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Showing 1-10 of 67 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 76 reviews
on June 18, 2013
I usually pay no attention to super budget classical albums. I figured they were great for someone just starting out but were worthless to those of us who have been into this kind of music for a long time. Anyway, these sets kept popping up when I would search for different items so I took some time to investigate them. When I realized where these recordings came from I became very excited. I am a part time record collector and I am familiar with the label these tapes come from. To make along story short I ordered the Shubert box and have been blown away by it. The 5th symphony is wonderfully recorded and played and I can't wait to here the rest of it. It is an excellent set for the beginner or the long-time fan.
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VINE VOICEon September 6, 2013
Founded in 1948 with the goal of recording the complete Bach cantatas, the Bach Guild expanded its purpose over the years to make historical recordings of many composers including Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, Vivaldi, and more in addition to Bach. The Bach Guild has been releasing its large output on "big" MP3 box sets at low prices. The Bach Guild's most recent "big box" is this set consisting of over 13 hours of the music of Franz Schubert. At a price of less than one dollar, this set is irresistible, and the music is glorious.

In his short life, Schubert (1797 -- 1828) created astounding music in quality and quantity. Many well-informed listeners remain unaware of the scope of Schubert's accomplishment. (A few years ago, I played a Schubert piano sonata for a reasonably musically literate audience. One person told me she had sung Schubert as a child but that she had no idea he had composed piano sonatas.)

This "big box" offers an excellent guide to Schubert with performances by first rate artists. Schubert remains best-known as a song composer. The box includes a live, one hour recital of 14 songs by Elly Ameling and Rudolf Jansen on the piano. The songs and performances are lovely and go beyond the handful of Schubert's most familiar songs. Ameling sings Schubert's familiar and endearing "To Sylvia" for example while also performing less frequently heard songs including "Iphigenia" and "Ganymed". The set does not include Schubert's song cycles Die Winterreise, Die Schone Mullerin, or Schwanengesang. The set may move the listener to pursue them for him or herself.

Schubert longed to be more that a writer of songs, and the "big box" will convince listeners that he succeeded. The set includes four symphonies, no. 5,6, the "Unfinished", and the "Great", together with reconstructions of two others, (rare for a box set). The Great Symphony, no 9 in C major in the set, by Carl Schuricht and SDR Radio Stuttgart is swelling in the background, inspiring me as I write. Schubert's output of chamber music was extensive, and this box includes his beloved "Trout Quintet" and his tragic late C major string quintet, D. 956. Schubert's d minor string quartet is included as well as shorter works. Many other Schubert quartets remain for the interested listener to pursue. Schubert's short, lovely compositions for violin and piano, performed by Alexander Schneider and Peter Serkin also are included in this set.

Schubert's piano music is close to my heart. His piano sonatas once were neglected but have come into their own at last. The highlight of the "Big Box" for me was the Schubert of Lily Krauss, (1903 -- 1986). Krauss was best-known for her performances of Mozart and Beethoven. This collection shows she was a Schubertian as well, with performances of three Schubert sonatas, including the last sonata in B-flat major, the Impromptus, and the virtuosic Wanderer Fantasy, a piece I would not have associated with Krauss. There are also performances of sonatas by Alfred Brendel, together with the German Dances, and Bruce Hungerford in the posthumous A major sonata. Here again, the box leaves some piano of Schubert's piano music to be discovered. For example, the listener may want to explore Schubert's G major sonata, not included in the "Big Box".

The "Big Box" is an outstanding risk-free way to get to know the beauties of Schubert's music. Those listeners who know Schubert will enjoy these hard to find and outstanding performances by great artists.

Robin Friedman
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on June 4, 2013
I just bought this great bargain, staying up late last night to see the download through to completion. At random, just enjoyed the Mackerras 6th symphony rendition. (perky flute and clarinet passages in the final movement are very enjoyable, so many other versions drag this movement out and spoil the work for me.) I can't wait to burrow into all the delights of this 13+ hour download!! What a price! With performers like Ameling, Kraus, Mackerras, and Brendel, you can't go wrong. My shelves are already bulging with Schubert CDs and LPs, purchased over a 50 year period roughly, but these recordings are a very welcome addition!
Thank you Bach Guild and thank you, Amazon!
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on June 5, 2013
Having known many of these performances from LP days, I am happy to have them now on a thumbdrive for car trips (as I am with the earlier Chopin "big box"). One suggestion/request -- on "sets" like this with tracks numbering over 100, please number them with 3-digits from the start: 001, 002... As it is, I have to renumber the first 99 tracks, adding a zero, so my player plays them in the correct order. Small point, but an unnecessary hassle. Thanks again, and keep them coming (how about a Beethoven set that includes the Mannheim Trio's old recordings of the Beethoven piano trios -- favorites of mine from the LP era). Dave Royko
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on November 27, 2013
The Vanguard/Bach Guild labels did yeoman work in recording vast quantities of little-known music, and that included Vivaldi, Handel, Schubert, Haydn, and a slew of Bach. This was in the period before authentic performance practice moved into the mainstream. If you set store in such things, expect to be disappointed by some of the baroque Big Box performances...although there is a harpsichord continuo in practically all of them.

This Schubert collection is less problematic. Elly Ameling, Peter Serkin, et al are superb Schubert interpreters. This collection is a great reference, yes, (there is just so much of Schubert's output here), but also the source of many outstanding performances.

We live in wonderful times. It is unbelievable to have so much great music so beautifully played for so little money. Today's music lovers live better than kings of yore. We have untold treasures of music, painting, and literature in many languages on our devices. And we can even make phone calls with them.
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on October 22, 2013
I wrote that the Haydn big box was the greatest bargain in classical music. This release almost tops that. For $.99 you get about 15 hours of some greatest recorded performances of the glorious melodies of Schubert. Just the hour of Lieder sung by Elly Ameling is worth 10 X the price. But you also get recordings of the spurious 7th Symphony (both of them) in glorious sound. Since I downloaded it about a week ago I just can't leave it alone. Just let it play and like Stravinsky commented of the great C Major Symphony: So what if it is long when you wake up in paradise. So try living about 15 hours in paradise. You will love it. And send it as a gift to everybody you know who is getting a bit into classical music. It just doesn't more beautiful and beautifully performed than this. Bravo Bach Guild!!!
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on July 28, 2013
If you do not know Schubert, this is a very affordable way to introduce yourself. It includes several symphonies, chamber work, piano music, and lieder. I listened to the piano quintet ( The Trout) and the violin sonatinas. The recording of the sonatinas included Peter Serkin who is an excellent pianist I have heard in concert several times. The sonatinas were well recorded and the performances very enjoyable. For me the sonatinas were worth the price of the whole set. The recording of the piano quintet was enthusiastic and perfectly satisfactory recording to first hear it. There is a lot of other great music on this box. This box brings a lot of music at an incredibly cheap price. I hope that lots of people who do not know Schubert will have a chance to experience this music. His music is full of beauty and passion.
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on March 30, 2014
This collection of music by Schubert is amazing. It is amazing because it is such a big and comprehensive collection. It is amazing because it is dirt cheap for the collection. I bought the MP3 for $2.99. I see that others paid even less. It is amazing because the quality of the recordings is quite good. It is amazing because the performances are quite good. I recommend this collection to anyone looking to fill out their music library with Schubert. You get a lot for your money.
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on September 7, 2013
I've been listening to this set as accompaniment to my morning walk which lasts about an hour. The performances of the Fifth & Sixth Symphonies (conducted by Mackerras) and the Trout Quintet are excellent. Today I gave a listen to the Weingartner completion of the Seventh Symphony in E, and it was also enjoyable, even if the recording itself shows its age. The Ninth also shows it's age in an otherwise enjoyable version led by Carl Schuricht.

One could do much worse than listening to Schubert in the early morning!

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on March 5, 2014
This is only a buck. Words cannot describe what a bargain this is. I can't speak about who made the recordings but what I can say is that this series, and this box in particular, provides a great and rounded introduction to the composer. There are hours of music on this set and it contains a variety of his works, many of which are must have pieces. This collection contains several complete symphonies except for the unfinished 8th along with chamber music (Trout) and of course, lots of solo piano music. It is a great introduction to a virtual sea of great music so take a dip. Highly recommended.
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