Some Forthcoming Classical Box Sets, January, 2015

I’ve spotted some interesting classical box sets due for release in the coming weeks. (Some of these sets are not yet listed on Amazon.com, so links won’t work for all of them.)

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Decca Sound: The Mono Years, 1944-1956 “Orchestral & Instrumental”. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) This 53-disc box set includes some of the best early mono recordings from Decca. Here’s how it’s described:

“Today we take high fidelity sound quality for granted, but how did it start? When was the moment when compressed and scratchy sound gave way to natural, realistic sound that captured the whole picture of a performance?

Decca Sound ‘Mono Years’ seeks to answer that question and shows how, 70 years ago, amidst war-time privations, a small team at Decca made technological breakthroughs that brought hi-fi to the world.

This latest cube explores Decca’s earliest high-fidelity history, and restores some restores critically acclaimed albums from ensembles such as the Trio di Trieste, Quintetto Chigiano and Griller Quartet which have not been available since their original LP release more than sixty years ago. An equally impressive array of soloists includes pianists Clifford Curzon, Julius Katchen, Friedrich Gulda and Moura Lypmany and violinists Ruggiero Ricci and Alfredo Campoli. Several generations of cellists are represented with recordings by Pierre Fournier, Maurice Gendron and Zara Nelsova.”

I’m definitely getting this one. I’m a big fan of mono recordings, and this is a good way to explore good-sounding mono records from the days before stereo.

Boulez – 20th Century is a 44-disc set on DG. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) Following an earlier set of Pierre Boulez’s recordings on Columbia (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), this set features the conductors recordings of 20th century music on Deutsche Gramophone. There’s lots of interesting stuff here.

Loris Maazel The Early Years is an 18-disc set on DG. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) This follows a Decca set, released a few months ago, called Lorin Maazel: The Cleveland Years, Complete Recordings. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) Not something I’m particularly interested in, but to each their own.

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Finally, whereas a recently released set, Sviatoslav Richter: Complete Decca, Philips & DG Recordings, that will interest fans of this pianist. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) 49 CDs, covering most of Richter’s career.

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