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Ernest Ansermet: Russian Music Box set

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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  • Ernest Ansermet: Russian Music
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Total price: £381.90
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Product details

  • Conductor: Ernest Ansermet
  • Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Alexander Borodin, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Modest Mussorgsky, Mili Balakirev, et al.
  • Audio CD (11 July 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 33
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B00J498SOI
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,373 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Ernest Ansermet war ein Schweizer Dirigent. Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg wurden Ansermet und sein Orchester international bekannt durch einen langfristigen Vertrag mit Decca Records. Die erste kommerzielle Stereo-Aufnahme Europas wurde im Mai 1954 von Ernest Ansermet dirigiert. Es folgten im selben Jahr Aufzeichnungen von Auszügen der Ballettmusiken zu Dornröschen, Der Nussknacker und Schwanensee von Tschaikowsky, die vom Covent Garden Orchester in London eingespielt wurden. Zu den ersten Stereo-Aufnahmen gehörte auch die vollständige Musik Der Nussknacker, die auf Stereo-Langspielschallplatten von Decca und später Telefunken produziert wurde. Ansermet hat früh begriffen, wie wichtig die Aufnahmetätigkeiten für das Radio und auf Schallplatte sind. Die Übertragung der Radiokonzerte (Mercredis symphoniques) waren manchmal die Probe vor Plattenaufnahmen. Decca hatte in der «Victoria Hall» in Genf ein Tonstudio eingerichtet; alle Aufnahmen mit dem OSR sind dort entstanden. Auf dem Markt waren allein von Decca 314 Werke mit Ansermet zu finden. In den Archiven des «Radio de la Suisse Romande» befinden sich 672 Bänder mit Konzerten von Ernest Ansermet.

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This is a follow-up to the French Music box released recently. It's worth checking out as their prices are often cheaper at the time of writing. Let's hope Universal will follow up with a further box mopping up the remainder of Ansermet's Decca recordings.
In this box, the Swiss and French orchestras display their usual virtues and defects. Ansermet is completely at home in this repertoire and aficionados need not hesitate. There are some editorial anomalies here. The Tsar Saltan Suite and Bumblebee on disc 9 appear to be repeated on disc 10. Furthermore Glazunov's invaluable arrangement of Schumann's Carnaval has been omitted from this box. OK, so it's not exactly Russian in origin, but Glazunov's arrangement certainly "Russifies" it! 14 of the 33 discs are devoted to Stravinsky . The bulk of the recordings are in stereo, some dating from as early as 1954. As far as I can tell, no recent remastering has been done for this set. On some discs, there are audible clicks between tracks. From a musical standpoint, these recordings are oozing with character and reflect Ansermet's lifetime experience with Russian music. They have an air of authenticity. The sound of the orchestras further underlines this feeling. Only the Firebird played by the New Philharmonia has the orchestral sound we take for granted nowadays. One could concede that the Suisse Romande and Paris Conservatoire orchestras featured elsewhere display comparable character with their Russian counterparts of the fifties and sixties. Nobody could accuse them of sounding anonymous.
This collection is a treasure trove of great performances and classic recordings. Let's hope there will be more Ansermet from Universal, Italy.
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While the European box seems fine, the French and Russian boxes are not OK (very annoying clicks at start of some tracks (e.g. an early track of Disc 5 (the mono Pelleas et Melisande). I would not recommend the Russian or French sets sets at all. Sloppy transfers !!!!
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The French music box (now Vol. 1, I see) is £49.39 for 32 CDs. The Russian music box is £93.21 for 33 CDs. An explanation would be helpful. I am obliged to make a star rating in order to make this comment.

UPDATE - Today the price is £62.32. That's better. In the meantime the French set went up to £90+, before returning to £46.27 - a superb bargain. The Russian set looks tempting except for those of us who have a lot of it already, for example, in the Stravinsky box that now seems to be available again. Still, I would pounce if it came down to the same level as the French box. Meanwhile, I am adjusting my rating to 4*. Be wary, though. The prices oscillate wildly.

UPDATE - Shortly after writing the above I followed Lynne's example and ordered the box from It came to about £47 in my case. It looks like the Italian site should be our first port of call for Universal product for a while...
3 Comments 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8d0c703c) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cf538b8) out of 5 stars Ernest Ansermet conducts Great Russian Music. 27 Feb. 2015
By Peter Dietrich - Published on
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Although I knew Nicolai Rimsky- Korsakov's (1844-1908) Symphonic Suite Schecherazade Op. 35 from Germany , the conductor who really
Introduced me to the enchanting and magical music of Rimsky- Korsakov was Ernest Ansermet ,when I purchased his recording issued on London LL 694 of LE COG D’ OR Suite and CAPRICCIO ESQPAGNOL in Kreys Music Shop on Boylston St. in Boston,1955.Before I purchased
The record I already heard the Capriccio Espagnol played in the store and I was stunned by the spectacular performance of this colorful and exotic music. From that time on I purchased almost every recording of this work and despite an improved sound none of the recordings could
Equal the beauty and intense performance of the magic buton of conductor Ernest Ansermet.All his three recordings of Schecherazade are
Outstanding . The first one recorded in1948 ( not included in this compilation) with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra , the second recorded in Stereo with the same Orchestra in 1954, and the last one recorded in 1960 with The L' Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. They all stand on equal terms with the best of Leopold Stokowski , Sir Thomas Beecham , Fritz Reiner and any others of the SACD Hybrid Era . The great recording of Antar Symphony Op. 9 received " A wonderful rich sound and the integration of all orchestral colors is most convincing" a natural
Recording. Other beauties of Rimsky -Korsakov are two excellent recordings of The Tale of Tsar Saltan , three Suites from operas Christmas Eve , Snow Maiden and Le Cog d'Or . Spectacular recording of Russian Easter Overture , Op. 36 , May Night Overture , Sadko Musical Picture
Op. 5 , Dubinushka Op. 62 and The Flight of the Bumblebee. Having such a great affinity to the music of Rimsky- Korsakov one can wonder why none of the Record Companies invited Ansermet to record any of Russian complete operas with the exception of Boris Godunov In French.?
All of the music of Pyotr ILyich Tchaikovsky included in this compilation I have for long time on LP's . The Nutcracker , Op.71 . The Sleeping Beauty , Op. 66 beautifully performed and recorded , while The Swan Lake Op. 20 is an abridged version. Among my favorite recordings is the
Performance of Symphony No. 6 in B minor Op. Pathetique. It is truly a beautiful performance and I rank it among the best recordings available.
Among my favorites is also the music of Alexander Borodin ( 1833-1887). Both Symphonies included received the best possible performances
And recordings . The Prince Igor Overture attributed to Borodin was actually written by Rimsky- Korsakov pupil Alexander Glazunov ( 1865-1936),after hearing it being performed on the piano by Borodin , he memorized it and composed . It is a Masterpiece but we will never know how Borodin would have written it Had he live longer ? THe Polovtsian Dances received a sparkling performance. The Classic Symphonic
Poem In the Steppes of Central Asia is performed by Ansermet with great involvement and feelings. In the music of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) Ansermet is in his element . Pictures at an Exhibition ( orchestrated by Maurice Ravel) in the hands of Ansermet ,they receive one of the
Greatest performances J have ever heard. Night on a Bare Mountain ( arr. and orchestrated by Rimsky- Korsakov) Ansermet performance is
Extremely dramatic and demonic. The dance Gopak from the little known opera Sorochinsky Fair receives a charming performance.
Mily Alexeivitch balakirev( 1837-1910) was the central figure of the famous Five who devoted themselves to the formation of a Russian style
Of composition . Thamar is one of his most important works and I will write the story because I believe that this work is virtually unknown to the younger generation of music lovers and Amazon .com customers. The story is as follows: Through the deep gorge of Daryala roar the waters
Of the river Terek ; above this chasm , long ago , there stood an ancient castle in which lived Queen Thamar , beautiful as an angel - but with
A loveliness masking the black heart of a devil. From her window at night shone golden lights and through the air came the sound of her enchanting voice , whose song lured traveler , merchant, warrior or peasant to seek her within the castle. When the gates opened the wanderer
Entered , he would find himself in a luxurious apartment where Thamar , richly bedecked in brocade and jewels reclined voluptuously on a coach. Then would the wine flow , and stranger and the Queen lock in wild , passionate embraces , whilst throughout the night the sound of feasting and revelry echoed in the castle halls. But as the first streaks of down appeared , all would suddenly be stilled inside the tower , and far
Below the waters of Terek would bear a corpse away . And from the window could be heard a whispered " Farewell" .If one can get involved
Deeply in the story and music , one will experience fascinating impression combined with horror. To my knowledge theAnsermet performance is the first stereophonic recording,and what a performance it is ! Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) . This well known and pilar composer does not need any introduction . His famous works in this collection are all performed with profound knowledge and love by Ansermet and his excellent Orchestra. The works by Alexander Glazunov ( 1865-1936) and Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857) all well known and loved are performed by Ansermet
With profound beauty and precision. Although Anatol Liadov (1855-1914) is one of the smaller stars in the Russian Galaxy of composers , his music has a distinctive charm , often enlivened with flashes and humor. Together with Balakirev he was appointed to a committee formed to study Russian folk music " and the interest thus aroused led him to genuine folk- tunes or employ ancient legends as the basis for many of his works, or for example , in the pieces here recorded. Baba - Yaga ,op. 56. Who is Baba-Yaga? It needs some explanation to be properly understood: In Russian folk-lore , Baba-Yaga is an ogress who lives in the forest in a hut which stands on fowl's legs and spins round continually
It is surrounded by a fence , build from bones and topped with the skuls of unlucky victims whom she has eaten. Kikimora Op. 63. A little tone poem .kikimora has been brought up by the witch living in the mountains,and her head is filled with strange tales told by the witch magic Tom-cat.
In seven years she is fully grown shiny and black , with a head the size of a tumble and a body as thin as straw. From morning till evening she makes strange noises and plots a destruction of a mankind. Ansermet had the music of Igor Stravinsky ( 1882-1971) in his bones. He conducted almost all his works throughout his life time with live , devotion and impeccable musicianship,as it can be heard from cd-15 until cd-28 . I personally not being a great fan enjoyed many of his works immense ally . Among my favorites are The Firebird , parts of Petrouchka , LE chant du rossignol, Le sacre du printempts ( the Rite of Spring)! And Pulcinella . Sergei Prokopiev (1891-1953) I have both Violin Concertos on LP's for many years , and the piano Concertos No's 3 and 5 . His Classical symphony is among my favorites . One of my treasures is his 5th symphony. I love more music by Prokofiev not included in this compilation and I find his music sometimes to sarcastic to my taste. In conclusion
I would like to say that this collection of great Russian Music conducted by a truly great artist - musician Ernest Ansermet is probably the best
And most beautiful , we will ever see in our life time . Therefore I recommend this magnificent Set to every music lover regardless of his background and interest?

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c8b71bc) out of 5 stars Good Decca, but not as good as Eloquence Decca 15 May 2016
By Simon-Sez - Published on
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Overall it is not a bad set, and I do like Maestro Ansermet's baton. However, too much repetition, and too much Stravinksky. Recording quality is very good, but not excellent. However, many of these performances were recorded in the 1950's and 60's. Nonetheless the Australian "Eloquence" reissues are of generally better sound quality.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cede054) out of 5 stars Love it! 22 Feb. 2016
By Alden 4 - Published on
Verified Purchase
Love it! Will be glad to have all the Ansermet sets!
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