The Schu-box

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slofstra
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The Schu-box

Post by slofstra » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:23 pm

Well, this weekend I finished listening through the entire Schu-box, all 35 CDs, over 40 hours of music.

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It looks like it's out of print, as amazon now re-directs you to third part resellers. In any case, this collection of DG recordings is very high quality throughout, and the endeavour of listening to the entire contents was quite rewarding. I began with a marathon listening session back in July, and it took until now to complete the exercise.
Here are some of the highlights:
Lieder. I wondered about listening to 10 solid CDs of lieder. That's quite a lot, but this proved to be a highlight of the experience. Incidentally, I took each major section of the box and proceeded sequentially through each section, but hopped from section to section, so that I wouldn't have to listen to many consecutive hours in one particular genre.
Most of the lieder are sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. The first three CDs, including op. 24,25,27,30,31,35,36,37,39 and 40 are superb. After that the results are a little more uneven, although the Dichterliebe, op. 48, Belsatzar, op. 57 are also excellent. The further we go into the 10 CDs, the fewer the high points. Many of the lieder are sung by Edith Mathis, and I just don't care for her voice very much. On the other hand, Julia Varady was much more to my liking.
Orchestral. What's disappointing is that Schumann's orchestral work and his concertoes are over in just 5 CDs. Everything in this collection is top flight, and Gardiner and the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique perform the symphonies. I found them almost all superb, except on the 3rd Symphony, the forces sounded a little light. The piano concerto performances are by Ashkenazy and the Piano Concerto in A minor is another highlight of the set. Szeryng on the Violin Concerto was also good, Harrell on the Cello Concerto, not quite as.
Works for Chorus and Orchestra. I guess I better not go into every single piece or I'll be here all night. However, this section was my favourite in the box, and contained works I may never have encountered otherwise. Das Paradies und die Peri covers most of 2 CDs, and was the best thing in the box, hands down. This performance featured Barbara Bonney, Gerald Finley, Cornelius Hauptmann and others under the baton of Gardiner and also with the Monteverdi Choir. But the voice I really liked and had not heard before was the mezzo- Bernarda Fink. I should at least also mention 'Szenen aus Goethes Faust', conducted by Benjamin Britten with a sterling cast. It's good, parts are even great, especially the Aldeburgh Festival Singers, but at time Fischer-Dieskau sings with too much bluster. (I wanted to think Peter Pears was the problem, but checking the libretto, no, it was Fischer-Dieskau, although Pears was not always great either.)
Chamber Music. 7 CDs of chamber music, all of it good, with the Hagen Quartett, and solo music from Gidon Kremer, Martha Argerich, Heinz Holliger, Alfred Brendel, but the highlight for me was the Piano Quartet in E flat major, op. 47, with the Beaux Arts Trio. But nothing suffered in this section, well, possibly the last CD with various short pieces for oboe, horn and so on.
Piano Music. I won't say I was disappointed with this section, the last 9 CDs in the box. But I have quite a lot of Schumann piano music already, most of it better than this. Not that there is anything wrong with these performances. However, I didn't really warm to Pollini's playing in general which amounted to about half of the piano music. Ashkenazy is much better, and in a listening exercise like this you see the contrast. He was much more forceful, controlled tempoes, majestic when needed, and with greater dynamics than Pollini. I like Pollini when the music needs to dance, which I don't think is a quality generally required for Schumann. But perhaps it's just my taste and mood, lately, they are both great pianists.
So, in general, if you don't already have a huge overlap of the material in this collection, it's well worth getting. Deutsche Grammophon have not put any padding or filler in this collection, it's all worth the time invested in listening. The piano music would be the weakest spot, but in a way, I prefer to get something I don't already have, so if they had included Kempff, I would have just had duplicates. And Gardiner's Schumann symphonies were also something I didn't already have. In that way, this set really couldn't be any better.

Lance
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by Lance » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:49 pm

Henry, a fine synopsis of the DGG/Schumann set. That was my first choice of the big sets dedicated to him; I also got the complete EMI set along with Brilliant Classics huge all-piano set, which I thought very special, too. The surprise upin the DGG solo piano department was Ashkenazy. I also have hs complete Decca/Schumann set I thought to be revelatory, sometimes even more so than Kempff! I am surprised to learn the DGG set may now be out of print. It is worth having but, for e, still has much duplcation, especially the lieder.
Lance G. Hill
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______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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slofstra
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by slofstra » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:03 am

Lance wrote:Henry, a fine synopsis of the DGG/Schumann set. That was my first choice of the big sets dedicated to him; I also got the complete EMI set along with Brilliant Classics huge all-piano set, which I thought very special, too. The surprise upin the DGG solo piano department was Ashkenazy. I also have hs complete Decca/Schumann set I thought to be revelatory, sometimes even more so than Kempff! I am surprised to learn the DGG set may now be out of print. It is worth having but, for e, still has much duplcation, especially the lieder.
Thanks Lance. I think there are still new sets in the retail channel, but usually when Amazon is out, it means they couldn't get any more. But who knows, DG could turn on the presses again, you never know. It's quite amusing to watch the prices when something goes out of print. One vendor is asking for $300, and I'm sure I paid maybe $60-70 or so.
Yes, I may not have emphasized enough how much I liked Ashkenazy's playing in this set.

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Re: The Schu-box

Post by Lance » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:49 am

I got mine for about $55/USD, quite a bargain, for sure, especially for that many discs on the famous Yellow Label. Just checked Amazon now ... A new edition for $126 and a used one for $250 ... doesn't make any sense. The old story: get 'em early-on if one can afford to do it (thank heaven for credit cards!).
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Ken
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by Ken » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:36 pm

Although I had already had a good 50 percent of these recordings in my collection prior to acquiring the box set upon its release, this box is (predictably, I know) a mainstay in my collection. I'm frequently pulling it down from my CD shelf. It's great to on the one hand have easy access to such a vast collection of Fischer-Dieskau Lieder, while some of the more obscure orchestral works receive a nice profiling. I'll chip in my own general disappointment with Pollini's piano interpretations, though; I can think off the top of my head of four Deutsche Grammophon artists who've put in consistently better recordings of Schumann's work. But I knew that going in to my purchase, so I see it as a change to expand my horizons! :)
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

slofstra
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by slofstra » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:46 pm

Ken wrote:Although I had already had a good 50 percent of these recordings in my collection prior to acquiring the box set upon its release, this box is (predictably, I know) a mainstay in my collection. I'm frequently pulling it down from my CD shelf. It's great to on the one hand have easy access to such a vast collection of Fischer-Dieskau Lieder, while some of the more obscure orchestral works receive a nice profiling. I'll chip in my own general disappointment with Pollini's piano interpretations, though; I can think off the top of my head of four Deutsche Grammophon artists who've put in consistently better recordings of Schumann's work. But I knew that going in to my purchase, so I see it as a change to expand my horizons! :)
Ken, nice to hear from you, and glad to see you're still listening to Schumann. Is he still your favourite? And in noting your location in your byline, I wonder if you still get back to Bytown once in a while.

barney
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by barney » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:02 pm

You've encouraged me to revisit this box. It was on the agenda already, but slipping down steadily. I only dipped into it before.

slofstra
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by slofstra » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:54 pm

barney wrote:You've encouraged me to revisit this box. It was on the agenda already, but slipping down steadily. I only dipped into it before.
If you are looking for lyrics for the lieder, try this site.
http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/s/schumann.html

The following might also be useful. (Useful things turn up in the most unusual places.)
http://www.northshorechoral.org/seasons ... 6-2006.pdf

barney
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by barney » Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:49 pm

slofstra wrote:
barney wrote:You've encouraged me to revisit this box. It was on the agenda already, but slipping down steadily. I only dipped into it before.
If you are looking for lyrics for the lieder, try this site.
http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/s/schumann.html

The following might also be useful. (Useful things turn up in the most unusual places.)
http://www.northshorechoral.org/seasons ... 6-2006.pdf
Thank you. A most useful tip.

Ken
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by Ken » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:01 am

slofstra wrote:
Ken wrote:Although I had already had a good 50 percent of these recordings in my collection prior to acquiring the box set upon its release, this box is (predictably, I know) a mainstay in my collection. I'm frequently pulling it down from my CD shelf. It's great to on the one hand have easy access to such a vast collection of Fischer-Dieskau Lieder, while some of the more obscure orchestral works receive a nice profiling. I'll chip in my own general disappointment with Pollini's piano interpretations, though; I can think off the top of my head of four Deutsche Grammophon artists who've put in consistently better recordings of Schumann's work. But I knew that going in to my purchase, so I see it as a change to expand my horizons! :)
Ken, nice to hear from you, and glad to see you're still listening to Schumann. Is he still your favourite? And in noting your location in your byline, I wonder if you still get back to Bytown once in a while.
Of course! The Schumann 200th anniversary here in Düsseldorf was quite the experience; his entire oevre was performed over the course of the entire year and the biennial Schumannfest at the Tonhalle featured some really great artists. There are still wonderful and fresh interpretations of his work pouring out, so there's no reason to look back! :)

I was over in Ottawa with my fiancee for a few days last September. Her words after visiting a North American city for the first time: "it's really beautiful, but everything is so big!"
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

sans maitre
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by sans maitre » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:57 pm

I have debated this, and will pass, owning a good chunk of the lieder and piano music (particularly if we are of like mind in preferring Kempff)


these box sets are much easier to manage on the Amazon Cloud than keeping track of dozens of CDs BTW

bigshot
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by bigshot » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:26 pm

I'm enjoying the Jorg Demus complete piano box on Membran. Wonderful performances, stuff I've never heard before and $15 for 13 disks. I can't complain!

slofstra
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by slofstra » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:36 pm

sans maitre wrote:I have debated this, and will pass, owning a good chunk of the lieder and piano music (particularly if we are of like mind in preferring Kempff)


these box sets are much easier to manage on the Amazon Cloud than keeping track of dozens of CDs BTW
You might want to consider the works for chorus and orchestra under separate cover, although I don't know what is available.

When you say, "Amazon Cloud", are these MP3 recordings purchased from Amazon? (Not available here in Canada, unfortunately.) Or are you buying elsewhere and using the Amazon cloud for storage only?

sans maitre
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by sans maitre » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:41 am

slofstra wrote:
sans maitre wrote:I have debated this, and will pass, owning a good chunk of the lieder and piano music (particularly if we are of like mind in preferring Kempff)


these box sets are much easier to manage on the Amazon Cloud than keeping track of dozens of CDs BTW
You might want to consider the works for chorus and orchestra under separate cover, although I don't know what is available.

When you say, "Amazon Cloud", are these MP3 recordings purchased from Amazon? (Not available here in Canada, unfortunately.) Or are you buying elsewhere and using the Amazon cloud for storage only?
yes when you purchase MP3s from Amazon they are available either for direct download or can be played through the cloud player (which is convenient as you can get the app on multiple devices and not have to store files)

and as I posted today, Amazon now has added MP3s of all the CDs you have purchased (if they are available) to your cloud account

did not know that you Canadians were deprived like that

slofstra
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by slofstra » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:29 pm

sans maitre wrote:
slofstra wrote:
sans maitre wrote:I have debated this, and will pass, owning a good chunk of the lieder and piano music (particularly if we are of like mind in preferring Kempff)


these box sets are much easier to manage on the Amazon Cloud than keeping track of dozens of CDs BTW
You might want to consider the works for chorus and orchestra under separate cover, although I don't know what is available.

When you say, "Amazon Cloud", are these MP3 recordings purchased from Amazon? (Not available here in Canada, unfortunately.) Or are you buying elsewhere and using the Amazon cloud for storage only?
yes when you purchase MP3s from Amazon they are available either for direct download or can be played through the cloud player (which is convenient as you can get the app on multiple devices and not have to store files)

and as I posted today, Amazon now has added MP3s of all the CDs you have purchased (if they are available) to your cloud account

did not know that you Canadians were deprived like that
LOL. I'm not sure you can say we are deprived! However, the reality is that we are a market of only 30 million compared to 10x that in the USA. So we regularly get new services and products only some time after they are released in the USA. There are companies that take care to do simultaneous Canadian and US roll-outs, and believe me, Canadian consumers' senses are finely tuned to which companies do and don't treat us right. Amazon is considered a laggard in that regard, and you'll see more Sony e-readers here than Kindles as a result. And last I checked we still couldn't purchase Amazon MP3s. We also don't have Cherry Coke, a decent Netflix service, or Criterion Collection streaming on Hulu Plus. (Yes, Criterion, Canadians are upset with you for this.)
On the other hand, we have many good things the US does not have, like outdoor swimming in fresh, clean water, so it all balances out. Okay, so we can only swim outdoors for 2 weeks of the year, but all the same ....

sans maitre
Posts: 211
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:33 pm

Re: The Schu-box

Post by sans maitre » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:31 pm

slofstra wrote:
sans maitre wrote:
slofstra wrote:
sans maitre wrote:I have debated this, and will pass, owning a good chunk of the lieder and piano music (particularly if we are of like mind in preferring Kempff)


these box sets are much easier to manage on the Amazon Cloud than keeping track of dozens of CDs BTW
You might want to consider the works for chorus and orchestra under separate cover, although I don't know what is available.

When you say, "Amazon Cloud", are these MP3 recordings purchased from Amazon? (Not available here in Canada, unfortunately.) Or are you buying elsewhere and using the Amazon cloud for storage only?


yes when you purchase MP3s from Amazon they are available either for direct download or can be played through the cloud player (which is convenient as you can get the app on multiple devices and not have to store files)

and as I posted today, Amazon now has added MP3s of all the CDs you have purchased (if they are available) to your cloud account

did not know that you Canadians were deprived like that
LOL. I'm not sure you can say we are deprived! However, the reality is that we are a market of only 30 million compared to 10x that in the USA. So we regularly get new services and products only some time after they are released in the USA. There are companies that take care to do simultaneous Canadian and US roll-outs, and believe me, Canadian consumers' senses are finely tuned to which companies do and don't treat us right. Amazon is considered a laggard in that regard, and you'll see more Sony e-readers here than Kindles as a result. And last I checked we still couldn't purchase Amazon MP3s. We also don't have Cherry Coke, a decent Netflix service, or Criterion Collection streaming on Hulu Plus. (Yes, Criterion, Canadians are upset with you for this.)
On the other hand, we have many good things the US does not have, like outdoor swimming in fresh, clean water, so it all balances out. Okay, so we can only swim outdoors for 2 weeks of the year, but all the same ....
Don't forget your illegal unpasteurized cheese

slofstra
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by slofstra » Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:32 pm

sans maitre wrote:
slofstra wrote:
sans maitre wrote:
slofstra wrote:
sans maitre wrote:I have debated this, and will pass, owning a good chunk of the lieder and piano music (particularly if we are of like mind in preferring Kempff)


these box sets are much easier to manage on the Amazon Cloud than keeping track of dozens of CDs BTW
You might want to consider the works for chorus and orchestra under separate cover, although I don't know what is available.

When you say, "Amazon Cloud", are these MP3 recordings purchased from Amazon? (Not available here in Canada, unfortunately.) Or are you buying elsewhere and using the Amazon cloud for storage only?


yes when you purchase MP3s from Amazon they are available either for direct download or can be played through the cloud player (which is convenient as you can get the app on multiple devices and not have to store files)

and as I posted today, Amazon now has added MP3s of all the CDs you have purchased (if they are available) to your cloud account

did not know that you Canadians were deprived like that
LOL. I'm not sure you can say we are deprived! However, the reality is that we are a market of only 30 million compared to 10x that in the USA. So we regularly get new services and products only some time after they are released in the USA. There are companies that take care to do simultaneous Canadian and US roll-outs, and believe me, Canadian consumers' senses are finely tuned to which companies do and don't treat us right. Amazon is considered a laggard in that regard, and you'll see more Sony e-readers here than Kindles as a result. And last I checked we still couldn't purchase Amazon MP3s. We also don't have Cherry Coke, a decent Netflix service, or Criterion Collection streaming on Hulu Plus. (Yes, Criterion, Canadians are upset with you for this.)
On the other hand, we have many good things the US does not have, like outdoor swimming in fresh, clean water, so it all balances out. Okay, so we can only swim outdoors for 2 weeks of the year, but all the same ....
Don't forget your illegal unpasteurized cheese
Oooh, not sure where that came from, but we live in Mennonite country where they are allowed to make cheese like that, or at least the last time I checked. With everything we now know about the human microbe I'm not sure that is a bad thing either.

sans maitre
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by sans maitre » Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:42 pm

went into a cheese shop in Toronto about a decade ago and some shifty Canuck tried to get us to sample his illegal unpasteurized cheese

slofstra
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Re: The Schu-box

Post by slofstra » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:15 pm

sans maitre wrote:went into a cheese shop in Toronto about a decade ago and some shifty Canuck tried to get us to sample his illegal unpasteurized cheese
Perhaps you mistakenly uttered the secret cheese code. They don't bring out the illegal stuff for just anybody, you know. Have you ever had head cheese? Yuck.

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