanne Lamon. This group has a good grasp of Handelian Style and has lots of energy. Il Pastor Fido-Handel added ballet music for a French donor. The playing is fresh and spirited.
REFERENCES: Lloyd,N. The Golden Encyclopedia of Music. 1968. The Golden press New York. Penguin Classical year books. 1977, 1996, 2002. Stanley, J. Classical music.1994.Reed International Books Ltd.
on 12 March 2013
Initial joy on receiving this beautiful presentation box was somewhat spoiled by a nasty donk on one corner,showing that this heavy (60 cds) box had been dropped, and matching damage on outer-box corner, points to the carrier (Yodel)...Blame is however shared by Amazon who WILL persist in using brown packing paper to wedge heavy contents in one corner of outer-box, instead of nesting contents centrally. Not the first time I have had to tell them of this, so one star only for that.
Delighted to see that each cd card sleeve has its own design, sometimes the original, but always historical and attractive, rather than repeated identical ones. Quick summary list of contents is on bottom of box ( ! ), but there is a good 60 page index in the specially prepared book (total of 245 pages, ALL in English ! - and with different authors, so probably the original notes). Recordings are all in 20 bit DDD, so 5 stars, well deserved.
Wide choice of composers- all the usual favourites, (though not always their most popular works) plus less well-known, like Schutz, Franchomme and Weiss, and to me, unknown, like Agricola and Gombert . Surprises abound, and no doubt many pleasures await !
As for performances, too early to tell, but if all are of quality of my existing Vivarte series, should be among the best. Guesstimate must be High, some good names here..Archibudelli, Tafelmusik, Anner Bylsma seem to predominate, but many others
Overall, a good bargain,well-presented in a lovely box, Enjoy !