Д.Д.

Classical music bargains

1,378 posts in this topic

In a last ditch attempt to extract some revenue from the fading CD market major labels are repackaging old recordings into budget packages, often in a form of mammoth boxes. Add to this high-quality budget labels like Naxos and reissue ones like Brilliant Classics, and you get a lot of stuff to choose from. It is becoming less a matter of price, but of over-abundance of choice. Perhaps we could let each other know of worthwhile bargains out there.

I already posted my praise fort he Sony / BMG Baroque Masterpieces 60 CD (!) box, available at amazon.de for €47 (non-EU buyers will get the VAT deducted, so it will be even cheaper for them).

Of my recent bargain purchases I can also recommend Ravel's Orchestral Works 3 CD set by Orchestre de Paris / Martinon on EMI available for £5 at amazon.co.uk

I am considering a few more budget boxes. Can anyone comment on them?

Leinsdorf / Boston Symphony - Prokofiev - EMI - 6 CDs - €14 at amazon.fr

Mravinsky / Leningrad Philharmonic - Erato - 12 CDs - €16 at amazon.fr

50th anniversary of Liege Philharmonic - Cypres - 50 CDs - €40 at amazon.fr (a lot of Belgian composers I have never heard of)

James Levine / Various orchestras - Maher Symphonies - EMI - 10CDs - €20 at amazon.fr

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My favourite buy boxwise in recent months, taking cheapness into account:

51gqnddO7AL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Currently £25 in the UK for 22CDs.

Those interested in historic performances will have a field day (and with all but a few pieces, sound is very good).

I bought it just as a way of getting a lot of lesser known Stravinsky; would have cost a fortune to assemble this from elsewhere.

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I am eying this Stravinsky box for some time now. I assume it will not be out there for too long (see swift disappearance of the complete Gould box), so I shouldn't procrastinate much longer. It's even cheaper in the US.

A couple more boxes I am thinking of - any comments on those would be appreciated:

Klaus Tennstedt / London Philharmonic - Mahler Symphoinies - EMI - 16 CDs - available at amazon.fr for €35

Michel Plasson / Orchestre Nationale du Capitole de Toulouse - French Music - EMI - 37 CDs - available at amazon.de for €70

Edited by Д.Д.

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I'm a big fan of Mravinsky, and own several of his recordings (the awesome DG Chaikovskiy* 4-5-6 box and several single CDs on Russian Disc), but can't comment on that specific set. If sound quality is an issue, that's the area to research: the DG has some sonic flaws and the Russian Discs are quite sketchy.

The Tennstedt is also very tempting, based solely on his reputation (especially in Mahler - I only have a couple of excellent non-Mahler single discs), but there's so much competition, even at the lower price ranges, that I also can't comment (Gary Bertini's set on EMI has also been recommended to me, for one). FWIW, I'm putting both sets on my Amazon wish list...

[*Spelling is a small joke - I recall V. Nabokov writing about "Chaikovskiy's vile libretti"]

Edited by T.D.

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The Tennstedt is also very tempting, based solely on his reputation (especially in Mahler - I only have a couple of excellent non-Mahler single discs), but there's so much competition, even at the lower price ranges, that I also can't comment (Gary Bertini's set on EMI has also been recommended to me, for one). FWIW, I'm putting both sets on my Amazon wish list...

As for Tennstedt, there is another EMI box released just a couple of weeks ago:

Great EMI Recordings - 14 CDs - available for €30 at amazon.fr

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I just ordered this:

51K44el86-L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

10 CDs for USD 12.47 shipped (German seller on US Amazon Marketplace). Seems to be RAI radio broadcasts, perhaps airchecks. Significant overlap (in terms of repertoire, not performances) with the 8-CD DG box I already own (which was a great deal in its own right @ $34 shipped), but hard to argue with at the price...

Edited by T.D.

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These are the ones that have my attention at the moment. The Messiaen box is 6 discs for $36, not bad. The Bach Cantatas box is a whopping 22 discs for only about $52.00. The Ligeti box is 5 discs for about $30.

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post-91-0-95688600-1306544879_thumb.jpg

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These are the ones that have my attention at the moment. The Messiaen box is 6 discs for $36, not bad. The Bach Cantatas box is a whopping 22 discs for only about $52.00. The Ligeti box is 5 discs for about $30.

There is also an EMI Messiaen 14-CD box available at amazon.co.uk for £25 I am not that much of a Messiaen fan to go for it, though.

I am always baffled by the price disparity between different amazons. The same set at amazon.com costs $71 (also not too much for a 14-CD set, to be fair) - basically, 80% more.

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Big :tup for the Fitzwilliams' Shostakovich quartets.

I'm seriously considering this (6 CDs for $25.70 shipped):

517N6Q5Cu0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Not at all familiar with Brahms's solo piano works aside from the Ballades and Paganini Variations (Michelangeli recordings), but very much like those pieces and am looking to explore more.

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I'm seriously considering this (6 CDs for $25.70 shipped):

517N6Q5Cu0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Not at all familiar with Brahms's solo piano works aside from the Ballades and Paganini Variations (Michelangeli recordings), but very much like those pieces and am looking to explore more.

I added it to my wish list. Thanks.

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Big :tup for the Fitzwilliams' Shostakovich quartets.

I'm seriously considering this (6 CDs for $25.70 shipped):

517N6Q5Cu0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Not at all familiar with Brahms's solo piano works aside from the Ballades and Paganini Variations (Michelangeli recordings), but very much like those pieces and am looking to explore more.

I have a lot of Katchen on LP. I love the way he plays the German piano repertoire; that is his forte.

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Shostakovich: The String Quartets, 6 CDs for £16.43.

You might as well get the complete Shostakovich quartets performed by the Borodin Quartet for just a bit more: €26 at amazon.de

For sure, if you're in Europe! That particular set (as well as the Beethoven Quartet's cycle, which doesn't seem cheap anywhere) is hard to find and considerably more expensive in the USA than the Fitzwilliams'...I was just watching a set that went for $125 on eBay, although a touch of "eBay madness" was likely involved.

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Shostakovich: The String Quartets, 6 CDs for £16.43.

You might as well get the complete Shostakovich quartets performed by the Borodin Quartet for just a bit more: €26 at amazon.de

For sure, if you're in Europe! That particular set (as well as the Beethoven Quartet's cycle, which doesn't seem cheap anywhere) is hard to find and considerably more expensive in the USA than the Fitzwilliams'...I was just watching a set that went for $125 on eBay, although a touch of "eBay madness" was likely involved.

Shipping from amazon.de or amazon.co.uk to the US should not be too expensive (amazon.fr, on the other hand, seems to have crazy shipping rates - even though everything is often shipped from the same warehouse). Moreover, you will get the EU VAT deducted, which is another 15-20% off.

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Big :tup for the Fitzwilliams' Shostakovich quartets.

I'm seriously considering this (6 CDs for $25.70 shipped):

517N6Q5Cu0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Not at all familiar with Brahms's solo piano works aside from the Ballades and Paganini Variations (Michelangeli recordings), but very much like those pieces and am looking to explore more.

I have a lot of Katchen on LP. I love the way he plays the German piano repertoire; that is his forte.

I have it. Buy it without hesitation.

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Anyone who is looking for bargains should check out EMI Icon series.

I already have several sets from this series and the next one I'll order will probably be this:

51tBTulMH3L._SS400_.jpg

11 CDs for £17.99.

From what I've learned, Amazon UK offers the cheapest prices for these box sets.

Link to their catalogue on EMI website.

Edited by B. Goren.

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Thanks for the feedback on the Katchen/Brahms! I'll soon be ordering (have gone on a bit of a binge lately, need some time to listen to recent acquisitions...).

Here's a nice-looking box I just found, 6 CDs for $22.99 from Newbury Comics via Amazon:

51O3enKlk0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I have a lot of Grumiaux's Mozart and Bach recordings, and am very fond of his playing. Looks like there isn't too much overlap with this set, and I already own only the Bach works with Jaccottet on harpsichord.

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These are the ones that have my attention at the moment. The Messiaen box is 6 discs for $36, not bad. The Bach Cantatas box is a whopping 22 discs for only about $52.00. The Ligeti box is 5 discs for about $30.

The Bach Cantatas box is now $41.99! I've been listening to this one a lot; a great way to pick up a nice chunk of Bach's vocal works.

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This isn't quite bargain level ($21 and change for 3 CDs), and the music may not be to everyone's taste :blink: (I like it, but don't listen that often), but the long OOP 3-disc set of Scelsi's orchestral/choral music with Wyttenbach conducting (originally 3 separate CDs on Accord) has been re-issued:

51iTOz6yPkL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

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