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Arturo Toscanini: The Complete RCA Collection Box set

46 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, July 10, 2012
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$88.23 $175.00
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Frequently Bought Together

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Total price: $371.94
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Editorial Reviews

Back by popular demand, The Toscanini Collection is a reissue of RCA's 1992 compendium that encompassed all of the recordings Toscanini made with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and NBC Symphony. A new addition to this amazing collection is his approved recordings with the BBC Symphony from the 1930s that were not included in the 1992 edition. This limited-edition package is the complete RCA Toscanini Collection on 84 CDs plus a bonus DVD, "The Maestro." The deluxe hardcover book contains liner notes by Toscanini biographers Mortimer F. Frank and Michael Stegemann. From the Maestro's acoustic recordings of 1920-21 with La Scala orchestra, to his 1954 retirement, The Toscanini Collection spans all the years in which Toscanini's career veered away from the opera house as it moved exclusively to the concert hall. As with his NBC broadcasts and recordings, the BBC and Philadelphia accounts disprove the specious notion that Arturo Toscanini was always the same from one performance of a given work to the next.
The BBC recordings have special value for occurring in Queen's Hall, acoustically London's finest concert venue. Particularly interesting are three NBC performances of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, two from broadcasts (October 28, 1939 and December 6, 1953), and the third from a 1949 Carnegie Hall recording session. With each performance being somewhat different from the other, they serve as a reminder of how Toscanini was invariably rethinking his approach to a particular work.

There are 72 volumes, however 11 of the volumes contain 2 discs and 1 of the volumes contains 3 discs, making it a total of 85 discs.

Product Details

  • Orchestra: New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, NBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Arturo Toscanini
  • Audio CD (July 10, 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 85
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: RCA Red Seal
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,042 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

189 of 194 people found the following review helpful By John Fowler the Obsessive Compulsive Reviewer on July 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD
When I was a "youth" in Chicago in the sixties, EMI used to infuriate American teens by making us wait several weeks before releasing the US version of each new Beatles album (creating a black-market for imported LPs).
The record companies are still at it: This time Sony released the Toscanini Collection in the UK in April, but made us Yanks wait until July.

This turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
The first UK pressings had a major screw-up.

In 1992 RCA/BMG released the first 82 CD Toscanini Collection.
That is the template upon which the new Toscanini Collection was assembled.

In 1999 RCA/BMG issued twelve 2 CD sets of Toscanini in new, 20-bit transfers. Most people thought these were an improvement over the 16-bit transfers of 1992. *
In 2006 Toscanini's Philadelphia Orchestra recordings were issued in new transfers.
Finally in 2008 Sony Japan issued 15 CDs worth of transfers on Japanese JVC XRCDs [most of this material overlapped with the 1999 20-bit transfers]. JVC XRCDs are highly valued by collectors - I could never afford them.

If you're adding this up, approximately one third of the 1992 set was re-done in new and improved transfers.
Of course, in an ideal world, someone would have re-mastered the remaining 2/3 using the latest technology, but this is not an ideal world.

GOOD NEWS: Sony took the 1992 Collection as a template, and inserted the new and improved masterings onto the appropriate CDs. Can't complain about that.

GOOD NEWS: The price is unbelievably low.
In 1992, the 82 CD box sold for $1200. Today the 84 CD + 1 DVD box sells for $125. This is simply amazing.
Every civilized person should own this set.
A Monument to Western Civilization.
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83 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Moonfish on July 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I have been listening through this intriguing collection over the last few months (got it from the UK) as I am a newcomer to Toscanini's vast number of recordings. My musical journey has been quite enjoyable and amazing. The quality of the recordings (depending on the year) are very good and the performances are indeed enticing. This is truly a bargain in terms of getting a broad spectrum exposure to major works through Toscanini's perspective. The Toscanini box is a great set for beginners, collectors as well as (obviously) the countless Toscanini fans! I will return to these recordings on a regular basis! A bargain that comes highly recommended!

In terms of packaging I am quite satisfied with the sturdy rectangular box with each cd in a cardboard sleeve that details the contents on its back-cover. The front covers of the cds contain an endless variation of the maestro himself in black and white photos. The lid of the box lifts straight up, which allows one to scan the content quickly as the content is printed on the edge of each cd sleeve. They stack nicely and sturdily next to each other. No complaints as long as one removes and inserts the cds carefully.


Brief outline of content [from JPC]:
Beethoven: Symphonien Nr. 1-9; Leonore-Ouvertüren Nr. 2 & 3;
Septett op. 20; Egmont-Ouvertüre op. 84; Violinkonzert op. 61;
Klavierkonzerte Nr. 1, 3, 4; Weihe des Hauses-Ouvertüre;
Coriolan-Ouvertüre; Geschöpfe des Prometheus-Ouvertüre;
Fidelio; Missa solemnis op. 123
+Brahms: Symphonien Nr. 1-4; Akademische Festouvertüre
op. 80; Tragische Ouvertüre op. 81; Haydn-Variationen op. 56a;
Konzert für Violine, Cello, Orchester op. 120; Serenade
Nr. 2; Klavierkonzert Nr.
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Eder on July 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've only just started going through this voluminous set, which I received from Amazon on July 5 (I had pre-ordered it, and it was shipped on the 3rd, which was the official release date until that date actually arrived, and then was moved to the 10th). So far, everything appears to be in order -- the 1949 Eroica opens the whole collection on Disc 1, exactly as it should, and it sounds absolutely glorious (I haven't looked to see if the makers finally gave it the 20-bit remastering treatment promised and not delivered circa 1999). And one thing they definitely did repair was the NBC Symphony recording of the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 which, in the 1992 CD series, had audible gouges in the source that made listening a rather painful experience. The Japanese reissue of that performance had no untoward surface noise, but there hasn't been time to compare that with what's here -- but they have remastered this recording from a proper source, if possibly not the same source as the Japanese reissue. The Fidelio even gives us some spatial relationships and room ambience between the singers, not bad for a pre-tape-era recording.

As to the overall virtues of the set, for anyone who needs convincing -- and this comes from someone who grew up highly doubtful about the worth of Toscanini's recordings -- some of those performances, such as his 1936 Beethoven Seventh with the Philharmonic, the 1949 Eroica, the Grofe Grand Canyon Suite (no, I'm not joking -- he gets the NBC Symphony to play it like real music, and lo, and behold, IT IS!!!), the Rossini overtures, the Boheme, and all of the Verdi, plus a lot of the Beethoven -- have seldom been equaled. And it's ALL worth owning.
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Topic From this Discussion
1992 or 1999 transfers of Toscanini?
Sony's not putting out detailed information because THEY DON'T CARE about Toscanini's legacy. They only care about squeezing the last nickel out of the endless reissuing of selected parts of their back catalogue, while leaving uncounted worthy recordings in the vaults, unissued since the days of... Read More
Mar 28, 2012 by Hank Drake |  See all 102 posts
Problem with beethoven 3
I look forward to Sony announcing that they have remastered either Vol 1 or Vol 29 to correct this problem.

May 2, 2012 by John Fowler the Obsessive Compulsive Reviewer |  See all 5 posts
Why the delay?
Pushed back July 3...Is this good or bad news?
May 13, 2012 by Joseph Reichmann |  See all 10 posts
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