Author Topic: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?  (Read 28641 times)

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DavidW

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How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« on: April 14, 2014, 05:10:17 AM »
Share the ones you don't like, and share the ones you do!  Is it worth it in the long run?

This is very well put and a sentiment I have grown very much to share about really many of thess assorted giga collections. 1 USD pr disc isn't really cheap if the discs don't mean much too you and have a very high likelyhood of never being played.

So true!  Well actually I think for me is that I listen to them and discover the hit and miss nature. 

Bach complete edition (brilliant): overly bright, overly fast harpsichord recordings, great sacred recordings from the Sixteen, decent cantatas with a good soprano, awesome organ set!, and the worst cello suites that I've ever heard.

Bach cantatas (Rilling): some of the best singing and some of the worst.  A vision that continuously changes as the decades progress.  The only thing consistent about the box is the lack thereof.

Haydn symphonies (Davies): well judged tempos, overly fast, overly slow.  Applause at the end of each symphony!?!  I at first liked this set, but as I listened more and more I get tired of not knowing whether I'll like what I hear or it will be poorly judged.  Don't think I'll ever finish this box.

Let me point out what one big box that is awesome!  The Angeles Quartet's traversal of Haydn is consistent in performance and style from the beginning to the end.  That is one big set that I always enjoy and come back to.  I think it's time for a thread...

Offline Wakefield

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 06:13:25 AM »
Share the ones you don't like, and share the ones you do!  Is it worth it in the long run?
Bach complete edition (brilliant): [...] overly fast harpsichord recordings [...] and the worst cello suites that I've ever heard.

I don't recall any overly fast recording from that set. On the contrary, I believe it's a great assortment of excellent interpretations, if you exclude the WTC by Leon Berben (which could be easily replaced by Pieter-Jan Belder's recording, also on BC).

Are you talking about Jaap ter Linden's recording of  the cello suites or the previous one?

That said, I think all of this is simply a confusion. Vast majority of big sets are a commercial strategy, not an artistic decision. Therefore, to evaluate them artistically as a whole, it's a mistake. Only single disks really exist.

If you like a good ratio of single disks included into a big set, then your purchase will be economically successful. But this is only a commercial success.   :)
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DavidW

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 06:21:23 AM »
There is no confusion. The goals of the distributor are beside the point.  What matters is "do you like this or that big box set?" was it truly worth the purchase, or does it collect dust?  The question is a perfectly valid one that many of us face, some of us more than once.

It is absolutely NOT a mistake to discuss whether a purchase is worth it or not.  I'm hoping that we can help each other out in navigating these tempting big boxes.  Some are worth it, some are not.

I don't even understand the point of your post.  Are you just being needlessly argumentative?

Offline Todd

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2014, 06:21:39 AM »
Share the ones you don't like, and share the ones you do!  Is it worth it in the long run?


Rubinstein box: A treasure trove of great music making.  Once I have listened to all of the discs, I will return to individual discs again and again for sheer enjoyment.  I have always held Rubinstein in high regard, and this box simply increased his stature in my ears.

Casadesus Edition: Same as the Rubinstein box.  My first giant box.  I've owned it for over a decade, and never want to part with it.

DFD Schubert Lieder box: Same as Rubinstein and Casadesus.

Giulini boxes: Giulini is one of the greatest of all conductors, and even his weak recordings are worth hearing multiple times. 

Karajan Symphony Edition: The right LvB cycle, the right Bruckner recordings, and Tchaikovsky.  Will keep it for the strong ones, and not listen to the weak ones.

Scarlatti complete sonatas, Scott Ross: Brilliant!  My second giant box, I bought it over a decade ago and I've listened to the entire thing thrice, and will do so again in the future.

Perahia box: A mixed bag, but enough good stuff to keep coming back to.

Cliburn box: Like Perahia.

Cortot box: So many indispensable recordings that it is destined to remain in my collection forever.

Francois box: Like Cortot.

Argerich boxes (DG/Decca): Almost like Rubinstein.

Graffman box: I'm only halfway through, and it is hit and miss, but the high points are so high that I will keep it since the great individual performances are not available separately.

Oistrakh box: Like Graffman.

Haydn string quartets, Angeles Quartet: Very good, and will keep it around until a better complete set is out there.

Sony Vivarte box:  Like Perahia.  (It was cheaper to buy the box than the roughly 10-12 individual recordings I really love.)

Haydn Symphonies, Fischer: Good, but not great.  Will probably dispense with at some point.

Haydn Symphonies, DRD: Better, will probably keep.
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DavidW

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2014, 06:29:41 AM »
I don't recall any overly fast recording from that set. On the contrary, I believe it's a great assortment of excellent interpretations, if you exclude the WTC by Leon Berben (which could be easily replaced by Pieter-Jan Belder's recording, also on BC).

The WTC is the heart of the keyboard music.  That would be like saying "this Beethoven PS set is great, except the late sonatas which are easily replaceable." The other recordings are decent, not offensively bad but not competitive with the best either.

Quote
Are you talking about Jaap ter Linden's recording of  the cello suites or the previous one?

The previous one, I can't remember the performer, but it was overly-romanticized very slow, very ponderous.  I'm sure that Jaap ter Linden did a much better job but I simply haven't heard it.  I like slow Bach, but that was too slow even for me.

Offline Wakefield

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2014, 06:31:20 AM »
Are you just being needlessly argumentative?
No, I don't think so. Simply you're overreacting , as usual... and after your overreaction will come the apologies, as usual, too.
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DavidW

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2014, 06:33:11 AM »
I did not know that there was a Casadesus edition.  Nice!  Wait is it in print?

Offline Todd

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2014, 06:39:09 AM »
Wait is it in print?



No.  It had a limited production in France only at the beginning of the century.  However, given the flood of other artist-specific big boxes, I would not be surprised if it is resurrected, this time with individual, original jacket sleeves in a small box.  Mine is a long box.
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2014, 07:54:53 AM »
Share the ones you don't like, and share the ones you do!  Is it worth it in the long run?

So true!  Well actually I think for me is that I listen to them and discover the hit and miss nature. 

Bach complete edition (brilliant): overly bright, overly fast harpsichord recordings, great sacred recordings from the Sixteen, decent cantatas with a good soprano, awesome organ set!, and the worst cello suites that I've ever heard.

Bach cantatas (Rilling): some of the best singing and some of the worst.  A vision that continuously changes as the decades progress.  The only thing consistent about the box is the lack thereof.

Haydn symphonies (Davies): well judged tempos, overly fast, overly slow.  Applause at the end of each symphony!?!  I at first liked this set, but as I listened more and more I get tired of not knowing whether I'll like what I hear or it will be poorly judged.  Don't think I'll ever finish this box.

Let me point out what one big box that is awesome!  The Angeles Quartet's traversal of Haydn is consistent in performance and style from the beginning to the end.  That is one big set that I always enjoy and come back to.  I think it's time for a thread...

Well, I understand your point of view. However, people's impressions of works are so varied. E.g. some people adore Gardiner or Abbado while others think they are awful. Why such a dichotomy in regards to these two prominent artists (or Rattle for that matter)?  One seems to come to like different works through different paths of listening. Boxes are excellent ways to expose oneself to composers, works and artists in an affordable manner since not everybody can afford buying recordings at $15-20 per disc. Besides, just because one buys a disc at a high price and it is recommended (e.g. Gardiner) does not mean that one will enjoy the recording.  I see it more as a journey of serendipity that allows one to encounter different interpretations and new soundscapes.
"Every time you spend money you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want...."
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2014, 07:59:11 AM »

That said, I think all of this is simply a confusion. Vast majority of big sets are a commercial strategy, not an artistic decision. Therefore, to evaluate them artistically as a whole, it's a mistake. Only single disks really exist.

If you like a good ratio of single disks included into a big set, then your purchase will be economically successful. But this is only a commercial success.   :)

I think you have brought up an excellent point here, Gordo! Hear! Hear!
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Offline Brian

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2014, 08:11:12 AM »
Keeping this to boxes with over 20 CDs.

Brilliant Russian Legends, 100 CDs: I don't listen to this as much as I ought. This trove of live recordings from approx. 1940-1980 is typically in not very good sound, but the performances contained are frequently spectacular. Some are great no matter your taste: Richter's Beethoven, Leonid Kogan's matchless Tchaikovsky concerto, Grieg sonatas with Oistrakh, Rostropovich's collection of Soviet cello concertos (highlighted by Weinberg). And others are items of interest to the connoisseur, like Daniil Shafran's scandalously vibratolicious Bach cello suites. Really a treasure chest.

Haydn Symphonies, DRD/Stuttgart: Docile, proper, good-enough performances, but when I compare individual performances (like Farewell) to Tafelmusik/Weil or Heidelberg/Fey, the others almost always end up ahead. This is high on competence and low on panache. I've knocked out almost all the early/middle symphonies, leaving Paris and London for last. It's been great for discovering the dozens of awesome symphonies I had no idea existed, and for first listens, they leave me plenty satisfied.

Arthur Rubinstein giant box: I hope I'll be able to get through the whole box some day! Man. Another treasure chest. There's a whole thread devoted to it, but highlights are his collaborations with Krips, Szeryng, the Guarneri Quartet, and Fournier, plus any disc that has the word "Brahms" on it.

Murray Perahia big box: I'm only one-third of my way through the box, and going in order, crazily, which means mostly I've been hearing the excellent Mozart concerto albums, plus a couple standout recitals of Schumann and Bartok.

Leon Fleisher big box: Another one that is only half-listened-to. The concerto recordings of Beethoven, Grieg, Schumann, etc. with Cleveland/Szell are among my favorites, and I liked the French album, but still need to listen to all the later left-hand stuff and the American contemporaries recital. Fleisher is not always subtle.

Bernstein Symphony Edition: A backbone of my collection. I wish there was a Bernstein Orchestral Music That Isn't Symphonies Edition too. All-time great Berlioz, Mahler, Sibelius, Prokofiev; very very good Brahms, Dvorak, Franck, Tchaikovsky; plus a whole bunch of cool Americans like Diamond, W. Schuman, and Thompson.

Complete Rachmaninov (Brilliant): I don't listen to much Rach these days, but the piano recordings with Santiago Rodriguez are valuable (if rather blunt and to-the-point).

DavidW

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2014, 08:15:35 AM »
Boxes are excellent ways to expose oneself to composers, works and artists in an affordable manner since not everybody can afford buying recordings at $15-20 per disc.

That is an interesting use for box sets.  I know what you mean, I use box sets the same way... but that use is certainly not as relevant now that we have affordable streaming right?

Don't overlook the conductor that takes his traversal of the Mahler symphonies, the string quartet that seeks to conquer the Beethoven string quartets.  There are virtues in a well thought out cycle from a single performer or ensemble.  You mentioned Gardiner, he devoted almost his entire career to the performance and appreciation of Bach.  Obviously, right, don't buy someone that you don't like.  But I strongly prefer the box set with a focus, instead of various recordings under the same label slapped together.

Offline AnthonyAthletic

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2014, 09:10:35 AM »
Lumieres was a real treat, a filler and godsend for someone like me jumping back a few hundred years or so to hear such wonderful music.  I expect this set is packed with awesome performances, and was a great introduction to me, especially to Baroque Opera which I had seldom heard.  A no brainer, bargain and perhaps one for the newbie to this period, as well as the connoisseur.  Delightful box.



EMI Verdi Operas mainly Muti, quite a good wedge (8/16) of Muti IIRC, but a decent set for exploring the Verdi lesser known or lesser recorded ones....another SDCB at the time, and very worthwhile.



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Offline Moonfish

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2014, 09:17:54 AM »
I use box sets the same way... but that use is certainly not as relevant now that we have affordable streaming right?

I am a bit of a Luddite. My cds could be ripped and I could simply convert my music sessions to streaming or computer based, but I am resisting fiercely. I am the same way with books. My Kindle is packed with books, but I only use it when I travel or have to wait somewhere. The books feel like they do not exist somehow if I cannot physically browse through them. I feel the same way about my music. A streaming service or a hard drive packed with files just doesn't feel right to me. Perhaps my limited space and boxes piling up will force me in the other direction at one point in time. Does anyone else feel like I do or are you all converting to streaming and computer setups?
 
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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2014, 09:22:09 AM »
Frankly, and not to be a snob about it either, I don't buy big boxes. the Haydn Brilliant Big Box. There are a few disks in there which were worth the cost of the entire set. Like the Hugo Ruf lira concertos, for example. I hard-to-find used copy was selling for over $100 at the time! Plus the individual boxed sets inside of it; net result was a great value for $150. That said, this is the only box set I own. I'm more like Gordo, I prefer individual disks, even if it means having 4 or 5 instead of a box of 4 or 5. I seem to listen to them more intently and enjoy them more that way. :-\

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ibanezmonster

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2014, 09:22:36 AM »
I've rarely bought any box sets, but I can say that Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky is a must have.  8)

DavidW

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2014, 09:33:18 AM »
Does anyone else feel like I do or are you all converting to streaming and computer setups?

I feel the same way.  I tried to go digital only a few years ago, but now have physical books and cds as well as ebooks and digital downloads.  I like the tactile feel.

On the book front, ebooks have already leveled off, which means that paper books won't be going away anytime soon.  Cds also stubbornly stick around, just as downloads were finally starting to take over, cds gained back the > 50% marketshare while downloads are eroded by streaming.  I bet that we're looking at 10-20 years of physical goods in front of us where physical goods (blu-rays, dvds, cds, books) will have their own niche and streaming will have theirs, and they will co-exist.

We are not alone. :)

DavidW

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2014, 09:34:13 AM »
Also cds are cheaper and you can resell them if you wish. ;D

Offline bigshot

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2014, 09:38:44 AM »
Like: Bernstein NY,  Wand, Walter, Reiner, Toscanini, Lumieres, Rubinstein, Heifetz, Living Stereo, Mercury LP 1 & 2, Brilliant Classics Mozart, Perahia, Karajan EMI orchestral, Bach complete Hannsler, Mackerras Mozart Operas, Wagner Historical Membran, Callas, Van Cleiburn, Furtwangler, Decca Sound 1 & 2, Royal Concertgebouw 5, 6 & 7

So So: Archiv, EMI Beethoven Masterworks, Barock, unknown Romantic piano concertos, Mendelssohn Brilliant, Liszt Brilliant, Telemann Brilliant, Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky,  Russian Piano Legends, Complete Liszt Howard

Don't Like: Abbado Symphony, EMI bleeding chunk box, Scarlatti Ross
« Last Edit: April 17, 2014, 06:11:27 PM by bigshot »

Marc

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Re: How satisfied are you with those big box purchases?
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2014, 11:42:57 AM »
I've been disappointed more than once whilst/after listening to cd's.
Both with individual discs and boxsets.

But disappointments are part of life.

And, in some cases, I was disappointed at first and then learned to appreciate the recording/composition after a while. Whilst, on the other hand, early favourites turned out to be disappointments. Which means that, in my personal case, every purchase can lead to an interesting journey of give and take, of major and minor, of et cetera and et al.

In the end, I never really regretted any purchase.

The main disadvantage with huge boxsets is: too many discs to listen to.
The main advantage: the same.

:)