LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI - The Stereo Collection 1954 - 1975
Music of Beethoven, Brahms, Khachaturian, Menotti, Prokofiev, Wagner, Canteloube, Rachmaninoff, Dvorák, Smetana, Tchaikovsky, Enesco, Liszt, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mahler, Bach, and Handel,
RCA 1916852 (14 disks) TT: 14 hours 47:59
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ROBERT CASADESUS PLAYS MOZART
SONY 7808372 (5 disks) TT: 5 hours 04:4
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MURRAY PERAHIA - Mozart Piano Concertos
SONY 1914112 (12 disks) TT: 11 hours 34:26
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CHARLES MUNCH - Late Romantic Masterpieces
Music of Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Dvoräk, Mahler and Richard Strauss
RCA 899792 (7 disks) TT: 7 hours, 23:02
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CHARLES MUNCH - Romantic Masterpieces
Music of Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann
RCA 7826732 (8 disks) TT: 8 hours: 14:16
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LEON FLEISHER: Beethoven and Brahms
SONY 1918052 (5 disks) TT: 5 hours. 35:34
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WILLIAM KAPELL - Complete recordings 1944-1942
Music of Bach, Bahms,Chopin, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Shostakovich, Khachaturian, Liszt, Mozart, Albéniz, Copland and Scarlatt.
RCA 54531362 (11 disks) TT: 12 hours. 36:21
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These are only seven of the fantastic bargain boxes released by Sony/RCA, compilatios of recordings of extraordinary interest, at super-budget price. You won't get anything in the way of program notes, but each disk gives complete details of its contents, recording dates, venue,and timings. Well over fifty boxed sets have been issued; above are to me of particular interest.

The Stokowski stereo collection is a treasure including all of his stereo rcordings for RCA including the first,. Menotti's Sebastian Ballet and a suite from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, as well as his Chicgo Symphony recordings of Shostakovich and Khachaturian, Also we find his Wagner recordings with the London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic, along with Scheherazade, symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Bach of course, and a number of other shorter works .Admirers of Stokowski should also get the Sony Classical 10-disk set of the Maestro's stereo recordings for that label, an incredible super-bargain set. If you wish to have all of Stokowski's stereo recordings, you must get the EMI Icon 10-CD set that contains all of his recordings for the label with the Houston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and a studio orchestra. Another important omission is Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 3, a work the conductor premiered in Philadelphia in 1936. His recording was made in 1975 with the National Philharmonic for the Desmar label; this is available as a single mid-price CD on Newton Classics. And how fortunate we are that so many of Stokowski's historic early 78 rpm recordings are available in fine transfers on various labels!.

Mozart surely is well represented among these releases. We have Murray Perahia's admired set of all of the concertos recorded over a period of six years beginning in 1977, with the pianist also conducting the English Chamber Orchestra. Robert Casadesus also excelled in Mozart and recorded eight of the concertos with George Szell on the podium, plus recording with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra the Concerto for Two Pianos (with his wife Gaby) and the Concerto for Three Pianos (also with Gaby and their son Jean). To fill the final disk, we have the Quintet K. 452 with Robert joined by members of the Philadellphia Woodwind Quintet.

The two Charles Munch/Boston Symphony collections are welcome, representing the famed conductor in some repertory generally not available elsewhere, a fine supplement to the countless Munch recordings already available on CD and DVD.

Leon Fleisher's Cleveland/Szell recordings of concertos of Brahms and Beethoven have always been in the catalog. Here they are sounding better than ever, in a set that also includes Mozart's Concerto No. 25, and Varitions on a Theme by Handel and Wltzes, Op. 39 of Brahms.

If you missed the big RCA William Kapell set (9 CDs) issued in 1999 (REVIEW), you can now enjoy all of those recordings and more. The new ressue contains all of the music in that set as well as RCA's 2-disk set of Kapell "Rediscoveries" issued about five years ago, so we have the live recording of Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3 recorded om 1953 when Kapell was on an Australian tour moths before his tragic death in a plane crash. Surely this is a very inexpensive way to acquite recordings by the legendary pianist.

This enormous series also contains super-budget price issues includes the following:

WAGNER RING CYCLE (Janowski)
JASCHA HEIFETZ PLAYS BEETHOVEN
BEETHOVEN SYMPHONIES (Leinsdorf)
MOZART CHAMBER MUSIC (Guarneri Quartet)
MAHLER SYMPHONIES (Walter)
TCHAIKOVSKY BALLETS (Slatkin)
DEBUSSY PIANO MUSIC (Crossley)
BEETHOVEN QUARTETS (Tokyo Quartet)
BEETHOVEN CONCERTOS/SONATAS (Serkin)
EMIL GILELS CONCERTO RECORDINGS
SCHUBERT CHAMBER MUSIC (Juilliard Quartet)
HAYDN SYMPHONIES (Bernstein)
MUSIC FOR RECORDER (Petri)
GLENN COULD PLAYS BACH
LA PETITE BANDE
VIOLIN CONCERTOS (Bernstein cond)
ANNER BYLSMA
JAMES LEVINE CONDUCS BRAHMS
JAMES LEVINE CONDUCTS MAHLER
RAVI SHANKAR
VIOLIN CONCERTOS (Stern)
CHOPIN (Rubinstein)
HAYDN SYMPHONIES (Szell)
PIANO CONCERTOS (Van Cliburn)
CELLO CONCERTOS (Yo-yo Ma)
GREAT SYMPHONIES (Kubelik)
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (Slatkin)
DVORAK SYMPHONIES (A. Davis)
MUSIC OF MOZART (Walter)
RICHARD STRAUSS ORCHESTRAL MUSIC (Reiner)
ISAAC STERN PLAYS MOZART
EVGENY KISSIN PLAYS CHOPIN
MUSIC OF SIBELIUS (C.Davis)
20TH CENTURY ORCHESTRAL MUSIC (Ormandy)
STRAVINSKY BALLETS (Stravinsky)
ARTHUR RUBINSTEIN PLAYS BRAHMS
JASCHA HEIFETZ PLAYS CONCERTOS
ERICH LEINSDORF CONDUCTS PROKOFIEV
MUSIC FOR FLUTE (Galway)
TCHAIKOVSKY SYMPHONIES (Abbado)
BERNSTEIN CONDUCTS BERNSTEIN
VLADIMIR HOROWITZ PLAYS SONATAS
HAYDN PIANO MUSIC :(Ax)
PERLMAN PLAYS BEETHOVEN
JASCHA HEIFETZ PLAYS SONATAS
BRUCKNER SYMPHONIES (Wand)
MUSIC OF SIBELIUS (Maazel)
BUDAPEST STRING QUARTET

Obviously this is a massive release containing hundreds of superlative recordings at very low price. When searching for a recording, check to see if it is included in any of these new issues. You won't get program notes but you surely will save money!

R.E.B. (June (2014)