Beethoven – The Nine Complete Beethoven Symphonies

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Here’s my other Beethoven box set on vinyl. I had to do this one because it was recorded on 35mm film, if nothing else. Actually, I think it’s a best of Beethoven because it is his best nine symphonies in my opinion.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail, because I don’t feel the need to drill down so deep into classical music as others do. To me, the historical details and trying to break a sweat figuring out what feelings and thoughts are being conveyed in classical music is a waste of energy in my opinion frankly, so forgive the lack of uber-detailed sophistication. In my opinion though it plain is not required to enjoy classical music. The only thing required in my book is an open mind and willingness to get out of the way and just let the music play.

So here is just a very short evaluation of this box set.
This box set is performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, conducted by William Steinberg. This box set consist of 8, yes 8 records! This will keep you busy for almost an entire day if played both sides every one of them! To give you an idea, here is the total time: (excuse me while I get my calculator, yes that’s what it will take: 6 hours!

I bought this used of course and the condition of the box was a little less than I would have liked, but it’s fine. The condition of the records inside are pristine as is the case with most classical records found used. People who own classical records take good care of them.
This is on the ABC Records Command Classics label and was recorded on 35mm film so it is AAA. There seems to be a very subtle lack of detail, but not enough to take any points off. It could also be something with the cartridge I used or someplace in the analog front end. (I played it on a legacy Pioneer turntable which is just as good as any four figure modern table sonically, but my cartridge is an Audio Technica 120EB, which is not a bad cartridge, but I run through a vintage Marantz 2238b which of course is built around the phono stage, but I’m thinking perhaps a separate stage would be of some benefit, just thinking. The depth and dimension is fantastic and the backgrounds are pitch black, so I could be just guessing about the details.

Anyway, here’s a track for sample:  (Movement 1 of 4) Beethoven Symphony No. 1
https://youtu.be/yl78W5GYfh0?list=PL9A0911B01D88C1D4

SOUND:5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars
MUSIC:5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

Time Life Records Great Men of Music – Beethoven and his Music

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Artist:Ludwig Van Beethoven (various orchestras in the case of this record set).
Genre:Classical
Title:Time Life Records – Great Men of Music – Beethoven and his Music
Released:1976
Label:Time Life Records (RCA Records)
Format:Vinyl
Musicians:Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Producer:John E Quinn
Mastering Engineer:Edward Rich

A very brief history: Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in 1770 and grew up in a rather dysfunctional household, not unlike what we see today. His father was a stern drunk and his mother was gentle, but depressed. Ludwig got less love than he needed and grew up in anxious poverty. As a boy though, his musical talents shown early. His father sniffed a possible profit and ruthlessly set out to exploit his asset. Continue reading

The Mozart Collection with John Rutter & the City of London Sinfonia

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I’ve written album reviews before, but never for classical albums. Classical (and Jazz) albums are the most difficult, at least to me, but I like classical music as well and don’t want to leave it out, so I’ll do my best.

This was one of the first CDs I purchased when I got into CDs back in the late 80s. (In fact, classical music was the first genre put to CD).

Produced by Chip Davis (yes, of Mannheim Steamroller fame). Orchestra: The City of London Sinfonia Conductor: John Rutter Engineer: Tony Faulkner

Label: American Grammaphone Records

Recorded in June 1985 at Henry Wood Hall, London.

The City of London Sinfonia was created in 1971 by English conductor Richard Hickox. The members were selected by invitation from among the most outstanding of the younger generation of London musicians, many of them already following distinguished careers as soloists or chamber instrumentalists.

American Grammaphone is a rather good label and the vinyl pressings are fantastic. This is CD however and as mid 80s, CDs were just starting to hit the market then, well, most aren’t so good in my opinion (this was also around the first salvos of the loudness wars). This particular one is not terrible, it’s OK at best. I feel it is not dynamic enough, especially for classical music. It lacks some depth which is essential to good classical music in my opinion.  In my opinion, this CD just doesn’t do justice. The musicianship and conductor are great, but the format just sounds somewhat lifeless in this case. It’s OK in a pinch, but I’m sure there are even better sounding Mozart CDs out there and then of course there is vinyl which is as good as it gets.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a unique character. From the notes of the CD booklet: He used to play billiards a lot, it was the kinetic movement of the red and white balls that provided an outlet for his intense creative energy. He played the game at home with other musicians, composers and friends, he also played alone. He was quite the accomplished player at the game too. In fact, it is acknowledged that when he played, he usually won. He even composed some works while playing billiards.

The tracks on this CD are the popular and favorite ones of most folks familiar with Mozart.

Overture, Le Nozzle Di Figaro, no, it has nothing to do with nozzles..It is more popularly known as The Marriage of Figaro.
Second Movement from Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major
Finale from Concerto in C major for flute and harp.
First Movement from Symphony No. 40 in G minor
Second Movement from Clarinet Concerto in A major (no, not “a major what”, “A” Major) You kids….
Third Movement from Symphony No. 39 in E flat
Finale from String Divertimento in D major
Finale from Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major
Overture, Die Zauberflote…no, nobody dies…it is more popularly known as The Magic Flute.

I like Mozart (number one among my favorite classical composers). I always enjoy his music, it relaxes me and puts me in a better mood or frame of mind for some reason.

Music = 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

Sound = 5_Star_Rating_System_2_and_a_half_stars