NYP 175 Year Anniversary Box from Sony

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Lance
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NYP 175 Year Anniversary Box from Sony

Post by Lance » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:09 pm

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Celebrating the 175th Annivesary of the New York Philharmonic,
America's First Orchestra


Well, comes this big new 65-CD boxed set and book celebrating the great NYP over the years. This is what the advertising blurb says on the box on a paste-on:

*65 CDs of famous New York Philharmonic performances conducted by many of its most renowned music director
*20 recordings for the first time on CD, 15 recordings as first authorized releases, remastered from the original discs and tapes using 24 bit/192kHz technology
*Symphonic and orchestral masterpieces, selected concerto and vocal performances
*An all-embracing survey of the orchestra's recorded achievements, spanning over 75 years of recording history
*Booklet with introduction by Barbara Haws, Archivist and Historian of the New York Philharmonic, photos and facsimiles from the Leon Levy Digital Archives, plus full discographical notes

All sounds good. My initial thought was that this box would contain live concert performances and radio recordings over the years. Instead, the set is culled from predominantly previously-issued recordings by Columbia/Sony and RCA. Disappointing when that could have been done thus enlarging the legacy of this great American orchestra with live and radio recordings from their archives. [Me, I'm always looking for collaborations.]

My interest in the set in the first place, was because of conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos, whose recordings appear on seven [7] of the 65 discs. I would have wished for more of this conductor. But, as you can see from the print above, many conductors appear hereon, and some have never been issued on CD before. However, the preponderance of the recordings have been long available in either LP or CD incarnations, and most serious collectors will already have much of this material on LP or CD, especially in the case of Leonard Bernstein, who is very well represented in this set. If you own the two large LP-sized boxes recently issued of all his recordings, it is all duplication of material.

The book with Barbara Haws' introduction, is well put together with vital information on matrix, 78-and LP numbers as well as dates of recordings and venues as well. What is not shown, however, are the CD catalogue numbers for those selections that have already appeared on CD. So, for the avid collector, this set may not prove to be of much value except for maybe 20-25% of the total contents, even given the reasonable price for 65 CDs and the accompanying CD-sized hard-cover book.

Those recordings that receive their "first authorized release," have been issued on other labels usually copied from 78s or LPs. Some of us already have much of this material though it is better sonically to go back to the original tapes for remastering.

Anybody else have similar thoughts on this set, or have you acquired it yourself? Are you disappointed in the contents?
Lance G. Hill
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maestrob
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Re: NYP 175 Year Anniversary Box from Sony

Post by maestrob » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:58 am

I'm disappointed that this box contains much previously released material (esp. Bernstein, which I have already), so I'll not be acquiring this set. If the MET could issue a set of broadcast material, why couldn't the NY Philharmonic do so as well? :roll:

Lance
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Re: NYP 175 Year Anniversary Box from Sony

Post by Lance » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:52 pm

Totally agree, Brian. And most of those artists are now deceased so it shouldn't be a matter of royalties except, perhaps in the case of Bernstein's family, or Mehta. I must say, however, the Mitropoulos transfers are outstanding. Nickson Records issued some of this material transferred from the original 78s or early LPs. Sony has done well for Mitropoulos here and actually could have done more for him since, as you noted, the Bernstein material has been issued and reissued. Perhaps the NYP is planning an alternate box comprised of live and radio performances previously unissued on CD. This boxed set, however, may not foster such a notion because of so much material previously released.
maestrob wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:58 am
I'm disappointed that this box contains much previously released material (esp. Bernstein, which I have already), so I'll not be acquiring this set. If the MET could issue a set of broadcast material, why couldn't the NY Philharmonic do so as well? :roll:
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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John F
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Re: NYP 175 Year Anniversary Box from Sony

Post by John F » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:06 am

Apropos, during the 1940s Columbia made its classical recordings on 16" LP acetate masters, which were then dubbed into the 78 rpm format and later their early LPs. I've read that this was because Columbia anticipated the coming of LP, though it hadn't happened yet, and wanted to be prepared for it. The unfortunate consequence is that the added generation of mastering resulted in turgid sound. Thanks to improvements in playback technology, later "historic" reissues sound much better, though still not really very high fidelity.

I don't think much of the selections, which are very skimpy for Bruno Walter and omit some outstanding records by Rodzinski, such as the Bizet Symphony in C. Granted that Leonard Bernstein was the orchestra's biggest box office attraction after Toscanini, his representation is out of proportion, and some of the selections are odd - Nielsen 4 instead of the great Nielsen 5, for example.
John Francis

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