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  • Franz Schubert: The Complete Songs
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Franz Schubert: The Complete Songs Box set, Import

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Audio CD, Box set, Import, November 8, 2005
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$245.48 $211.29

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Graham Johnson is recognised as one of the worlds leading vocal accompanists. Born in Rhodesia, he came to London to study in 1967. After leaving the Royal Academy of Music his teachers included Gerald Moore and Geoffrey Parsons. In 1972 he was the official pianist at Peter Pears' first masterclasses at The Maltings, Snape which brought him into contact with Benjamin Britten a link which ... Read more in Amazon's Graham Johnson Store

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Franz Schubert: The Complete Songs + Schumann: The Complete Songs
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Product Details

  • Performer: Janet Baker, Thomas Hampson, Felicity Lott
  • Audio CD (November 8, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 40
  • Format: Box set, Import
  • 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: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B000B8657S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,944 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
As it is now, the box set works out at 4 pounds a CD.
The subsequent individual CDs from Hyperion have also deleted the Graham Johnson's notes, and refer you to an internet site if you want to read them.
Anthony Plumer
It's time to make this investment in the art and understanding of one of song's greatest masters.
Thomas More

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Tom Lawrence on May 11, 2006
Format: Audio CD
The recording of all 600-plus of Franz Schubert's songs was a labor of love for Hyperion Records and accompanist Graham Johnson. The project was characterized by a consistent level of top-notch performances by some of the premier Lied singers of our generation. While there might seem an economy in buying this complete 40-disc set, Beware. Inside the box you get 37 CDs of Schubert's songs for piano and voice presented in chronological order of composition, plus three CDs of songs by contemporary composers, often setting the same poems that Schubert used. Also included is a 400-page book of The Complete Song Texts, but here is the rub: the book lacks the liner notes from the individual CD booklets of the series.

Graham Johnson's original commentaries had insights into the genesis of the songs and the technical features fitting music to text. Where you got an exhaustive paragraph (or five) devoted to each song, here you get only a thumbnail biography of each year in Schubert's life followed by the texts of the songs for that year. The print is very small and the English translations are in an italicized font that makes the h's look like b's. Hyperion admits the difficulty of reprinting the original liner notes: "Several university presses have shown interest until they realised the scale of the project. We have worked out that the publication would run to nearly a million words--without the song texts. It would need at least two volumes. So we must see." In the meantime there is John Reed's Schubert Song Companion with commentaries on a majority of these songs.

There is a scholarly benefit to the chronological sequencing of the songs; you can trace Schubert's development from precocious teen to master songcrafter. There is some tediousness in the early material, however.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Stone on May 23, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Without trying to add to the discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the individual releases vs. the complete box set, I should like to point out that as of this writing (May 2009) these recordings are available on the Hyperion website for 25% and 55%, respectively, less than the Amazon price. The 37 individual disks come to GBP 390 and the box set is GBP 135. At the current exchange rate, this equals $620 (Amazon: c. $815) and $215 (Amazon: $480).

ADDITION (June 6): The individual CDs have subsequently been repackaged by Hyperion in standard jewel cases and several of them don't come with the full song-by-song notes any more.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Connelly on April 24, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I started collecting the Hyperion Schubert recital or program disks back in 1987 or '88 with the Janet Baker and Stephen Varcoe programs, I wonder whether it might be just another of those well-intended, ambitious, "complete edition" projects, whether in music or book publishing, that never quite sees its way to completion. Still, nothing would be lost in acquiring thees well-produced disks one by one, even if the series never reached the end -- great music, fine performances by stellar interpreters. In fact, it was a pleasure (sort of a game of anticipation) to check the Hyperion adverts in Gramophone magazine each month to see if a new disk was to be issued the next month.

Hyperion's and Graham Johnson's dedication saw the project through 37 program/recital disks, plus the Schubert friends and contemporaries set. And then came the chronological set forecast by Johnson in notes an earlier program/recital disk (he and Hyperion proved good as their word). (Since then, he's completed his Schumann series too.)

Enthusiasm has led me acquire both complete Schubert sets: the program/recital disks and the chronological set. If I were forced to do so, it would be hard to choose between them: each gives you a particular view of Schubert. The individually issued disks focus on a theme Schubert explored (classical mythology, Schiller, Goethe, the annus mirabilis 1815, etc.) and usually (though not always) a single singer. Three generations of Schubert interpreters have participated. Some budding Schubert singers made early appearances in the series and later flowered into the current ruling generation of performers. Ian Bostridge for example appeared first in a Schubertiad disk and later, joined with Fischer-Dieskau as reader, scaled the peak of Die Schoene Muellerin.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By W. Harwood on September 27, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I concur in full with the previous review of this marvelous collection. The liner notes, photos, and additonal information from Graham Johnson in the original individual discs were the best I have ever read. I have about a dozen of them. I was sorely disappointed to find in the big box only a small-print version of the songs, convenient in one place, but without the splendid commentaries. Bring on the bukly reprint!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael Robinson on April 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I concur with Tom Lawrence, "Florestan" and Angus Grant in their reviews. As someone with a decent collection of Schubert song CD's, over 40, the set as presented is an academic achievement and useful for sampling individual songs otherwise unavailable on disk. However for entertainment or casual listening I just do not play the individual disks but return to the song recitals of the original issue, or other recital disks. Apart from some extended listening on first purchase, and occasional searching for a particular rarely performed song as a reference performance, it sits un-played.

The booklet is beyond a nuisance. Even as just a location index to the series it has its problems, the type in bold face is too small and set too close together to read, I do not need glasses to read and, have to use use a low powers magnifying glass - if only an additional 1/2 line of blank space had been allowed between the entries if a standard 12 pt. type face were not to be used. In order to find songs I have had to blow up a Xerox of the pages to 11 x 8 in. sheets to provide me with a working index. For the song texts I use another source. One wishes that Hyperion had provided the full materials from the original issue, and on CD as a PDF if their printing is in such reduced size so that that texts etc. could then be printed out in what ever size an individual requires.
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