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Living Stereo Collection 1 [Box set]

Ludwig van Beethoven , Johannes Brahms , Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Johann Sebastian Bach , Franz Schubert , Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov , Modest Mussorgsky , Robert Schumann , Bela Bartok Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

Price: $110.37 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Audio CD, Box set, 2014 $110.37  

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Living Stereo Collection 1 + Living Stereo Collection 2 + Mercury Living Presence II
Price for all three: $347.75

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Product Details

  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Sebastian Bach, et al.
  • Audio CD (April 15, 2014)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 60
  • 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: Masterworks
  • ASIN: B009J3K4MI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,687 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
150 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing value for classic perfomances October 13, 2010
By gimlet
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
An accident of history meant that the launch of stereo recording, in the late 1950s, coincided with the autumn of several illustrious careers, including Reiner, Heifetz, Munch, Monteux and Rubinstein. In America, RCA and Mercury were the first to undertake widespread recording in stereo, and many of the RCA Living Stereo recordings became recognised as classics which have never been out of the catalog.

This box contains 60 compact discs, many of which are outstanding (try Reiner's Also Sprach Zarathustra), and all of which are acceptable, both as performances and recordings. The first disc is a "sampler", but the remaining 59 are great performances of core repertoire. Although you are getting old-fashioned Red Book 16/44 compact discs (manufactured in Korea!), the recording is actually the CD layer of the SACD remasters from the original master tapes (by Sound Mirror). Each disc comes in a sleeve with the same cover art as the SACD, and the box is accompanied by a superb book which contains all the SACD cover notes for every disc, and provides background details of the remastering. I have the equivalent SACDs for a couple of the discs, and the comparative sound quality, whilst not identical, is quite close.

For just over $2 per disc, you are getting a superb bargain, and all the performances are in excellent late 1950s or early 1960s sound. Of course, there is some tape hiss and occasional audience noises on a few of the live performances. But you are hearing something special, and it is well worth the modest cost.
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102 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great value and opportunity not to be missed December 7, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This generous 60-CD set met or exceeded my every expectation for performance and recorded sound, based on the Living Stereo recordings I already own. The original art work, well-constructed case, and splendid 246-page booklet add further value.

This set is a compelling historical document of a musical world now gone. It gives an idea of what the core symphonic repertoire was like a half-century ago-- the music which orchestras performed for paying audiences-- and how that has gradually changed. It is also a portrait of two great orchestras (Chicago and Boston) led by two legendary conductors (Reiner and Munch) at the peak of their powers. They, and their soloists (vocal and instrumental) and orchestra members were the last generation of classical musicians who first encountered the music they played by reading scores or hearing live performances, rather than through others' recordings. This, I believe, accounts for the extra measure of individuality and freshness found in many Living Stereo performances and so often lacking in today's generic recordings-- no matter how sexed-up the cover art, or technically "perfect" the performance and digital sound may be. Even so, few allowances need to be made here for sound quality, and are more than compensated by the quality of performance.

This set also serves as a reminder of cultural barriers still very much in place 50 years ago-- between high culture and popular culture, between "real" classical music and "light classics". Arthur Fiedler said that his greatest professional disappointment was that, because of his association with the "middle-brow" Pops, he was never invited to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra. A few fine recordings by Fiedler and the Boston Pops, and by Morton Gould and his Orchestra, round out this set.
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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have a huge collection of music- thousands of classical CDs and thousands of LPs. You'd think that a box set of core repertoire would be redundant for a collection like mine. But it isn't. This box isn't just a sampler of classical music, it's a retrospective of the work of Reiner and Munch, two of the greatest conductors who ever lived. The performances here are porterhouse steak at hamburger prices.

But if you are one of the lucky people who have an interest in classical music but never knew where to start, this set is an even better bargain. This box cuts a huge swath right through the middle of the core repertoire. You know those lists you read online, "Recommended Basic Classical Music Collection"? Well, the contents of this set could function as that with no overlapping and very little chaffe.

Symphonies, operas, programmatic music, solo recitals, it's all here in spectacular sound and definitive performances. Buy this box and spend the next year absorbing it all and you will gain a tremendous introduction to the world of classical music. This box could be priced four or five times higher and it would still be worth it. If you are new to classical music, don't hesitate. This is the one.
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171 of 184 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disc Descriptions July 14, 2010
Format:Audio CD
1 Various Living Stereo Sampler
2 MUNCH, CHARLES/Saint-Sans: Symphony No. 3; Debussy: La Mer; Ibert: Escales
3 MUNCH, CHARLES/Ravel: Daphnis et Chlo
4 REINER, FRITZ/ Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra; Ein Heldenleben
5 REINER, FRITZ/Bartk: Concerto for Orchestra;Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta; Hungarian Sketches
6 HEIFETZ, JASCHA /Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
7 CLIBURN, VAN /Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1; Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
8 FIEDLER, ARTHUR/Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; Concerto in F; An American in Paris; Variations..
9 REINER, FRITZ /Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
10 PRICE, LEONTYNE/Leontyne Price: Arias
11 RUBINSTEIN, ARTHUR Chopin: Ballades & Scherzos
12 MONTEUX, PIERRE/Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 Pathtique
13 GOULD, MORTON/Brass & Percussion
14 HEIFETZ, JASCHA/Sibelius, Prokofiev, Glazunov: Violin Concertos
15 MUNCH, CHARLES/Berlioz: Requiem 2CD
17 MUNCH, CHARLES/Ravel: Bolro; La Valse; Rapsodie espagnole; Debussy: Images for Orchestra
18 PIATIGORSKY, GREGOR/Dvork; Walton: Cello Concertos
19 REINER, FRITZ/ Dvork: New World Symphony
20 REINER, FRITZ/Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade
21 RUBINSTEIN, ARTHUR /Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1
22 FIEDLER, ARTHUR/ Offenbach: Gat parisienne
23 CLIBURN, VAN/Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3
24 FIEDLER, ARTHUR/Hi-Fi Fiedler
25 HEIFETZ, JASCHA/Brahms; Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos
26 MONTEUX, PIERRE/Franck:Symphony in D Minor;Stravinsky: Petrouchka
27 MUNCH, CHARLES/Beethoven: Symphonies Nos.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This classical collection rocks!
I am an avid classical music listener and recently purchased this collection. For a little over $100, I honestly did not expect it to be this good! Read more
Published 1 day ago by Music in ME
5.0 out of 5 stars You can believe the glowing reviews given here.
I will keep this brief: This is a fine collection, featuring many selections of the core classical repertoire. The performances are excellent, as are the recordings. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Saint Richard
5.0 out of 5 stars RCA Living Stereo Collection 1
After ordering the Mercury Living Presence CD sets Volume 1 & 2, I ordered the RCA Living Stereo Collection at the same time, because I had several re-issued RCA CDs from years... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Charles C. Porter
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Collection.
Each CD is a treasure. The description book is very detailed. I couldn't ask for more in a set. I am delighted.
Published 2 months ago by George
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a great collection of music
However, it certainly is a remarkable run of recordings. The first 60 TCA Living Stereo releases (augmented by extra material to make decent-length CDs, where the LPs were skimpy)... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Wes Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Quality
Obviously all the recordings or historical and at the top of their game so only need to mention the quality of the recording. Read more
Published 4 months ago by DBD
2.0 out of 5 stars Much better sound in the SACD remasters - great performances

Generally I am a fan of the RCA Living Stereo performances - most are really grand. BUT RCA/Sony(?) did a great job of remastering these in a SACD hybrid. Read more
Published 4 months ago by G. Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
We all need to be enticed away from our go-to selections once in awhile, and listen to other genres and performers who can broaden our interests and understanding. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lois C. Fleming
5.0 out of 5 stars Living Stereo Collection a Real Bargain From the Past
LPs as I could. However the limited budget of a student reduced my acquisition them. The pressures of raising a family and a busy career had me shelve my audio hobby, and I lost... Read more
Published 5 months ago by KLbird
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tremendous Value
As I am new to classical music, I've been looking for ways to pick up good samplers. I purchased this for that reason. Wow, the sound quality is excellent. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jonathan S.
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