Author Topic: Sony Essential Classics  (Read 1022 times)

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Offline MN Dave

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Sony Essential Classics
« on: September 20, 2020, 02:51:36 PM »
Remember these babies? I sort of relied on them to bulk up my collection back in the day. Any favorites?
https://www.discogs.com/label/253180-Essential-Classics
“The effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts, for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

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Online vers la flamme

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2020, 02:55:52 PM »
I have a bunch of these. So much great Ormandy and Szell, and soloists like Philippe Entremont, etc. One of the best ones is the Szell Mahler 4th, the Szell Schubert 8/9, and the Entremont/Ormandy Ravel and Gershwin PCs.

Offline MN Dave

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2020, 04:02:35 PM »
I have a bunch of these. So much great Ormandy and Szell, and soloists like Philippe Entremont, etc. One of the best ones is the Szell Mahler 4th, the Szell Schubert 8/9, and the Entremont/Ormandy Ravel and Gershwin PCs.
I will access these immediately. Thanks.

One of my favorites is LvB Concerto For Violin And Orchestra In D Major, Sibelius Concerto For Violin And Orchestra In D Minor, Op.47
« Last Edit: September 20, 2020, 04:07:44 PM by MN Dave »
“The effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts, for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline MN Dave

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2020, 04:29:40 PM »
I remember buying the five Beethoven piano concertos with Leon Fleisher, Szell, Cleveland - as a LP boxset.  For years, decades, maybe, it was the only way I listened to these works.



They were later issued as a 3CD set coupled with the Triple Concerto as an Essential Classics



Yes! That’s some great Beethoven!
“The effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts, for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline Brewski

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2020, 04:34:10 PM »
1,000% to all, but especially to those old Cleveland recordings.

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Offline Jo498

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2020, 10:15:01 PM »
They came a little bit too late for me as I already had a lot of standard repertoire in the early 1990s from other sources but they were a welcome edition (and sometimes incredibly good value as unlike most other cheapo series they had decent booklets). So my favs are not necessarily from good old times >25 years ago but sometimes acquired much later. Now they have been mostly replaced by the "white boxes"

Beethoven: Late Piano Sonatas Rosen
Bach: Goldberg variations Rosen
Bach: Trio sonatas Power Biggs
Dvorak: piano quintet/American Quartet Juilliard/Firkusny
Haydn: Late symphonies with Szell
Hindemith/Walton: Mathis, Metamorphoses, Variations Szell/Ormandy
Mozart: Piano concertos Casadesus/Szell
Tchaikovsky 5th symphony, violin concerto etc. Szell/Ormandy etc.
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Online ritter

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2020, 01:12:37 AM »
...
Beethoven: Late Piano Sonatas Rosen
Bach: Goldberg variations Rosen

Bach: Trio sonatas Power Biggs
Dvorak: piano quintet/American Quartet Juilliard/Firkusny
Haydn: Late symphonies with Szell
Hindemith/Walton: Mathis, Metamorphoses, Variations Szell/Ormandy
Mozart: Piano concertos Casadesus/Szell
Tchaikovsky 5th symphony, violin concerto etc. Szell/Ormandy etc.
How curious, I too have the bolded ones in my collection. The only other one that comes to mind right now is Robert Craft's recording of Monteverdi's Vespro (coupled with two Bach cantatas), which AFAIK was never released on CD in any other form.

« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 09:44:13 AM by ritter »
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2020, 02:41:33 AM »
I am wondering if they largely kept some prominent musicians who were eventually honored with their own "editions" out of that cheapo essential classics, namely Bernstein, Gould, Boulez.
I found a few more Essential classics going through some shelves
Brahms piano concerto #1 Serkin/Szell
Mendelssohn Concerti with Serkin and Stern
Bruch/Lalo/Vieuxtemps violin works with Zukerman
Schubert: Schöne Müllerin with Haefliger (this was my first recording of that piece)
Sibelius: Symphonies 2+7 Ormandy
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2020, 08:33:14 AM »
Bach; Cello Suites; Anner Bylsma (his earlier and IMHO preferable recording)
Bach; The Art of Fugue; Canada Brass Ensemble

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2020, 02:53:52 PM »
When I first started buying CD's in the early '90's, these had the dual virtue of being locally available as well as affordable. As a result they were my first exposure to big-time (albeit already non-current) classical recordings. Some of my favorites included:

Mendelssohn Piano Concertos (Serkin/Ormandy) and Violin Concerto (Stern/Columbia)
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (Oistrakh/Ormandy) and PC #1 (Gilels)
Dvorak Violin Concerto (Stern Ormandy) and Cello Concerto (Rose/Ormandy)
Dvorak  Slavonic Dances (Szell/Cleveland)
Haydn String Quartets Op 76 (Tokyo Quartet)
Mozart Symphonies, 35, 40 & 41 (Szell / Cleveland)

And many more that memory doesn't allow me to instantly recall. The concertos with Ormandy were always especially outstanding, they had the best soloists of the time, and played the hell out of the accompaniment. All this was before I discovered HIP, of course.... :D

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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2020, 03:44:52 PM »
Some of my favorite "Essentials"








Sarge
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 04:02:58 PM by Sergeant Rock »
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Offline MusicTurner

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2020, 10:34:57 PM »
I've got at least Entremont in Rachmaninov Paganini-Rhapsody & Ctos 1+4 (good and underrated IMO), Casadesus/Szell in a Mozart Ctos CD, the Dvorak Violin + Cello Concertos, maybe some additional ones too.

I've got much more stuff on LPs, and on the CBS-Sony CD 'Royal Collection', though.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 10:39:24 PM by MusicTurner »

Online vers la flamme

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2020, 01:21:16 AM »
Some of my favorite "Essentials"





Sarge

I have these both (the first in a different, non-"Essential Classics" guise) and I concur that both are great. I'm listening to Szell's Lohengrin Prelude now actually. What a performance! This stuff was my introduction to Wagner and still about as far as I go on a regular basis with his music.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2020, 04:02:12 AM »
I'm listening to Szell's Lohengrin Prelude now actually. What a performance!

Indeed, a great one. I heard Szell and the Cleveland perform that in 1969 at Blossom (my first time there). A perfect opening to a perfect concert (the Lohengrin Prelude, Mozart Piano Concerto 21 with Curzon and Brahms 4). Absolutely memorable evening.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
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Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2020, 04:06:49 AM »
I have always hated deeply the cover art of this series. It's pretty much the antithesis of my taste. Some off the things I hate:

- The color gradient background => cheap trick to make things look "fancy", but for my eyes it looks silly.
- Unnecessory stuff such as the trapezoid bars in the bottom (and they even use gradient colors to make it extra silly!)
- Unnecessory Italic font.
- The blue "ESSENTIAL CLASSICS" logo is HUGE! It could be the width of the Sony logo and under it. Now the blue background color become dominant color and starts to fight with other dominant colors in the cover often.
- Margins and distances of different objects is amateurish so that the cover art doen't look balanced. Visual rhythm is poor.
- The upper left corner logos "Opera", "Orchestral", "Solo Piano" makes me feel like an idiot who doesn't know Beethoven's late piano sonatas are solo piano music! Are these CDs for 8 years olds?

For these reason the result is a total mess to my eyes I would expect from the package of an electronic tool, but not from a classical music CD.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2020, 07:52:34 AM »
You are completely right, they are mostly ugly. And not even so ugly in a fun geeky nostalgic way as some others.
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)

Offline j winter

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2020, 08:46:48 AM »
They've redone a lot of the covers in a different style.  For example, this is the most recent one I've picked up -- the repertoire is not my usual cup of tea, but for someone wanting a good sampling or introduction to this music, this is both excellent and cheaper than lunch at McDonald's...



I've bought many wonderful recordings from this series over the years... I'll whole-heartedly second Sarge's choices, particularly the Szell Wagner overtures, which are by far my favorite recordings of these... of course I imprinted on a lot of these recordings years ago, which is why I have the big Szell and Walter boxes on my shelf...

Personally I always preferred the cover art on the Great Performances re-issues (of many of these same recordings), but I know that's a minority opinion, and largely nostalgia talking... :)

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Offline Jo498

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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2020, 08:57:57 AM »
The Great performances covers are also ugly but in a fun geeky nostalgic way, although admittedly not really for me personally as they were not common when and where I started buying CDs.
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: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2020, 09:40:12 AM »
The Great performances covers are also ugly but in a fun geeky nostalgic way, although admittedly not really for me personally as they were not common when and where I started buying CDs.

They just re-used the newsprint LP covers
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Re: Sony Essential Classics
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2020, 02:15:37 AM »
I'm OK with the "Essential Classics" covers but I HATE the newspaper covers of the "Great Performances" series. I refuse to buy one.  >:(