Customer Reviews


25 Reviews
5 star:
 (20)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Tchaikovsky Box
Let's start with the good. This "Big Tchaikovsky Box" uses recordings from the Vanguard catalog, and was issued by eOne, the current holder of the tapes. Tchaikovsky wasn't a focus of the label, but Vanguard managed to publish some very fine performances over the years, and they have been collected here.

Highlights of the set include Maurice Abravanel's tapings...
Published on May 9, 2012 by Neil R. Brennen

versus
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Goofs
A Big Box from Bach Guild just wouldn't be a Big Box without some goofs. Here are the ones I found:

Mislabelings:

71 - Swan Lake Ballet, Op. 20 Act III_ Scene_ Allegro, Tempo di valse
should be labelled: Scène. Allegro - Allegro giusto
(Scene: Allegro, Tempo di valse is part of track 70)

72 - Swan Lake Ballet, Op. 20 Act...
Published on June 14, 2012 by N. Alias


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Tchaikovsky Box, May 9, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Big Tchaikovsky Box (MP3 Music)
Let's start with the good. This "Big Tchaikovsky Box" uses recordings from the Vanguard catalog, and was issued by eOne, the current holder of the tapes. Tchaikovsky wasn't a focus of the label, but Vanguard managed to publish some very fine performances over the years, and they have been collected here.

Highlights of the set include Maurice Abravanel's tapings of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake ballets with the Utah Symphony. The recordings from the 1960s sound fresh, and while the Utah brass and winds at times suffer in comparison to, say, orchestras in Philadelphia and New York, the difference is inches and not yards. Abravanel recorded excerpts from Swan Lake with the Utah Symphony in the 1950s for another label (and a filler on the first CD issue of Rodzinski's The Nutcracker, on the old MCA Classics "Double Decker" series), and the orchestra is much more refined sounding in Vanguard's recording. Purists might turn up their noses at a "complete" Swan Lake with traditional cuts, but Abravanel's dramatic conducting sweeps criticism before it.

Turning to the rest of the set, the American Symphony Orchestra recording of the Fourth Symphony remains a classic not only for the performance but for the orchestration. Conductor Leopold Stokowski, as was his wont, couldn't resist 'improving' Tchaikovsky's orchestration. Fanfare magazine once published a detailed list of all the changes made to the score; I don't have it at hand, but even from the first notes you notice something is different. There's no denying the impact the recording makes.

The three performances led by Pierre Monteux are live tapings from the Vienna Festival in 1962. John Ogdon is a grand soloist in the Piano Concerto, and Monteux leads exciting performances of music written back when he was a music student eight decades before (Romeo and Juliet and the Fifth Symphony). Vanguard's sound is a little distant but very good for live recordings.

Somary's recording of the Serenade for Strings with the English Chamber Orchestra is from an early 1970s recording of "Russian Music For Strings." Compared to many performances, this one comes across as small scaled without a compensating virtue such as clarity. Somary, best known for his Bach and Handel recordings, was never a conductor to tear a passion to tatters; I'm not sure such a dry-eyed approach works for Tchaikovsky. A curiosity. I wish eOne had reissued the Arensky Variations on the Theme of Tchaikovsky that was the flip side of the LP.

The rest is filler. The three Vienna State Opera Orchestra recordings, including the Sixth Symphony, are distinctly ordinary - run throughs at best.

The productions of the MP3s in these Big Boxes have had problems in the past. My only complaint with this set is that there often seems a very long time between the end of one track and the beginning of the next. This is especially annoying in Swan Lake, since it interrupts the flow of the music.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Goofs, June 14, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Big Tchaikovsky Box (MP3 Music)
A Big Box from Bach Guild just wouldn't be a Big Box without some goofs. Here are the ones I found:

Mislabelings:

71 - Swan Lake Ballet, Op. 20 Act III_ Scene_ Allegro, Tempo di valse
should be labelled: Scène. Allegro - Allegro giusto
(Scene: Allegro, Tempo di valse is part of track 70)

72 - Swan Lake Ballet, Op. 20 Act III_ Scene_ Allegro, Allegro giusto
should be labelled: Danse espagnole. Allegro non troppo, Tempo di bolero

73 - Swan Lake Ballet, Op. 20 Act III_ Danse Espagnole
should be labelled: Danse napolitaine. Allegro moderato - Andantino quasi moderato - Presto

74 - Swan Lake Ballet, Op. 20 Act III_ Danse Napolitaine => This track is definitely not the Danse Napolitaine but is what is commonly known as the 2nd violin solo from Swan Lake. This occurs in Act 2 - if you listen to track 67 the same music begins near 1:30. If you compare tracks 67 and 74 you'll realize that while this is the same music these are *different* recordings. In other words the performers in track 74 are very likely different as well. So the Bach Guild has given us a "bonus" recording of the 2nd violin solo, labeled as the Danse Napolitaine and with mystery performers to boot.

Track order:

The usual order for the dances in act 3 is Danse hongroise - Danse espagnole - Danse napolitaine. In this case the Danse hongroise is placed last - it's hard to tell whether this is intentional or just another screw up. If you want to hear these in the usual order you would play tracks 71 - 75 - 72 - 73 - 76 (and leave 74 out).

The Bach Guild seems unable to put out a big box set without including goofs and editing errors. On sale these are great value, particularly so if you can figure out their screw-ups. In this set I'm particularly happy to have the performances from Stokowski and Monteux at such a low price. At a regular price I have some doubts.

Without the goofs I think these sets would be great for beginners. With the mislabelings they are less so, and the errors in this Tchaikovsky set were not quite so bad as, say, the Brahms.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some real gems -- should not be missed!, May 9, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Big Tchaikovsky Box (MP3 Music)
Another excellent addition to the growing line of "Big Box" MP3 releases from eONe Music, which apparently now handles the catalog of the once great, now defunct classical music division of Vanguard Records. Vanguard's classical music was often published under a separate brand, "The Bach Guild", which is where the name on these releases derives from (that is, they are NOT published by any organization called "The Bach Guild"). This set was released on the same day as Big Brahms Box, also for an extreme bargain introductory price.

This set is excellent, and I have been especially impressed with the quality of the sound. For the most part, the recordings ring crisp and clear, without noise and in wonderfully three dimensional stereo. I was surprised to learn from a comment on my review for the Brahms box by a representative of eOne that the company is preparing these releases -- at least in part -- from the original master tapes. While I'm not sure exactly which recordings are from the original masters, this does go a long way to explaining the remarkable sound quality on some of the selections.

The set starts with the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, one of three pieces (along with the Piano Concerto No. 1 and Symphony No. 5) taken from this recording conducted by Pierre Monteaux, the man who conducted one of the most famous (or infamous) performances in music history -- the premiere of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" in Paris on May 29, 1913. In the recordings here, he is leading the London Symphony Orchestra live in concert at the Vienna Festival 50 years and two days later, on May 31, 1963. These recordings represent the full concert program from that evening, and are both good in sound and energetic in interpretation. The Piano Concerto's soloist, John Ogdon, was a remarkable British talent in the 1960s before his health deteriorated, and we can hear him at his full powers here. An outstanding performance, all live in one take.

Next we have fine performances of the 1812 Overture and Capriccio Italien by the Vienna State Opera Orchestra under Mario Rossi (the same combination that delivers the Hungarian Dances on the Brahms set). These mono recordings seem to have been released by Vanguard as part of a "Quality Control" album allowing listeners to test the quality of their hi-fi equipment.

The Serenade for Strings featured here was originally part of a larger album of Russian string music performed by the English Chamber Orchestra under Johannes Somary. I didn't find this piece particularly compelling, but it is fine.

Only Tchaikovsky's later numbered symphonies (Nos. 4-6) are featured. I loved the performance and great sound on Symphony No. 4, performed by Leopold Stokowski and the American Symphony Orchestra, which he founded in 1962 when he was 80 years old. However, this recording is very controversial. Stokowski was from an era where conductors felt few inhibitions in changing a composer's work here and there -- and within that tradition, Stokowski himself was one of the most avid modifiers. I don't have a catalog of the changes he made to the original Tchaikovsky score, but the reviews on this CD release of the same recording will give you some idea of the controversy. The result is very enjoyable despite the sacrilege, and the sound quality is clear, rich and dynamic.

I had never heard of Vladimir Golschmann, who conducts the Vienna State Opera Orchestra in Symphony No. 6, originally featured on this LP, another Vanguard "demonstration" album designed to show off the features of a new recording technology known as "stereo". This is actually a fine performance and the sound really impressed me, being recorded specifically to demonstrate what stereo can do and succeeding quite well. Golschmann, it turns out, was musical director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra from 1931 to 1958. Great recording of a fine performance.

The final works represented are the full ballet scores of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, both performed by the Utah Symphony Orchestra under Maurice Abravanel, the conductor who turned the Utah Symphony into a professional orchestra and left it with a fairly good reputation by the time of his departure in the 1970s. He pulls out a fantastic performance of The Nutcracker from his orchestra (from this recording). The Swan Lake (from this CD) is also very good, although The Nutcracker, as a lighthearted work with a lot more room for playful inventiveness, is perhaps easier to love.

If there is a fault with the set, I'd say it lies with a relative lack of variety -- no early symphonies, no Violin Concerto, only three of Tchaikovsky's many short orchestral works, no solo piano or chamber music, songs, choral works, etc. But looking around on the web at available Vanguard Tchaikovsky recordings, it seems they really didn't actually have much more than this. There were a few different recordings of some of the late symphonies -- very interestingly, including Sir John Barbirolli conducting the Halle Orchestra on Nos. 4 and 6. Those could have been good choices, but the Stokowski and Golschmann are excellent, so no complaints there.

As on the Brahms set, I have run across at least one poor edit here as well. The first split second of music from the 4th movement of Symphony No. 6 (track 22) actually is at the end of track 21. If your MP3 player can handle continuous playing and you are listening to the tracks in order, you won't notice it. But if your player hesitates for a fraction of a second between tracks, it will be a distraction.

MP3 transfers are good in sound quality, and bitrates are variable, averaging 214-253 kbps. Total download size is 731 MB for 7.2 hours of music.

Very warmly recommended overall. There are some real gems here -- I'm particularly delighted with the Stokowski 4th, the Golschmann 6th, the Ogdon/Monteux Piano Concerto, and The Nutcracker. Pick it up before they raise the price!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great deal!, May 7, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Big Tchaikovsky Box (MP3 Music)
This is a great collection, and I've only just started to listen. The Stokowski performance is fabulous, that alone is worth the $0.99 investment. Fantastic deal!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instant Purchase, May 9, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Big Tchaikovsky Box (MP3 Music)
The opportunity to acquire seven hours of the world's greatest music of all time for less than $0.99 total? Make the purchase.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Price for an unbelievable deal, May 9, 2012
By 
M. Philo (Pacific Northwest, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Big Tchaikovsky Box (MP3 Music)
You can't go wrong with over 7 hours of music, all excellent quality and arraignments. Snag it while you can. :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Classical, February 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Big Tchaikovsky Box (MP3 Music)
Music at a very good price and with instant download. At these prices you only need to get a single thing you like and it's a good deal. Couldn't be happier.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Encore maestro!, January 17, 2014
By 
D4N3R5 (Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Big Tchaikovsky Box (MP3 Music)
Tchaikovsky. The name says it all. This collection of classical Tchaikovsky is quite a bit more than what I was thinking there was. The big thing for me is that it helps me to relax.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Bach Guild number one, December 8, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Big Tchaikovsky Box (MP3 Music)
I do love it. Bach Guild is to be highly praised, bringing TONS of well executed classical music to our ears for a minimal price.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars five stars, October 26, 2013
This review is from: Big Tchaikovsky Box (MP3 Music)
Bought it for a dollar when it is on sale. High recommended. Have to give it five stars... Tachaikovsky is really the king...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Big Tchaikovsky Box
Big Tchaikovsky Box by Various artists
Buy MP3 Album$2.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.