While the end of the year is usually the time when there are plenty of budget classical box sets, the spring also seems to be a period when record labels release new bargains. Here are a few interesting box sets I’ve spotted. Note that some of these are not yet listed on Amazon.com.
First up is 111 The Piano – Legendary Recordings, from Deutsche Grammophon. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) This set is a compendium of great recordings of piano music. On 40 CDs, the blurb says it contains 39 piano works (and not 111). The pianists include Pierre-Laurent Aimart, Daniel Barenboim, Emil Gilels, Hélène Grimaud, Wilhelm Kempff, Sviatoslav Richter, and many more. This is a nice collection, covering a broad range of works from Bach through the twentieth century.
Next is Itzhak Perlman’s Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon, on 25 discs. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) Due out in May, this includes a number of recordings from 1968 to 2001. Perlman was certainly not the most prolific violinist on record, and this set includes a lot of Mozart (10 discs), along with works by Berg, Brahms, Bach and others.
Sony Classical is releasing a big box of recordings by the Canadian ensemble Tafelmusik in May. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) On 47 discs, it includes their inspired recordings of Haydn symphonies, alongside works by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Handel and others.
Finally, Decca is releasing the complete recordings by The Beaux Arts Trio, in July, on 60 discs. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) Until now, the majority of these big box sets have been orchestral works, and it’s great to see a chamber ensemble getting their chance. (I’d love to see some string quartets get boxed.) This set includes a wide range of piano trios, by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Chopin, Ravel, and many others. This in perhaps the one that I’ll get out of this current crop.
So, pre-order or order now, or add them to your wish list. Lots of great music there.