Author Topic: Box Blather  (Read 291698 times)

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Offline Pat B

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #340 on: November 15, 2014, 05:04:27 AM »
Pat, how is the sound in that box?  Frankly I need another box set of the main repertoire like I need another vasectomy, but I'm curious about the sound.  Is it Toscanini at NBC good, or Szell in Cleveland good? Or, god forbid, even better? ???

Much of it is mono, but the sound is way, way better than Toscanini. Off the top of my head I'd say it's in the same ballpark as Szell, but that might be optimistic. If I remember, I'll do a quick A-B next week.

I know what you mean about repertoire, and I generally try not to urge people to buy stuff, and in this case I've only heard (including the ones I already had individually) about a quarter of the contents. All that said, I am very enthusiastic about this set so far, more so than I ever was about my other big boxes (except maybe Gardiner's Cantatas which was twice the cost).

Offline Mookalafalas

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #341 on: November 15, 2014, 05:17:36 AM »
Much of it is mono, but the sound is way, way better than Toscanini. Off the top of my head I'd say it's in the same ballpark as Szell, but that might be optimistic. If I remember, I'll do a quick A-B next week.

I know what you mean about repertoire, and I generally try not to urge people to buy stuff, and in this case I've only heard (including the ones I already had individually) about a quarter of the contents. All that said, I am very enthusiastic about this set so far, more so than I ever was about my other big boxes (except maybe Gardiner's Cantatas which was twice the cost).

  Thanks for that. I appreciate it.  Don't worry about the A/B!  That's a plenty good summary :)
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #342 on: November 15, 2014, 06:31:47 AM »
While I do not have the Fricsay Box (because I have a lot of it already) I can also confirm that most of the mono recordings in there sound very good, some may be among the best mono recordings I have heard. A few of the earliest ones or those taken from the Berlin Radio may be more restricted, but these are very few (I think Till and Don Juan belong there, although the interpretations are great in a "lean and mean" way).

There is also some comparably unusual repertoire, like Hartmann, von Einem, Liebermann and other 1950s "Moderate Modernists". Other things like Bartok and Stravinsky are of course covered much better nowadays. Back then they were without a doubt reference recordings (and I think they still hold up quite well).

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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #343 on: November 15, 2014, 12:45:25 PM »
Plus the fact that the discs are filled to the brim with music (and you get original jackets)!   ;D
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Offline amw

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #344 on: November 15, 2014, 01:05:28 PM »
And, I recently got the Fricsay box, which so far is really, really great. I was reluctant to get it, partly because I suspected I already had the highlights. But now, I've listened to 4 discs (in no particular order) and I'm starting to wonder when -- or if -- I'm going to get to one that is not a highlight.
Someone recently gave me this as an early birthday present. I've been quite hesitant because the last thing I need is lots of standard rep in substandard sound, as most of these boxes seem to be. However out of curiosity I've started listening to some of the discs of less common repertoire and find the mono sound pretty good, for mono anyway. Better than my LPs of the Toscanini/NBC Beethoven set, Casals@Prades Schubert 5tet or Taneyev/Rostropovich Schubert 5tet. No complaint with the stereo recordings, apart from the subpar orchestral playing they could have been made last week.

(This is the same someone who gave my dad the Complete Bach Edition for his 50th birthday. He's now almost 53 and still hasn't taken it out of the plastic wrap. So presumably this someone expects a better reaction this time with insightful comments of a musicological nature)

Ken B

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #345 on: November 15, 2014, 02:20:09 PM »
Someone recently gave me this as an early birthday present. I've been quite hesitant because the last thing I need is lots of standard rep in substandard sound, as most of these boxes seem to be. However out of curiosity I've started listening to some of the discs of less common repertoire and find the mono sound pretty good, for mono anyway. Better than my LPs of the Toscanini/NBC Beethoven set, Casals@Prades Schubert 5tet or Taneyev/Rostropovich Schubert 5tet. No complaint with the stereo recordings, apart from the subpar orchestral playing they could have been made last week.

(This is the same someone who gave my dad the Complete Bach Edition for his 50th birthday. He's now almost 53 and still hasn't taken it out of the plastic wrap. So presumably this someone expects a better reaction this time with insightful comments of a musicological nature)

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #346 on: November 15, 2014, 02:25:22 PM »
About the Fricsay box :
- It is an excellent bargain for recordings that are, for most of them, really incredibly beautiful and among the best for most pieces recorded in it. Most recordings with RIAS/Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin are astonishing of detail, precision and power, as much with the grand repertoire (Tchaikovsky 6, Dvorak 9) than with lesser-known pieces.
- Not all the box is in mono, maybe 1/4 of it is in stereo. The mono is generally dry and precise, better than most mono recordings (but inferior to Westminster for instance). The stereo is fine, wide and flattering early DG stereo, beautiful except a few very small defects coming from original sources.

A true must-have IMHO.

Offline Mookalafalas

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #347 on: November 20, 2014, 06:18:55 AM »
this cropped up in my local shop.



  It's a surprisingly slender box.  It's going for a kind of classy look, like a musical dutch-chocolate. 

  Moonfish, have you been studying this one much? I'm curious how much overlap it has with other popular boxes (like the two Decca sound boxes, Abbado, etc.).  It is about $120 at the place I saw it, or about 9 weeks of my CD allowance.  Don't think I'll be getting it anytime soon, but hope to get some vicarious enthusiasm from fellow box blatherers :).

 By the way, regarding the Fricsay, I do have the Membran 10 CD discount box.  I have just played the two Bartok discs and the first disc of Don Giovani highlights. Sound is pretty good on those. Might be very close to the big DG box...
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #348 on: November 20, 2014, 07:40:42 AM »
this cropped up in my local shop.



  It's a surprisingly slender box.  It's going for a kind of classy look, like a musical dutch-chocolate. 

  Moonfish, have you been studying this one much? I'm curious how much overlap it has with other popular boxes (like the two Decca sound boxes, Abbado, etc.).  It is about $120 at the place I saw it, or about 9 weeks of my CD allowance.  Don't think I'll be getting it anytime soon, but hope to get some vicarious enthusiasm from fellow box blatherers :).

What?! You haven't pre-ordered this box yet? *Checks your temperature*

Haven't been doing a lot of comparative research. It is a fun (but somewhat peripheral) compilation that I think is more pertinent if you are interested in historical recordings (50s-70s). On the positive side the box is filled with a blend of amazing conductors which would be interesting to explore.
BUT...three cycles (Brahms, Bruckner, Beethoven) compiled in a mosaic from different conductors. You really need more Beethoven, Bruckner and Brahms cycles, right? Right?  :D

Sooooo, perhaps something to look into if the price drops immensely, if you suffer from CDCDCD and/or if you are a completist.
On a different note I think this would be a great set for somebody starting out in building a classical music collection. What do you think?

Still - it is like a GIANT BOX OF CHOCOLATES!!!!!!     
Buy it!!!    >:D :'( >:D :'( >:D :'( :P

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Offline North Star

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #349 on: November 20, 2014, 08:05:16 AM »
Still - it is like a GIANT BOX OF CHOCOLATES!!!!!!     
Buy it!!!    >:D :'( >:D :'( >:D :'( :P
Ugh, my Forrest Gump allergy is acting up.  :-X
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Offline Mookalafalas

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #350 on: November 21, 2014, 06:08:04 AM »
Anyone besides The Moon and I have the big Westminster?



  Playing disc 51: the Scherchen(conducter) Dukas, Falla, chabrier, Ravel disc.  They probably overdid the stereo effects at times, but it's a fun and delightful disc.  The recording is really great. 

  Have you played this one yet, Moonfish? If not, you really should play it. Maybe on the way to work. A great way to start the day :)

  I like Scherchen a lot.  A real maverick.  I was afraid the recording quality would be distractingly "historical"--but not at all.  It may not be "Living Stereo" 50s good, but better than almost anything  else from the same time period (better than comtemporaneous DG, I think).
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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #351 on: November 21, 2014, 06:15:43 AM »
I do of course, I have both (+ the third smaller European box) :)

The sound is indeed one of the reasons why these recordings are so good. It's even more overwhelming in chamber music, but Scherchen's, Rodzinski's and others recordings here are among the best. I slightly prefer the mono recordings. Stereo recordings appear to sound better when they were done in London.

Offline Mookalafalas

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #352 on: November 21, 2014, 06:28:01 AM »
I do of course, I have both (+ the third smaller European box) :)

The sound is indeed one of the reasons why these recordings are so good. It's even more overwhelming in chamber music, but Scherchen's, Rodzinski's and others recordings here are among the best. I slightly prefer the mono recordings. Stereo recordings appear to sound better when they were done in London.

  Glad you are along. Moonie and I have the triumvirate as well.  Love those chamber works, especially the Haydn (well, probably because they are the ones I've focused on the most :D).  The microphone choices always seemed so...sensible.  No one was trying to prove anything, just capture good sound. 
   Just finished Ravel and switched to disc 45, with Scherchen's ultra-swift Beethoven 6 and 7.  So weird to hear 60 year old recordings with this pacing.
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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #353 on: November 21, 2014, 07:21:12 AM »
The greatest Beethoven by Scherchen is the second Eroica, the stereo one, in box "3". Astonishing, without any equivalent in the whole discography.

Offline Mookalafalas

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #354 on: November 21, 2014, 07:29:31 AM »
The greatest Beethoven by Scherchen is the second Eroica, the stereo one, in box "3". Astonishing, without any equivalent in the whole discography.

   Yes, I love that one too. The 6 and 7 I am listening to now are not particularly impressive, however. The 6 in particular is unsatisfying...
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #355 on: November 21, 2014, 07:56:57 AM »
Anyone besides The Moon and I have the big Westminster?



  Playing disc 51: the Scherchen(conducter) Dukas, Falla, chabrier, Ravel disc.  They probably overdid the stereo effects at times, but it's a fun and delightful disc.  The recording is really great. 

  Have you played this one yet, Moonfish? If not, you really should play it. Maybe on the way to work. A great way to start the day :)

  I like Scherchen a lot.  A real maverick.  I was afraid the recording quality would be distractingly "historical"--but not at all.  It may not be "Living Stereo" 50s good, but better than almost anything  else from the same time period (better than comtemporaneous DG, I think).

Nope, I haven't listened to 51 (Dukas, Ravel et al), but I will follow your lead!  :)

Quote from: Baklavaboy
Glad you are along. Moonie and I have the triumvirate as well.  Love those chamber works, especially the Haydn

Definitely! The chamber box was/is charming and was ultimately responsible for me getting the other sets. I fell for the Schubert recordings quickly followed by the Haydn. Have you listened to Schubert's Octet?

Quote from: discobolus
The greatest Beethoven by Scherchen is the second Eroica, the stereo one, in box "3". Astonishing, without any equivalent in the whole discography.

Yes, a powerful Eroica! Why aren't Scherchen's recordings more widely available...? It seems like his legacy has melted away for some obscure reason.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #356 on: November 21, 2014, 08:57:45 AM »
The older mono Beethoven symphonies were on CD from Tahra and Archipel, the stereo Eroica and Pastoral on the dozen or so of Universal's Westminster reissues. The 8th (which is my favorite recording of the piece) was also on a great conductors twofer, I think. But overall, it is a pity that many recordings were never internationally available on CD.
The St Matthew is the most dramatic I have heard (unfortunately the choir is not great and some pieces are taken extremely slow (the final chorus, the first chorus "Kommt ihr Toechter" is almost as fast as the newer HIP people). The stereo Art of Fugue is also great, very passionate, as far from "dry counterpoint" as it gets.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #357 on: November 21, 2014, 04:17:45 PM »
The part of Scherchen's legacy that remains badly distributed are his Haydn recordings. Despite Tahra and Universal, there are still mostly unavailable, except in a very expensive and out of print set...
« Last Edit: November 21, 2014, 05:41:24 PM by Discobolus »

Offline Mookalafalas

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #358 on: November 25, 2014, 06:30:30 PM »
Question for those who have this box:



  How is the book that comes with it?

  I missed this box when it came up, but am thinking of trying to get a used copy if I can find a reasonable price.  I actually downloaded a version and like it, but kind of want the real thing.
It's all good...

Ken B

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Re: Box Blather
« Reply #359 on: November 25, 2014, 06:45:27 PM »
Question for those who have this box:



  How is the book that comes with it?

  I missed this box when it came up, but am thinking of trying to get a used copy if I can find a reasonable price.  I actually downloaded a version and like it, but kind of want the real thing.

Big, beautiful. Best box book by bunches. Beats blasé box books brainless.