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4.6 out of 5 stars
Decca Sound - The Analogue Years (Decca box set)
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2013
This is the fourth of the current crop of 'mega-bargain-boxes' that I've picked up. The Deutsche Grammophon 111 box was an impressive showcase of their artists - more big names than most labels can manage, and some legendary performances - Kleiber's Beethoven 5 for example. At the other extreme is the Mercury box - a small American recording company working over a short duration that seemed to employ Antal Dorati as much as possible. It has a delightfully eclectic mix, too - lots of American music and a hefty eastern bloc crop. Their very simple recording technique lead to recordings with spectacular clarity and soundstage - music leaping out of the speakers or headphones in a way that few achieve now.

The Decca Sound was the best collection yet - many more big names and great recordings than Mercury could muster and recordings that were picked for showing off their audiophile kudos. It is a truly awesome box. The Analogue Years is a more-of-the-same sequel, focussing on the period 1954-1980 and again showcasing Decca's particularly brilliant engineering together with a lot of very fine performances. The several double disc sets here, including Otello and La Boheme are particularly welcome inclusions.

There are a few interesting decisions here, including the repetition of works within the same box (two Grieg piano concertos) and repetition of works in the first Decca Sound box - another Rite of Spring(!) - but these are nothing to complain at, particularly when so much great music is included in such an economical box.

Very highly recommended.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 October 2013
Decca has produced in the past the companion to this Analogue Box,and Ashkenazy 50 years Box set on Decca.The company is known for its sound.This box is made of tough cardboard,which has another box stuck inside to protect the CDs.There is no traditonal lid,but strong cardboard flaps which when open,divide into two. You could place a sleeve and a CD waiting to be played on one flap. The box is all white with light grey symbols around the box and the unorthodox lids,are devided into Black one side, with Decca in white and the other side Sound on a white background.One side has a strong paper list of what is to be played,instead of being printed on the box.It has rubbery glue on the back. You can remove the list,then fold it and place it inside the box. I did this with the excellent Ashkenazy Set and it is very useful.

The sleeves have the original cover art on the front, with what is being played and the conductor as well as the soloists if any.The back has track numbers and pieces to be played; Conductor and or Soloists.Also, included is a bonus.For example, CD 34,Sibelius Vienna Phil Conducted Maazel,has Sym No 1 and Karelia Suite,plus bonus Sym no 4. There are many of bonus's or fillers, spread throughout the Box set.The backs of the Sleeve can be white or black with the CD number on the right hand side.If the CD Sleeve's back is white, the top half of the CD is black and the lower white and black vice versa.The conductor,then the composer,or soloist and composer is printed on the top half of the CD and stereo and date published and CD number in the middle,right handside.(I have reviewed all the CDs)The CDs are easy to get out of the single sleeves,but those CDs in the few double sleeves can be a little difficult.You cannot get lost in this well thought out box.

The 200 page booklet is devided into English,French and German.The first chapter has the Index list,with the CD number next to it.The track numbers,composer,pieces to be played etc and times.Spread throughout the booklet are pictures of the participants in this box set.Then the article 'the story of Decca/London FFSS' by Michael Grey, for the tech heads,which does mention the introduction of Dolby and Quad.Also,describes what new fangled invention of the period they have used in recording certain pieces included in this box set.Another article, 'Analogue Stereo years.A golden era of Artists and recording' by Ray McGill, mentions that"for many record collectors the Analogue stereo recordings made from the mid 1950's to the end of the 1970's represent something of a golden age,ffss(full frequency stereophonic sound) recordings are a pinnacle of technical and musical achievement.The present collection spans a period of 26 years from the first stereo made by Decca in May 1954 in Geneva through to some of the last analogue recordings made in London in 1980.Then goes on where the recordings were made,a few techological details and so forth.In otherwords, the sound is marvellous.No translation for the operas and recital included in this set.

I shall go across the page as I usually do where details of the CDs are concerned.CD number,first,then date released. The conductor or soloist is mentioned before the composer;then pieces to be played.Afterwords, mainly reviews from the Penguin Guides 1977 and 1996,plus a few reviews taken from the Gramophone Classsical magazine placed on the backs of the sleeves.Now for the history contained in this Decca analogue box set which may come as a surprise to you. Nikisch held that conducting required spontanety,boldness,imagination, and a profound feeling for the work at hand.He rescued Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony from oblivion and turned it into a success. Brahms said to Hungarian Nikisch after a Leipzig concert rehearsal,"you have changed everything.But you are right.It must be like that".Nikisch died in 1922 and Furtwangler took over his post as musical director of the Berlin Phil.He often said that Nikisch was his only role model.But Nikisch was a model for youngsters where ever he went. He fired the imagination of Monteux in France,in Switzerland of Ansermet,also the mighty sucession of Hungarian maestro's-Szell,Dorati,Kertesz(he drowned in his 40's),and Solti all traced their origin to Nikisch. Abbado cited Furtwangler as his role model.

(CD 1)DUTOIT-ROGE-piano(1980)Saint-Saens:Phaeton;Le Rouet d'Omphale,Danse macabre;la Jeunesse d'Hercule.Bonus Piano Concerto No 1. Philharmonia Orch." The symphonic poems are beautifully played. Dutoit shows himself a sensitive exponent in the manner of Beecham."Roge bring's delicacy,virtuosity and sparkle to the piano part.".(CD 2)SOLTI:(1979) Bruckner Sym No 6. Chicago sym orch."Solti offers great overall coherence and is magnificently recorded"(CD 3)HAITINK:(1979)Shostakovich sym no 4.London Phil Orch."Brings out an unexpected refinement in the symphony,a rare transparency of texture. The Earthiness and power are underplayed" (CD 4)(1978)ROGE-piano:Preludes Book 1;Children's corner.Bonus: Reverie;L'Isle joyeuse."Children's corner is played with neat elegance and the characterization has charm.Roge brings genuine poetic feeling to the first book of the Preludes"(CD 5)STEIN:(1978)Sibelius Pelleas et Melisande -Incidental music. The Tempest.Bonus En Saga.Pohjola's Daughter. L' Orchestre de la Suisse Romande."Stein shows a gift for the special atmosophere of Sibelius".(CD 6)WELLER:Prokofiev Sym no 2. The love for three Oranges Symphonic Suite.Bonus Scythian Suite.London Phil Orch."The Symphony No 2 must be numbered as the most sucessful of Wellers cycle."(CD 7)DORATI(1978)Bartok Suite No 1;two Pictures.Bonus Enescu Romanian Rhapsody. Detroit Sym Orch."Suite No 1; Dorati's approach is strong and vigorous to match,as it is in the Pictures."
(CD 8)MAAZEL:(1977)Prokofiev No 5. Bonus Rimsky-Korsakov Russian Easter festival-Overture. Capriccio Espagnol. The Cleveland Orch."Maazel makes it all the more strongly symphonic rather than lyrically evocative."(CD 9)CHUNG-Violin;LUPU-piano.(1977) Franck sonata for violin and piano. Debussy sonata for violin and piano. Bonus: Ravel Introduction and Allegro. Debussy Sonata for flute,viola and harp.Has been awarded a rosette by Penguin guide for being excellent."Chung plays with marvellous character.But her partnership with Lupu could hardly be more fruitful"(CD 10)ASHKENAZY:(1977)Tchaikovsky Manfred Symphony. Bonus -Scherzo.Boris Belkin violin.Philharmonia Orch."I would recommend this issue to those who have been waiting for a completely satisfying version."(CD 11)METHA:(1976).Gershwin An American in Paris;Copland Appalachian Spring;Bernstein Candide-overture;Copland Lincoln portrait Peck narrator; Kraft Contextures.Los Angeles Philharmonic."Metha's performance is second to none".(CD 12)CHIARA;GARDELLI;SANTI:(1976)Wolf-Ferrari Il segreto di Susanna; Weikl."It is a charming piece that has individual magic. Excellent singing and playing" Verdi Arias Aida; I Vespri Siciliani;Othello. Orch of ROH Covent Garden."The natural creamy beauty of Maria Chiara's voice used intelligently makes for an enjoyable disc. Singing often of ravishing quality." (CD 13)(1976).LARROCHA;FRUHBECK DE BURGOS:(1976)Surinach Concerto for piano and orch; Montsalvatage Concerto breve for piano and orch.Cond Royal Philharmonic orch. Bonus: Faure Fantasie for piano and orch;Franck Symphony variations for piano and orch.Cond London Philharmonic orch."Of course they sound excellent as we should expect from Alicia de Larrocha to whom both works were dedicated".(CD 14)(1975)FITZWILLIAM STRING QUARTET:Shostakovich String Quartet No 15;No 8;Bonus Sting Quartet No 9."The reading of the 15th Quartet has unusual sympathy and feeling.They developed a relationship near the end of the composers life". (CD 15)MUNCHINGER:(1974)Schubert Rosamunde.Preciosa overture; Schumann Genoveva overture; Vienna Philharmonic."Here Munchinger is at his best-and it is at once apparent that the recording is really first class."(CD 16)SOLTI:(1974)Stravinsky the Rite of Spring;Bonus: Bolero; Schoenberg Variations.Chicago Sym Orch."Solti's version takes an honourable place in a highly competitive list".(CD 17)LUPU;PREVIN:(1973) Schumann piano concerto;Grieg piano concerto."In the Grieg concerto Lupu 's performance is enjoyable and in the Schumann Previn copes well with the orchestra accompaniment,and the LSO's playing is warm and decisive."(CD 18)DORATI:(1972)Haydn Symphonies No 94;No 100; No 104.Philharmonia Hungarica."His performances are lively,unfussy and well played."

(CD 19a &b)BRITTEN:(1972)Double-Scenes from Goethes Faust.Palmer;Pears;Shirley-Quirk;Fischer Dieskau,Aldeburgh festival singers.English Chamber Orch."Britten inspired his fine cast of singers to vivid performances recorded against the warm Maltings acoustic."Bonus: Mozart Symphony No 40."Totally convincing".(CD 20)(1972) CHUNG;PREVIN. Walton and Stravinsky violin concerto's."In the Walton Chung builds up a performance which must remain a classic,with Previn as guide and the composer present".Penguin gave this recording a Rosette.(CD 21)ASHKENAZY:(1972) 12 Etudes, op 10;12 Etudes, op 25."This might be a first choice for collectors"(1975 Gramophone).(CD 22)(1972)BONYNGE:Offenbach Le Paillion LSO Bonus: Massenet Le Cid National Phil Orch."This record can be highly recommended to Offenbach and romantic ballet fans alike".(CD 23)METHA:(1971) Holst the Planets;Saint-Saens Symphony No 3'Organ symphony" Los Angeles Philharmonic."Holst gives an impeccable reading of Holst's score,the orchestra deserves the same praise." (CD 24)(1971) ASHKENAZY;MAAZEL Scriabin piano concerto London Phil orch. Prometheus. Bonus:Le poem de l'extase Cleveland Orch."Azhkenazy plays the piano with great feeling and authority. An introduction to Scriabin's art and a very distinguished record in every respect".(CD 25)KERTESZ:(1970)Dvorak The water Goblin;My home;the noonday Witch;Husitaka. Bonus:the Golden Spinning wheel symphonic poem.London Symphony Orch.(CD 26)STARKER:(1969) Bloch Schelomo;Voice in the Widerness. Bonus: Rinsky-Korsakov Capriccio Espagnol.Israel Philharmonic Orch cond Metha."Starker plays splendidly throughout,while Metha gets the very best out of the orchestra."(CD 27) WEINER OKTETT:(1968)Mendelssohn Sextet;"It has an engaging immediacy and remarkable sureness of technique"Borodin Piano Quintet."It has an engaging freshness and charm that comes across in this performances"Bonus:Berwald Grand Septet.(CD 28)ABBADO:(1968) Mendelssohn 3rd and 4th Symphonies."The performances are very enjoyable and Abbado is a very sympathetic Mendelssohnian." (CD 29)SOLTI:(1967) Verdi Requiem. Sutherland;Horne;Pavarotti and Talvela. Vienna Philharmonic."If you want an extrovert performance with superlative recording you could hardly do better".(CD 30) SOLTI:(1966)Mahler 2nd sym ."Solti's account is one of the most impressive Mahler performances."(CD 31)SCHMIDT-ISSERSTEDT:(1965)Beethoven 9th. Suterland;Horne; King;Talvela."Isserstedt gives an intensely satisfying reading of the 9th".(CD 32)ROSTROPOVICH ;BRITTEN(1964)Britten Cello concerto; Haydn cello concerto.English Chamber Orch. "Rostropovich's playing is romantic in the Haydn Cello concerto."(CD 33)KERTESZ:(1964)Hary Janos suite; Dances of Galanta.Bonus: The Peacock; Variations on a Hungarian Folk song the Peacock."A winner from the start.This will become a demonstration disk."(CD 34) MAAZEL:(1963) Symphony No 1. Karelia Suite. Bonus Symphony no 4. "The No 1 has the freshness of vision to recommend it. The fourth is the most impressive of Maazel's Sibelius's cycle."(CD 35)LONDON WIND SOLOISTS:(1962)Mozart wind Serenades. Serenade in B lat major 'Gran partita'.Bonus: Serenade in C minor'Nacht Musik.Jack Brymer.(CD 36)OISTRAKH;HINDESMITH;HORENSTEIN (1962)Bruch Scottish Fantasia; Hindesmith Violin concerto London symphony Orch."Oistrakh's playing throughout the Bruch piece is ravishing.Here the violinists performance in the Hindesmith concerto can never before have blossomed into rewarding lyricism.(CD 37)CURZON:SZELL Brahms concerto No 1. Bonus Mozart piano Concerto No 27.London Sym Orch"The Brahms is one of the very best recordings of this work."(CD 38) LANCHBERRY;SOLTI:(1962) Herold La fille mal gardee-highlights.Bonus Gounod Faust-ballet music. Orch of the ROH, Covent Garden."The performance here is brilliantly played both affection and sparkle in ample quantity." (CD 38)ANSERMET:(1962)Martin Etudes for string orch; Concerto for 7 wind instruments,percussion and strings. Bonus:Honegger Symphony No 2.l'Orchestre de la suisse Romande.

(CD 40 A&B)DEL MONACO;TEBALDI;KARAJAN:(1961)Verdi Othello.Vienna Phil.Tebaldi and del Monaco give one of their finest performances.Karajan is dramatic in his conducting.(CD 41)BOSKOVSKY:(1961)Josef Strauss and Johann Strauss waltzs.Vienna Phil Hilde Gueden.(CD 42) FISTOULARI:(1961)Tchaikovsky Swan Lake.Lecoqo Menzelle Angot-Highlights.Concertgebouw Och. Och of the ROH,Covent garden."This is real ballet conducting" "This is real ballet conducting".(CD 43) GAMBA;RICCI:(1960) Rossini overtures La gazzo Ladra; La Scala di Seta; Il barbiere di Sivigla;William Tell. Bonus: Mendelssohn Violin concerto Ricci London Symphony Orch.(CD 44 a &B)TEBALDI;BERGONZI:SERAFIN:(1959) Puccini La Boheme Tebaldi,bergonzi Bastianini,Siepi,Corena,Orchestra dell Accademia di Santa cecilia,Roma."Vocally the performances achieved a consistently high standard.Serafin is more vital here"
(CD 45)(1958)MONTEUX Sibelius Sym No 2. Bonus: Dvorak Sym No 7. London Sym Orch. "7th always been a favourite. It is exciting and idiomatic."(CD 46)KRIPS:(1958)Symphony No 9(Great) and 8th (Unfinished)."The 8th is a gentle,glowing performance. Krips never made a finer record then this."(CD 47)ALWYN;SOLTI:KATCHEN:(1958) Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture-Band of the Grenadier Guards;Cappriccio Italian; Marche slave. Bonus: Rachmaninov Piano concerto No 2-piano Katchen.London Symphony Orch. "Katchen gives a dramatic and exciting account."(CD 48)CURZON;FJRLDSTAD Grieg Peer Gynt. Bonus: Grieg Piano Concerto Curzon Piano. London sym Orch.(CD 49)ANSERMET:(1954) Ravel lEnfant et les Sortileges.L'Orchestre de la Suise Romande. Danco,Cuenod,Wend."This is generally a performance of high quality.Ansermet's direction shows him at his most imaginative".Ma Mere l'Oye-suite.(CD 50)ANSERMET:(1954) Stereo and Mono same CDs Rimsky-Korsakov Sym No 2 Antar.Glazunov Stenka Razin."The performance here is effective" Balakiriev Tamara. Lyadov Kikimora. "Has characteristic detail and atmosophere,"l'Orchestra de la suise Romande.This is one the first stereo recordings that Decca made in May 1954,but only appeared years later.

REFERENCES:Gramophone reviews back of Decca Analogue sleeves. Lebrecht,N. The Maestro Myth.1977.Pocket books.Penguin claasical music year book 1977 and 1996.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2015
First of all let me reassure all those people who may have been concerned about the sound (as a result of one very negative review). I have by no means listened to all of these cds! But the ones I have listened to sound fine. Indeed the recording of the Franck violin/piano sonata is superb with violin and piano beautifully balanced and the piano tone having real depth and richness. This is a magnificent performance, too, but the quality of the recording serves it perfectly. By far the best recorded sound in this work that I have ever heard. At the other end of the sound spectrum with instead of just 2 instruments, a full orchestra with 2 pianos and a mighty organ, the recording St Saens 3rd symphony is also very good with that glorious moment in the last movement when the 2 pianos sparkle a descant through the orchestral texture is marvellously clear without ever sounding artificially illuminated and the organ sounds part of the ensemble instead of being in a different acoustic. There is of course variation in sound quality, with different locations, different conductors and orchestras and different dates. But interestingly there are differences even when conductor, orchestra, location and date are the same: eg the disc containing Monteux's performances of Sibelius 2 and Dvorak 7. Both were with the LSO, both were in the Kingsway Hall, both in 1959. The performance of Dvorak's 7th is magnificent one of the finest on record: I loved it on lp in the 60s. But the sound though good is not as open or dynamic as that of the Sibelius (with John Culshaw as producer) which precedes it.
The 2nd point I wish to make is that this box is exceptionally generous in terms of music contained in it. I was critical of the 2nd box of living stereo because RCA had simply transferred LPs to cds meaning that some of the cds were as short as 35 minutes. Here that is not the case. Almost all the cds have bonus tracks making many of them more than 80 minutes long. In the case of operas and longer works 2 cds are counted as one: so, for example Verdi's Otello, numbered cd 40 in this box, is actually a 2 cd set with total playing time of 144 minutes. So there are 54 well filled cds in this box. On the other hand the original record notes are not included in the booklet for any of the music nor any texts - or even synopses of the operas. Instead there are some interesting articles on the methods of recording, layouts of microphones and orchestras etc.
So what of the performances? In a box as large as this there are always going to be some performances which any one listener will find less convincing than others. For example, although it was well received at the time and still has lots of admirers, I have never been able to get to like Mario de Monaco's rather brash Otello, though it is certainly heroic. I find any of Domingo's performances more convincing, and of the vintage sets I prefer Vickers with Gobbi and Rysanek under Serafin, to this one. Protti's Iago is not very subtle and Karajan's conducting not as naturally flexible as Serafin's. Toscanini's performance with Vinay as Otello is in a class of its own. However, the playing of the Vienna Phil is wonderful and Culshaw's production and the Decca sound are vastly superior to other performance of the opera of that date. Tebaldi makes a touching Desdemona.
Similarly I have never been very fond of Solti's Verdi Requiem. But here it is generously squeezed onto one cd of over 84 minutes! A tremendous advantage being able to hear it all in one go. There are wonderful things in this performance: both the sanctus and the libera me choruses dance delightfully: the chorus is very agile and Solti’s conducting light and energetic. The Rex tremendae majestatis is suitably powerful and the dies irae episodes spit sparks and thunderous blasts appropriately. The chorus sings very securely and the VPO play like angels. On paper the solo quartet would have been difficult to improve upon in 1967 when this was recorded: Sutherland, Marilyn Horne, Pavarotti and Talvela. However, in practice, there are weaknesses. Although Sutherland does everything beautifully, especially her floated top notes, and she does try to articulate clearly in Libera me, for much of the time she is really only vocalizing, not interpreting the text. Indeed there are passages when it sounds as if she is sucking a gobstopper at the same time as singing: the words just aren’t there. Marilyn Horne is superb in the liber scriptus and blends fairly well in the recordare, but is it her singing in the Agnus Dei? It sounds more like Pavarotti to me. He sings the Ingemisco very well and is even better in the hostias, and is musical, well balanced and in tune in all the difficult a cappella bits. No weaknesses there (though I still prefer Bergonzi under Leinsdorf). Talvella is strong, well focused and solid throughout. But other basses (eg Flagello, Christoff and Ghiarov for example) have sung with greater warmth in passages like ora me cum benedictis, and greater chill in mors stupebit. And although the recorded sound is vivid and exciting I can hear more orchestral detail in the Leinsdorf performance with Boston forces in the Living Stereo 2 box, where Nilsson is almost ideal as the soprano and Bergonzi is unequalled as the tenor. So I have some criticisms of this performance: but are they really valid given that we get 84 minutes of marvellous music for about £1!!! ?
Rather surprisingly 2 works receive 2 different performances in this box: Grieg’s piano concerto and Rimsky’s Capriccio Espagnol. As far as the concerto is concerned I can well understand why both performances were included. Lupu’s disc with the Schumann as coupling is outstanding, not least for the way he and Previn make music together, each illuminating the other quite brilliantly in both works. The other is also from a classic recording; that by Clifford Curzon in collaboration with Fjeldstad. Lupu’s performance is a little more free than Curzon’s with some passages of almost frolicsome playfulness, especially in the cadenzas, which I enjoyed immensely. Curzon’s is straighter but very eloquent and Fjeldstad’s contribution is very telling. The much more recent recording by Lupu is wonderfully transparent but Curzon’s performance is strongly projected and the sound is full if a bit less subtle.
However with the Capriccio I am puzzled as to why Decca have included the Mehta performance with the Israel Phil. Maazel’s with the Cleveland is far better played, more idiomatically conducted, better balanced as a recording and I’m afraid if you play Maazel’s first, Mehta’s performance sounds mediocre. I’m sure that Decca could have found something better to add as a bonus item to the splendid performances of Bloch’s Schelomo and voice in the wilderness on this disc. Was there nothing more from Starker in their vaults? Incidentally Maazel’s performance of Prokoviev’s 5th at the beginning of cd 8 is fabulously played with the last movement totally stunning. And the recording both of the Prokoviev and the Rimsky items ion this disc is of demonstration quality.
I still have about 45 discs to listen to but I’ve decided to post this review already, before it gets any longer. I look forward to taking my time to do that. Some of them are familiar friends from my LP collecting days: some of them contain music that is totally unknown to me. So much pleasure lies in store.
I am not sure whom this box is targeted at. I fear that the newcomer to classical music will find a large number of the discs packed with unfamiliar and not altogether easy listening music eg Kraft, Martin Schoenberg, Scriabin, Surinach and Shostakovich chamber music while basic repertoire is hardly covered. On the other hand thorough collectors will have bought many of discs already. At £55 being asked by Amazon the box is a steal. It contains so many classic performances that it will bring immense pleasure to anyone who loves great music.And it offers the occasional surprise as well. Strongly recommended
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2013
I have been bought this box set as a present. I can remember many of these analogue recordings when they were first issued, and indeed I still own many of the original vinyls. There are such riches here and it would take many hours to write a comprehensive review of all the disks, so rather than that I will make more general comments and only go into detail about a few of my favourites.
My first point is that these are beautifully remastered, very faithful to the original recordings. I can say this with some authority because I have made direct comparisons of many of these between the CDs and the old vinyl LPs. The reviewer who criticised these masterings must have something wrong with his audio equipment.
The quality of the recordings do vary, but this is hardly surprising since issues from 1954 to 1980 are included here. The Rimsky from 1954 is surprisingly good (cd50) but you can hear the shortcomings of the early microphones and tape recorders. The last recordings, for example the Solti Bruckner 6th, are every bit as fine as the best digital recordings, some would argue even better.
There are some old potboiler favourites here, but in the main the choice is very varied and generally very good. Some of these recordings are still the best available, listen to the Wha Chung and Lupu Franck violin sonata for example. The Solti Rite of Spring takes some beating also.
I would recommend this set to anyone who has a CD player good enough to reproduce these lovely performances at the required standard. At a bargain price at the moment, snap this up while you can. Mark my words, this will quadruple in value once it is out of print.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2013
This set, whilst duplicating some of what I already have, is nevertheless great value for money. Longer pieces, like the operas, running to two discs, are counted as one disc. There are plenty of lesser known works and the recording quality on all I have so far listened to is exemplary. Add to this some fine interpretations of the music and some very complimentary reviews of each of the pieces from the 'Gramophone' and Penguin Guide. I would recommend this wholeheartedly.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2013
I've been listened to this for a few days now and I've got through about a dozen CDs in full (some of them a couple of times), and selected favourite pieces and tracks from a lot of the other CDs. I'm writing this in response to the 1 star review that described this set as "grotesquely remastered". I know such things are a matter of opinion, but that's ridiculous. 75% of my listening is done via headphones and these sound exquisite. When I'm not listening on headphones they sound just as lush and beautiful. Make your mind up the music but don't listen to allegations that these don't "sound" good - because they do.
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2013
The box step arrived and only listened to 3 cd so far.The beethoven Symphony 9 by Hans Schmidt Isserstedt and I was impressed with pristine sound not overbearing but pleasant to the ears even on headphone.The details of various are amazing in December 1965.The sound is more cleaner and pleasnt than Volume 1 and slighly more expensive.I am ver impressed with box set and it will be a lifetime of achievement.If you have Volume 1 why wait and I am sure the price will go up.I have listened to various Beethoven symphony 9 and this one will top of the list and that say something.This is an initial review that will encourage others to buy this set.Highly recommended. One suggestion is to listen to bonus cd 51 and then 50,the mono recording of Rimsky Korsakov Antar,Symphony 2 and what revealation and difference between the sound of mono and the 1st stereo recording made by Decca.Good listening. NB:I am not a music expert but enjoy all type of music from heavy to jazz,from pop to folk,any type of music and only 73 years.I could listen to Black Sabbath to Malher 6 to Brucker 9.I am an addict to Bruckner symphonies.I have a vast taste in music and a massive collection.I only allow my ears to be the judge and ignore so called music expert.I am thinking of moving in big house due to cd collection.Give me feedback instead of pushing a button no.I am prepare to delete this review as no one has bother to review this item since it was released and thought it might help some.There are only 1 review fromAmazon Italy and Germany.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2014
Decca records is one of the true great recording companies. Through out the years the have been known for their excellent recordings - artistic and sound wise. Being able to buy this 50+ cd collection with recordings made before the entrance of digital recording technology ( believe me, this is nothing negative sound wise!) for this amount of money is a true bargain! Great recordings, great orchestras and conductors - I recommend this to any one interested in classical music no matter if you are a novice or an expert!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2014
This is an excellent set. I agree with the other reviewers. Although there are undeniable duplications and the usual items like Beethoven 9 etc this is to expected in compiling a box set like this. The sound quality even of the 1950s items are clear and present no listening problems.

You should also get the companion box by Decca, you know, the blue and red one.

This should give an enormous amount of listening pleasure.

This is a short review because I want to put the next cd on.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2013
This is as good a sound quality you can get from CDs. Still there's some way up to the vinyl sound. The CDs lack dynamics, perspective, transparency and the natural sound of acoustic instrument compared to the LPs.
The music? Top performers all the way. Who am I to judge?
My only complaint, which is a matter of taste, is that I would have liked more Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms in stead of the more "modern" composers. But it is a bargain.
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