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Decca Recordings 1953-1967 Box set, Original recording remastered


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Audio CD, Box set, Original recording remastered, February 13, 2007
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Product Details

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Carl Maria von Weber, Felix Mendelssohn, et al.
  • Audio CD (February 13, 2007)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • 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: Decca
  • ASIN: B000JU7N7Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,463 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

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See all 7 customer reviews
What substitutes is "clarity" of "sound."
Shakespeare
He was in the same position as a number of great conductors of his era such as Rudolf Kempe -- great men at the podium cast in the shadow of giants.
Larry VanDeSande
It works very well in this ambiguous, often mystifying music, although for intensity and better execution one has to look elsewhere.
Santa Fe Listener

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Larry VanDeSande VINE VOICE on June 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This 6-CD set gives uninitiated listeners a fair introduction to a conductor they never knew while he was alive or in his heyday. Ernest Anserment (1883-1969) was born in Switzerland and was a contemporary of both Furtwängler and Klemperer, although he was of a far different school of music than either German. Originally a mathematician, Ansermet founded Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Swiss Radio Orchestra) during World War I, toured with them worldwide after the war, and rose to prominence after World War II when he and the orchestra developed a recording contract with Decca Records.

Ansermet was most at home in coolorful scores, 20th century French music, in the works of his countrymen Honegger (born French but spent time in Zurich) and Frank Martin, and in the Russians Stravinsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. But, as represented here, his expertise began with Bach and went well into the 20th century.

Ansermet's strengths were clarity in execution and delivery, strict adherence to original scoring (he opposed Stravinsky's tendency to revise his own works), and a romantic bent that was in vogue in the postwar years. Stated another way, Anserment's work captured the essence of what today might be characterized as a "romantic period performance" style whose chief proponent may be Martin Perlman in Boston.

For me, Ansermet's conducting in the mainstream German classics was equally engaging. He was expert in capturing the full blown romance of Brahms, Beethoven and other romantics through the rigors of exposing every instrument in the orchestra and ensuring all contrapuntal lines could be heard. His Beethoven set included a dazzling performance of the Symphony No. 2 and a draft of the "Choral" symphony most collectors would enjoy today (it's still avaiable in Japan).
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. Richman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 21, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Generally I am a big fan of the Original Masters box sets, but with this latest collection Decca/UNI has gone too far. Don't get me wrong there are some wonderful rare recordings on "Ernest Ansermet: Decca Recordings 1953-1967" -- Haydn's 22nd Symphony, Beethoven's 4th, Sibelius' 4th, Respighi's Fountains of Rome, an entire CD of Honegger performances, and even Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite, a different version from the full account contained on Ansermet's Stravinsky box (Stravinsky: Ballets; Stage Works; Orchestral Works -- see my review). But way too much of the rest of this set is just repackaged previously available material. In fairness much of it has been out of print, or only available in Japan, but that won't do much to satisfy the serious collectors to whom this series is aimed, and who have gone to great lengths to track down those previous CD incarnations. What makes matters worse is the sampling is so far and wide that not only is the sequencing haphazard, but it is infuriating for those of us that have purchased other Ansermet titles in the past.

For example, reprised from his "Double Decca" Rimsky-Korsakov title (Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade for orchestra Op35; Russian Easter Festival Overture Op36), we get one lousy four minute selection, "Dubinushka." Why bother to include it? Just go buy the two-fer!!! They mention Ansermet's pioneering stereo recording of "Antar" in the liner notes, so why not include that here instead.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 28, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Ernest Ansermet was one of Decca's most prolific artists, to whom they consigned dozens of Stravinsky works, the standard Russian repertoire, and all French music. We've been steadily getting reissues of this output, and here's the latest batch. Newcomers may be surprised at how good even the earliest sound is, but they should also expect less than virtuosic playing from the Suisse Romande orchestra; the lack in execution is made up for by the special tang of French winds and brass, a constant pleasure throughout.

CD 1: Ansermet conducted very good Bach and Brahms but is little known for that. Here we get a sampling of his skill in German music. The snippet of orchestral music from Bach's Cantata #31 is a prelude to a fresh, lively Haydn Sym. #22 "The Philosopher" (named for its sober opening Adagio) that's performed in the same gentle, loving style as Bruno Walter's Haydn. The same soft-grained approach applies to the Beethoven 4th Sym., but in this case the scrawniness of the string section compares badly with great German and American orchestras, and one also feels that Ansermet really should dig in more. But if you want a feminine reading of a symphony often called feminine by older critics, this is a fine one. This generous disc ends with three overtures many listeners won't already own: Weber's Ruler of the Spheres and Preciosa Over., plus the more familiar Mendelssohn Ruy Blas. The performances are lively to the point of brashness, and very enjoyable.

CD 2: This disc is Russian and Finnish. For many French conductors Russian music comes as second nature, and this is true for Ansermet. His suite of Polovtsian Dances from Borodin's Prince Igor is light, fast, and pointed.
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