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138 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Bargain! Great performances and sound!
Contents

CD 1 - Ernest Ansermet - Falla & Debussy
CD 2 - Ataúlfo Argenta - Showpieces of Spain & Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
CD 3 - Vladimir Ashkenazy plays Rachmaninov
CD 4 - Vladimir Ashkenazy conducts Sibelius & Mussorgsky
CD 5 - Cecilia Bartoli - Italian Songs
CD 6 - Joshua Bell - Barber, Walton & Bloch
CD 7 - Herbert...
Published on November 21, 2011 by Stephen W. Worth

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47 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Decca Sound Box set
The Decca Sound is a 50 CD sampler of Decca's classical catalog that covers from the 1950's to 2009 and features a majority of digital recordings from artists still active on the label, with some rare analog masters scattered through the box.

This set follows the format of the DG 111 box sets, from the same parent company, Universal/Vivendi, which are fine for...
Published on March 3, 2012 by OBIE


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138 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Bargain! Great performances and sound!, November 21, 2011
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This review is from: The Decca Sound (Audio CD)
Contents

CD 1 - Ernest Ansermet - Falla & Debussy
CD 2 - Ataúlfo Argenta - Showpieces of Spain & Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
CD 3 - Vladimir Ashkenazy plays Rachmaninov
CD 4 - Vladimir Ashkenazy conducts Sibelius & Mussorgsky
CD 5 - Cecilia Bartoli - Italian Songs
CD 6 - Joshua Bell - Barber, Walton & Bloch
CD 7 - Herbert Blomstedt - Richard Strauss
CD 8 - Karl Böhm - Bruckner Symphony No 4
CD 9 - Willi Boskovsky - New Year's Day Concert in Vienna
CD 10 - Benjamin Britten - Britten War Requiem
CD 11 - Riccardo Chailly - Messiaen
CD 12 - Kyung-Wha Chung - Mendelssohn & Bruch
CD 13 - Clifford Curzon - Mozart Piano Concertos
CD 14 - Christoph von Dohnányi - Schoenberg, Berg & Webern
CD 15 - Antal Doráti - Stravinsky
CD 16 - Charles Dutoit - Ravel
CD 17 - Renée Fleming - Great Opera Scenes
CD 18 - Nelson Freire - Brahms Piano Concerto No 1 & Schumann Carnaval
CD 19 - Bernard Haitink - Shostakovich Symphonies No 5 & 9
CD 20 - Christopher Hogwood - Purcell Dido & Aeneas
CD 21 - Janine Jansen - Beethoven & Britten Violin Concertos
CD 22 - Herbert von Karajan - Holst The Planets
CD 23 - Julius Katchen - Bartók, Ravel & Prokofiev Piano Concertos
CD 24 - István Kertész - Dvorák Symphonies No 8 & 9
CD 25 - David Willcocks - Haydn Nelson Mass
CD 26 - Alicia de Larrocha - Granados & Falla
CD 27 - Ute Lemper - Berlin Cabaret Songs
CD 28 - Radu Lupu - Beethoven Piano Sonatas
CD 29 - Peter Maag - Mendelssohn
CD 30 - Lorin Maazel - Respighi
CD 31 - Charles Mackerras - Janácek
CD 32 - Neville Marriner - Tchaikovsky & Grieg
CD 33 - Jean Martinon - Ibert, Bizet, Saint-SaŽns & Borodin
CD 34 - Zubin Mehta - Varèse & Ives
CD 35 - Pierre Monteux - Ravel Daphnis et Chloé & Elgar Enigma Variations
CD 36 - Karl Münchinger - Bach
CD 37 - Georg Solti - Wagner The Golden Ring
CD 38 - The Three Tenors - Carreras Domingo Pavarotti in Concert
CD 39 - Joan Sutherland & Luciano Pavarotti - Puccini Turandot (highlights)
CD 40 - Philip Pickett - Susato
CD 41 - Pascal Rogé - Saint-SaŽns Piano Concertos
CD 42 - Christophe Rousset - Pergolesi Stabat Mater
CD 43 - András Schiff - Bach Goldberg Variations
CD 44 - Georg Solti - Romantic Russia & Suppé
CD 45 - Georg Solti - Mahler Symphony No 8
CD 46 - Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti & Marilyn Horne - Live from Lincoln Center
CD 47 - Takács Quartet - Beethoven Late String Quartets
CD 48 - Renata Tebaldi - Puccini La Fanciulla del West (highlights)
CD 49 - Vienna Octet - Mendelssohn Octet & Beethoven Septet
CD 50 - Andrew Litton & David Hill - Walton & Parry

RCA's Living Stereo box set and DGG's 111 sets have set the standard for coassical bargain mega-boxes. Decca steps up to the plate now and hits it out of the park. At first glance the list of titles might look a bit random. But there's a theory operating behind the selection. Instead of trying to create a collection that covers a wide swath of core repetoire, Decca decided to focus on the quality of the recordings instead. They picked just the greatest performances and the best recordings.

A seasoned classical collector might already have some of tese recordings, but at this price, one can afford a little overlap. For classical music newbies looking for an inexpensive sampling of what this music has to offer, this is a dream come true,

The packaging is great with a nice book (type is big enough to read!), CDs filled out to 65 to 75 minutes, and nice mini LP jackets. All in all, this is a great set for anyone who loves classical music.
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100 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must, November 22, 2011
By 
This review is from: The Decca Sound (Audio CD)
I'm actually not a big fan of box sets containing a potpourri of "famous" recordings. The two Deutsche Grammophon 111 boxes did not manage to convince me - of course they contain many good and even fantastic recordings by truly great artists, but there are also some strange choices. Moreover, one can hardly call the recent recordings by Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, Alice Sara Ott, Rolando Villazon, Gustavo Dudamel and so on "legendary". Including these names was obviously a commercial move. The same can be said about Sony's box called "25 legendary recordings". The "RCA Living Stereo" box is great, but it contains a lot of mainstream repertoire.

This box is different. There is only one disc which doesn't really belong here (#38, the three tenors) and which has obviously been included for commercial reasons. But oh man, what a great series of discs this is, and for what a ridiculous price. Many of these recording truly deserve the label "legendary", and some of the choices made by Decca are really interesting and courageous - because a good number of these discs contain "difficult" music, non-standard repertoire or feature legendary performers which are much less well-known nowadays. This is not just a medley of well-known compositions performed by famous musicians, not at all.

And oh right, this is all about The Decca Sound, right? Obviously the sound quality is *fantastic*.

Some personal highlights:

*Ansermet's recording of "El sombrero de tres picos"
*Argenta's fantastic LP "Espana"
*Britten conducting his own "War Requiem"
*Chailly and the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Messiaen's "Turangalila" symphony
*Curzon in Mozart's piano concerti KV466 and KV595 (with Britten conducting)
*Dorati in a wonderful Firebird and an even more astonishing Sacre Du Printemps
*Hogwood's version of Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas"
*Karajan's recording of "The Planets"
*Kertesz in Dvorak's symphonies 8 and 9
*the wonderful Alicia De Larrocha in Granados and De Falla
*Maag conducting Mendelssohn
*Mackerras in Janacek
*the fantastic Pierre Monteux in "Daphnis et Chloé"
*my favourite recording of the Goldberg Variations, by Andras Schiff
*Solti's fireworks in Glinka, Mussorgsky and Borodin
*and so on...

Some very courageous and non-standard choices:

*Mehta conducting in works by Varèse and Ives
*Litton conducting Walton's "Belshazzar's Feast" etc
*the New London Consort in Susato's "Dansereye 1551"
*the revolutionary recording of Puccini's "La fanciulla del West"
*the inclusion of Ataulfo Argenta (what a fantastic choice)
*...

What are you waiting for?
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An uncommonly balanced set, December 27, 2011
By 
Hank Drake (Cleveland, OH United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Decca Sound (Audio CD)
If there's one good thing that's happened in Classical music over the last few years, it's been the plethora of bargain priced box sets. Such is the case with The Decca Sound, a retrospective of some of that label's most famous recordings from the early stereo era onward.

Space doesn't permit me to go into detail on the individual performances here, and I refer the reader to Stephen Worth's review for the full contents of the set. Suffice it to say that there isn't a bad performance to be heard in the set, although a few are less than stellar. The repertoire and performers have been carefully selected so that the individual discs add up to an uncommonly well balanced collection - truly the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The collection is organized alphabetically by primary artist. Some performers appear on more than one disc. For example, Vladimir Ashkenazy appears as pianist (in the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto and Second Sonata) on one disc, then as conductor (in Sibelius's First Symphony and Ashkenazy's own orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition), and Andras Schiff appears as both accompanist and solo pianist.

The original front album covers are reproduced for each disc, and most discs are filled out with bonus tracks. The original liner notes are not included here. In their place is an illustrated hard-bound booklet which goes into detail how the Decca Sound was achieved - essentially it amounted to the selection of the proper microphones and a simple but carefully placed setup. The sound of these recordings, some over 50 years old, holds up really well, particularly the orchestral recordings. I would describe the Decca Sound as warm without being fuzzy, clear without being clinical, all frequencies audible with a deep, resonant bass that doesn't call attention to itself.

Highest recommendation.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instant Classical Music Collection "in a box" - and an Excellent Survey of All Varieties of Classical, April 14, 2012
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This review is from: The Decca Sound (Audio CD)
The Decca Sound is a super-bargain set of 50 CD's for just about $2/CD (at the present time), which is an extraordinarily low price for such a high quality collection of works and performances.

They are organized by Conductor or Artist, and in some cases by theme, but from my point of view I would describe the contents of this box set in the following way:

First, there are a number of works that are generally considered to be part of a recommended "basic library" of classical music:

- Violin Concertos: Barber, Beethoven, Bruch (#1), Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky
- Piano Concertos: Brahms (#1), Mozart (#20, 27), Prokofiev (#3), Rachmaninov (#3), Saint-Saens (#2)
- Symphonies: Bruckner (#4), Dvorak (#9), Messiaen, Shostakovich (#5), R. Strauss (Alpine Symphony)
- Other Orchestral Works: Elgar (Enigma Variations), Falla (Noches en los jardines de Espana), Holst (The Planets), Mendelssohn (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition), Ravel (Daphnis et Chloe), Respighi (Roman Trilogy), J. Strauss (Walzes - the complete 1979 New Year's Concert), Stravinsky (The Rite of Spring, The Firebird)
- Chamber Music: Mendelssohn (Octet), Beethoven (String Quartets)
- Instrumental Works: Bach (Goldberg Variations), Beethoven (Piano Sonata's 8, 14, 21), Schumann (Carnaval)
- Vocal Works: Bach (Cantata 140, Magnificat), Britten (War Requiem), Haydn (Nelson Mass), Walton (Belshazzar's Feast)

Second, there are several discs that contain excerpts and highlights from important Opera's and other vocal works:

- Ceccilia Bartoli, accompanied by Andras Schiff, performing works by Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Haydn
- Renee Fleming, performing with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir George Solti, great scenes from Opera's by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Verdi, Britten and R. Strauss
- Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, performing Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell
- Excerpts from Wagner's Ring, Sir George Solti
- The Three Tenors in Concert, 1990
- Puccini Turandot highlights (Sutherland, Pavarotti, Caballe, Pears)
- A disc with a performance by Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne, and Luciano Pavarotti, Live from Lincoln Center (1981)

Third, there are numerous works, that while not part of the "basic library", are ones that an individual, when building a classical music collection, will probably want to add at some point:

- Falla, the Three-Cornered Hat
- Rimsky-Korsakov, Capriccio Espagnol
- Sibelius, Symphony #1
- Walton, Violin Concerto
- R. Strauss, Don Juan
- Charles Ives, Symphony #2
- Saint-Saens, Piano Concerto's #4 & 5

And finally, there are works that may be somewhat less well known, and may be new even to someone who has been enjoying Classical Music for a long time:

- Moszkowski, Spanish Dances
- Berlin Cabaret Songs, performed by Ute Lemper, Matrix Ensemble
- Susato, Dansereye (1551), New London Consort, Philip Pickett
- "Romantic Russia", a disc containing compositions by Glinka, Mussorgsky, Borodin, and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir George Solti

Performers are all at the very highest level and performances are superb.

The above is not comprehensive of everything included on the 50 CD's, but I have tried to cover as much as possible, and I hope that it provides a sense of the scope of the collection.

The packaging is completely satisfactory. The box itself is reasonably heavy-duty and opens in clamshell fashion to provide easy access to any of the CD's individually. Each CD is in its own cardboard sleeve, with a reproduction of the original LP cover on one side, and a brief track listing on the other. The booklet provides full details of each CD including the recording location and date. Finally, it includes two short essays: The Decca Sound, by Michael Gray, and Fifty Years of Great Decca Recordings, by Raymond McGill. The documentation is therefore fully adequate and better than one might expect at a bargain price.

To have such a collection available at an almost incredibly low price - this is astonishing and hard to pass up! I certainly could not, even though it does duplicate many works that I already own, but with different artists and performances.

If you love classical music and welcome the opportunity to add some excellent performances as well as some new compositions to your collection, or if you have someone who you would like to introduce to classical music by giving them a broad selection of pieces representing essentially all variations within the classical spectrum; whatever your reason, I cannot see how you could be disappointed with this set.
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47 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Decca Sound Box set, March 3, 2012
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This review is from: The Decca Sound (Audio CD)
The Decca Sound is a 50 CD sampler of Decca's classical catalog that covers from the 1950's to 2009 and features a majority of digital recordings from artists still active on the label, with some rare analog masters scattered through the box.

This set follows the format of the DG 111 box sets, from the same parent company, Universal/Vivendi, which are fine for what they are a very large "sampler" of their current catalog.

The quality of the recordings are fanatstic, due to many of them being recorded in the last 30 years with state of the art equipment.

The older LP based albums have bonus filler, sourced from other Decca CD reissues of the original albums, and it seems more like a taste of one of the artist specific "Remastered" box sets Decca also releases. The newer recordings are just copies of the originally released CDs and have no bonus material, even if the original CDs were short on time.

If you like Decca classical artists and are looking for new music this is a fine introduction to the label. The clam shell box itself is nice and the booklet has the full recording info on each CD, along with multi language essays on the Decca label and staff. To me the booklet is the best part of the set, followed by the box that holds the CDs.

The box is set up alphabetically by artist, conductor or composer, and requires the booklet to get more info on the CD contents, than just the original album cover on the front of the mini LP replica sleeve.

If you didn't know about the "alphabetical" ordering it would seem like the box was randomly packed until you see it's following the order in the book, which jumps arounds from artist to artist. Which must be why they numbered the CDs, why can't they put the recording info on the back of the CD sleeve and not just the song titles, and picture so small you can't make it out, of the "bonus material", forcing you to use the book just to find out when it was recorded?

The set is frustrating by requiring the booklet for info that could have been on the back of the sleeve, instead of a blurb about the original release, which should have been in the booklet.

The question is do I really need a potentially "Collectable" alphabetical Greatest Hits set of 50 different Decca artists to add to my classical CD library?

Personally, I would rather avoid samplers and stick to collections. For the price of this set I could have gotten the "Complete Solti Wagner" Decca set and a couple other conductor based collections that really would have added to my library and not just a 50 CD tease of what's available from the Decca catalog.

The box seems like something a Decca salesperson would give to a big client in appreciation of a large order, more than the label anniversary retrospective it was advertised as.

The 3 star rating is for the content of the box, which I found unfocused and disappointing, when my preorder finally arrived. I wanted to like this set, but it's just not up to the prerelease hype.

If your looking for a well done Decca sampler this might be worth investing in, there are a couple specific albums that are out of print and on here, that are pricey in the 2nd market.

<<<<<<<<<<<<< 6 months later >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

After living with this for a while I wanted to confirm my earlier impression of the set.

It's gone from the $3 a disk at preorder down to a little over $2 and the limited edition seems to be limited to as many as they can sell.

My real issue is unlike the superior Sony RCA Living Stereo box, a premium box set with a book containing all the original liner notes, or the Mercury Living Presence Box which cover a limited time frame and both feature broad collections of a couple conductors. This is a random collection too broad to be effective. I find I listen to these CDs very little and what I did like I went out and got the mutli CD Remastered discount Conductor based collections sampled in this box.

Its still new, but already a dust collector.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible value, February 14, 2012
By 
Edel (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Decca Sound (Audio CD)
If you don't have an extensive classical music collection, and consider classical more a part of many styles you like rather than your only musical passion, should you buy a 50-CD set?
Yes, wholeheartedly.
I am still discovering the many beautiful performances included in the set, yet have only been impressed by everything I have discovered so far. Discovery is really the magic word here. Many of these albums are not the classics you know, like Beethoven's fifth. They are often lesser known to the casual classical fan, and take you to places you didn't expect to be taken. For example, Manuel de Falla's The Cornered hat, the first CD of the collection (each one is numbered on the back), absolutely ravished me with its freshness, bouncing originality, and Spanish rytms. [Side note: I also learned that this one album alone is a prized, out-of-print CD in its single (non set) issue, which makes this 50-CD set, which includes many such rare performances, all the more exciting.] Saint-Saens Piano Concerto 2, 4 and 5 is a masterpiece of relaxing piano and orchestra piece I listened to all day in repeat mode with great pleasure while working on a project at home. Ravel's CD includes the famous Bolero, but also wonderful lesser known pieces that again amazed me with their originality. I realize now that I really didn't know classical music that well at all. And I haven't mentioned the outstanding technical quality, for recordings made way before the digital era. Wonderfull bass and full sound. I feel like a little kid and can't wait to discover more CDs... There is no doubt you are buying at a very affordable price years of musical pleasure when you purchase this Decca set.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection of diverse recordings, April 14, 2012
By 
Sonoma's Davey (Guerneville, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Decca Sound (Audio CD)
In the late 1950's, at the dawn of stereophonic recording, several classical record labels embraced the new technology wholeheartedly. At the top of the pack were Decca, Mercury Living Presence, and RCA Living Stereo. Each label had a crew of recording engineers dedicated to using the new stereo recording capability to create state of the art recordings, in anticipation of the forthcoming standardization of stereo LPs for the consumer market, which happened in 1958.

This collection spans many years of Decca recordings, from the late 1950's out through the late 2000's, including the transition from analog tape recording to digital. How do the older analog recordings compare to more modern digital recordings? The original performance was captured first on magnetic recording tape, and then transferred to the LP master. Magnetic tape recording has several limitations, compared with today's digital recording. The most important limitations are tape hiss, limited dynamic range, and bad distortion (overmodulation resulting in clipping) that occurs if the incoming audio level is higher than the tape can accommodate. The Decca engineers worked carefully to avoid overmodulation distortion, so the worst you'll hear on these CDs is some residual tape hiss. It's subtle, and doesn't really detract from the overall enjoyment of the sound. In short, even these earlier recordings sound splendid.

The diversity of music presented in this collection is impressive. We have early music from 1551, modern composers like Walton, Bartok, and Britten, and everything in between. There's orchestral music, opera, solo piano, and even cabaret songs. Most of the albums are on the Decca label, but Decca's associated labels L'Oiseau Lyre and Argo are also represented.

Of course, even with 50 CDs, this collection doesn't come close to covering the entire Decca catalog. But what's here is wonderful, both for Decca fans and also for anyone new to classical music. At roughly $2 per CD, it's a great way to quickly assemble a diverse classical music library. Also check out the equally impressive and bargain priced box sets from Mercury Living Presence Boxed Set and Living Stereo 60 CD Collection Box.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great musical bargain, May 6, 2012
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This review is from: The Decca Sound (Audio CD)
What a great box of music! Excellent sound quality, excellent performances, Good quality box and sleeves. I'm an audiophile, so sound quality means a lot to me--and this box delivers. On top of all that, an excellent price!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great retrospective & a bargain, February 17, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Decca Sound (Audio CD)
As other reviewers note, Decca did it right. Unlike the DG boxes there isn't much dross here, just a couple albums of 'X sings Opera encores'. Given the inevitable bias towards showy orchestral pieces in a collection touting spectacular sound the variety here is impressive and all the selected recordings really are outstanding performances in outstanding sound.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy from the Thailand seller!!!, July 30, 2014
By 
Steve Sun (Floral Park, NY) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Decca Sound (Audio CD)
The Decca Sound Box Set is definitely a great bargain with 50 CD's in the box.

Five stars is for this box of CD's only. Regarding the Thailand Asian seller---Wachiphoshop, if I could, they deserve zero stars! When I opened the box 2 days ago, I was quite certain there must be something wrong in the box! 50 disks and an instruction booklet packed in the box, and there is still some space that I can stick my index finger into the box!! Lots of disks are scratched, some of them even have some "strange spots" l guess those spots are the residue of some glue, and I have no idea how these disks been packed... All cardboard CD sleeves looked used.

And, when I took the Disk 1 out of the box, my fingers told me there are something very wrong: Disk 1 actually thinner than regular CD's comparing to my other disks of 2000+ CD library!!

What I did was order another NEW set from a seller in Australia, and keep my fingers crossed. Will update when I received my order.
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