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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who like great conductors of now and the past,or who might like to begin a collection., 10 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Decca Sound - The Analogue Years (Decca box set) (Audio CD)
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Apr 2014, 01:12:15 BST
Foretcalme says:
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! One of the truly annoying things about boxes is that one doesn't know what is in them, and without a list such as yours (a mere list of pieces played without knowing who plays them and when is obviously useless). I cannot thank you enough for your labours. Best wishes.

Posted on 18 May 2014, 09:04:29 BST
Octave says:
Outstanding, and thanks much for the annotated contents. A labor of love.
If a small criticism wouldn't seem ungrateful, more paragraph breaks would make the review/annotations much more easily readable. Nonetheless, a great service!
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Location: Perth-West Australia

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