Warner issues complete Barbirolli Edition: 109 CDs

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Lance
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Warner issues complete Barbirolli Edition: 109 CDs

Post by Lance » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:17 pm

Me, probably like you, already have developed an impressive collection of Barbirolli's recordings, including a recent boxed set from Sony Classical of his work with the New York Philharmonic. Prices vary a little, but on average, are about $2/disc-USA. The set is worthy of consideration especially for the wide array of repertoire and soloists he collaborated with on discs from an early period. Here's the Presto blurb:
"Spanning over 40 years, these recordings trace the career of Sir John Barbirolli, a conductor of proverbial warmth and generosity, a transformative force in British music and a legendary figure who collaborated with the greatest artists of his time. Shortly before his death in 1970 he completed a Sibelius cycle with the Hallé Orchestra, whose fortunes he had steered for nearly three decades, and among other composers closely linked with his name are Elgar, Delius, Brahms, Mozart, Mahler and Puccini. The wide-ranging contents of this landmark 109-disc set, which comprises all the recordings Barbirolli made for HMV and PYE, include previously unpublished items and documentary material. Everything has been remastered in high definition, LP-era recordings from the original tapes, and 78-era recordings from the best available sources.

29th July 2020 marks the 50th anniversary Sir John Barbirolli’s passing. He died at the age of 70, having been born in 1899 in London to parents of Italian and French origin.

A great British conductor notable for the warmth and generosity of his interpretations, and for his attention to detail, Barbirolli is especially closely associated with Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra, of which he became Permanent Conductor in 1943. He transformed the Hallé’s fortunes and remained closely associated with the orchestra for 27 years.

Barbirolli began his career as a cellist, going on to establish himself as a conductor in the UK in his twenties. He received his first contract with the New York Philharmonic as early as 1927 and went on to become Arturo Toscanini’s successor at the orchestra, remaining with it for seven seasons (1936-1943).

This 109-disc Warner Classics set comprises all the recordings Barbirolli made for the HMV and PYE labels. Spanning the years between 1928 and 1970, they were made with a variety of orchestras, including the Hallé, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia/New Philharmonia, Berliner Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic.

All the recordings originally released on LP have been remastered in high definition from the original tapes. Material from the 78 rpm era has been remastered – also in high definition – from the best sources available.

The set reflects the great breadth of Barbirolli’s repertoire and interests. Especially prominent in the collection are the composers most closely associated with his name: Elgar, Delius and other British composers of Barbirolli’s time; Brahms, Mozart, Mahler and Sibelius. The collection also features such figures as Beethoven, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák and Grieg, and, perhaps less expectedly, music from the Baroque era, Latin America and traditional British songs.

Soloists in orchestral music and songs/choral works include: Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin, Mischa Elman, Guilhermina Suggia, Gregor Piatigorsky, Jacqueline du Pré (notably in the famous 1965 recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto), Evelyn Rothwell (the oboist who was Barbirolli’s wife), Artur Rubinstein, Alfred Cortot, Edwin Fischer, Artur Schnabel, Wilhelm Backhaus, Daniel Barenboim, Dame Janet Baker, Montserrat Caballé and Jon Vickers.

Operatic recordings include: excerpts from Turandot, recorded live at Covent Garden in 1937, with Eva Turner and Giovanni Martinelli, and complete recordings of Madama Butterfly (Rome, 1966) with Renata Scotto and Carlo Bergonzi, Otello (London, 1968) with James McCracken, Gwyneth Jones & Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Dido and Aeneas (London, 1965) with Victoria de los Angeles and Peter Glossop. Also featured are arias recorded by some of the greatest singers of the 1920s and 30s, including Frida Leider, Beniamino Gigli and Fyodor Chaliapin.

The set, assembled with the help of the Barbirolli Society, also includes previously unpublished items and a CD of rehearsal material and interviews (marked with * in the index below) - some of which have not been previously released.

As a bonus the box also includes an audio documentary presented by Jon Tolansky, John Barbirolli – A Memoir, which features conversations with Barbirolli and recollections by distinguished figures.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
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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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barney
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Re: Warner issues complete Barbirolli Edition: 109 CDs

Post by barney » Wed Jun 24, 2020 8:36 am

It looks like a great set, and I love Barbirolli. But I don't think I'll get it because I can't really justify the $300+ it would cost in Australian dollars when I have so many CDs to which I have yet to listen. Given the size of your collection, is that a problem for you, Lance? Do you have CDs as yet unheard?

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Re: Warner issues complete Barbirolli Edition: 109 CDs

Post by maestrob » Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:07 am

Lance, I agree with Barney. That looks like a great set, and I too have collected many of his recordings over the years. Very few duds: a live Mahler VII on BBC, and I'm not convinced by his Otello, but the Butterfly with Scotto is ravishing, and his Vaughan-Williams II and V are benchmarks for me, along with a Mahler disc of songs with Dame Janet, as well as the finest recording of Elgar's Sea Pictures. Also a stunning Nielsen IV with the Halle Orchestra.

Funny thing is that, over the past few years as I've bought many of these mega-box sets, and quite a few (now selling for astronomical prices if they can be found at all!) are still sitting on my shelves unopened, as I give priority in my listening to new issues and some old favorites. I've opened boxes by Richter, Horowitz, Perahia, Brendel, Argerich, Oistrakh, De Larrocha and, of course, Heifetz, but Bernstein, Szell, Wand and Bruno Walter (for example) remain untouched. I know I'll get to them eventually, but there are only so many hours in the day!

I've also got about 100 new singles and lots of smaller boxes to get to!

Still, madly enough, I'm considering buying this set, if I can find a spot in my cabinets for it. My heirs will profit from the acquisition, surely!

How about it, Lance, are you able to keep up with your new purchases, or do you too have a stockpile of unopened treasures? :D

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Re: Warner issues complete Barbirolli Edition: 109 CDs

Post by Lance » Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:18 am

To Barney and Maestrob/Brian:

Well, first, most know that I have a huge personal interest in performing artists/singers/other instrumentalists/conductors ... then comes repertoire, largely from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods (and some from other periods, of course). In many cases, I will acquire a CD for one or more tracks only. The force behind these choices is for the preparation of my radio broadcasts, but not just for that reason.

As collectors, some of us have what seems to be natural affinity for the great artists of the past. By the present time, record companies have largely given us complete editions (those mega-boxes!) - Toscanini, Furtwangler, Horowitz, Rubinstein, Backhaus, Serkin, Fricsay, Szell, Walter. Perahia, Cziffra, Arrau, Kempff, and what seems to be too long a list to illustrate here, but you get the point. So, largely, the great historical artists is more or less complete these days. Within those mega-boxes are some recordings we will probably never hear because the repertoire may be of lesser or no interest but I don't get upset over that. (This partially answers your question.) While I love opera, there has only been a few cases where we see mega-boxed sets of that repertoire, and while I have copies of all the major (and many minor) operas, I'm not seeking complete sets of that nature. If it is song recitals, I'm driven to acquire those boxes of their complete recordings (usually not mega-boxes anyway). As much as I love Birgit Nilsson, her mega-boxes I did not acquire. I already have so much of her work, I mention as an example.

So now, as said, most of the great historical artists megas are out of the way. That leaves current-day top artists in all categories, for me, which is pianists, singers/recitals, and a wide array of instrumentalists (violinist, cellists, and so many others).

Collecting recordings can be an addiction, but it is certainly better than becoming an alcoholic or gambler or other areas of life that can be addictive. No matter what our age, many think they are going to live forever, but we really know we aren't. In the meantime, it gives one (me) a great joy to know that I have - at my fingertips - an impressive collection I have carefully built over decades - to hear at any time of day or night. Indeed, I have many recordings (like you), that I have yet to hear (the Szell edition, and it's been a long time for Toscanini, and many others). But it makes me happy to be able to have these recordings (and books on music) and I am blessed for being able to have them - and to enjoy them. And yes, I'm addicted to great music and the music makers. But, simultaneously, I draw the line. For example, I said I would never acquire another complete set of Beethoven symphonies; I "slid" on that when the Steinberg/Pittsburgh edition came out on DGG. But, now, THAT IS where I am drawing the line.

Pianists take top priority with me: the Hamelins, Houghs, Viners, and many other current-day great performing artists but certainly not every one. There also is the matter of $$$ and how much you really want something and if it is wise to make certain investments. No, I've never won the lottery, and money does not grow on trees. So one has to be careful that this wonderful "musical addiction" become ridiculous. I continue to work to be able to do what I prefer to do, and still maintain a happily family life and home. My friends, however, think I am completely "nuts" to amass what I have to attain my so-called "happiness."

So - to answer the question, with only 24 hours in a day, we cannot spend the largest percentage of that just listening to music every day. We grab as much time as we can and make the best of it. And there's always another thought: there are people starving in the world and I could be helping them (I do that to some degree but should do more). As I say, we have been blessed.

To answer the original question: YES, there are recordings waiting for me to hear, and I KNOW that some of these things quickly go out of print. Given another 150 years of life, I may be able to attain the goal of hearing much of what was unheard at this point.

This went on much longer than I anticipated. I could have given an immediate YES or NO answer to the question, but I have rather enjoyed sitting here at just after 2:00 in the morning giving a response you might enjoy reading and justifying your own reasons for acquiring the music you love. Yes?

And Barney, why is the Warner Barbirolli edition $300/Australian? That seems unusually high. Presto has it for, I think, $172.25/USD+post and no tax for 109 CDs, less than $2/disc. Amazon/USA is around $195, no shipping/Prime, but 8% tax, still a bargain price. And if you are enterprising, you can gather all your Barbirolli EMI/Pye recordings and sell them on Amazon or eBay as your time permits thus recovering some of your investment. This is something I may want to look into myself.

I may end up deleting this post after you've read it.
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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Re: Warner issues complete Barbirolli Edition: 109 CDs

Post by Mookalafalas » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:02 am

Why delete the post? I is a manifesto of sorts. I agree completely!
I'm very attracted to this set, and yet have the same problem as others: too much. Two weeks ago I received a package from Amazon UK with the 170CD Brilliant Mozart, and the new Alban Berg Quartet box and the St. Martin's in the Fields box. Almost exactly 300 CDs, and I have over 100 other boxes. I'm going to hold off on Barbirolli. If the price comes way down, I'll get it (although it's not really about price, the box, like all of them, is eminently reasonable).
I remember 35 years ago, a new CD cost about $15, and I was making $3.35 an hour, before taxes. If we adjust for inflation (250%, cumulatively), that means one CD was about $42, plus tax, in 2020 dollars (of course LPs were half that). Now we can often get a box of 50 or 100 CDs for less than $2 each in today's money. ($.80 in 1985 money!). It really is like manna from heaven. Even so, I really need to spend 20 or 30 years just listening to what I have. If I can still hear then, I should consider getting more :lol:
Call me Al (cuz its my name)

maestrob
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Re: Warner issues complete Barbirolli Edition: 109 CDs

Post by maestrob » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:59 am

Goodness, Lance!

I think you speak for all of us! Music is a treasure stored on CDs, and these wonderful mega-sets are sheer joy to all of us. I take such pride in my collection, especially given that I live in a Manhattan apartment with limited space! Unlike all you good people with houses to fill, I must select carefully what I buy, yet I'm still considering the Barbirolli because of his consistently high quality, especially in later years. Amazon has it now pre-priced at $179, which is mighty tempting, for shipment in August. Owning musical history and having it at my fingertips is what it's all about for me, not so much investment, because (hopefully) I'll not be selling the collection: I'll leave that to my heirs!

As for online music, I must give thanks to those who post so many wonderful links to online music here! Those listening experiences do not only add to my continuing musical education, but they help in my buying decisions. Also, thanks are due to amazon Prime, which, since I can now listen before I buy, has improved the quality of the few purchases I make. For only $5/mo., I find amazon Prime to be a great resource to research new releases as well as recordings that are discussed here.

That said, I must register my dis-satisfaction with amazon's pricing on single CDs here in the USA. They are trying out prices that are quite a bit more (sometimes twice as much!) than the competition. Amazon may think it's a monopoly, but not quite yet, and I think it's a dangerous trend and not entirely justified.

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Re: Warner issues complete Barbirolli Edition: 109 CDs

Post by barney » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:43 pm

Well, that's a genuine cri de coeur, Lance, and one that clearly many of us identify with.

Why $A300? The Australian dollar is now worth about 68 US cents, so $US200 is $A300, or thereabouts. Even bigger problem: lack of space. I have a 9-foot long desk, and there is barely room to lay down a pad when I am doing an interview because it is crammed with books and CDs that have no room on shelves or tables or various nooks. My wife, a writer, has also comandeered corners of the house for her notes etc. And the children, all gone now, have left many mementos of themselves in former bedrooms and under the house. I, of course, think everyone else's stuff should be moved out. :)

You and I are obviously both completists at heart. I want EVERY work Beethoven wrote, and Mozart and Bach and Schubert and Liszt, and I can do that through these megasets. The last 3 I acquired, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven are astoundingly good - many works duplicated with historic performances (the fifth symphony appears 7 times), excellent booklets, essays, texts, notes. They are just a delight, and gradually I work through them. I don't think I could count the number of sets I have with more than 50 CDs, most acquired in the past decade as they started emerging.

Besides the sets you mention, many of which I have, I have some big opera sets: everything Callas did live in one (about 90 CDs), and in the studio in another, a 100-CD collection of historic performances, complete Pavarotti, complete Verdi etc. Again, very rich pleasures.

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Re: Warner issues complete Barbirolli Edition: 109 CDs

Post by barney » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:47 pm

Brian, you mention investment. By the time we are shuffling off this mortal coil, I think hardly anyone will be collecting CDs. Streaming will be so easy and such good quality, and takes up no space. I have friends in their 30s with no CDs, just Spotify. Mind you, they are not dedicated to music as we are, and are happy to use Spotify's playlists. And threads here have discussed much higher quality download systems.
I tell my children that some sets might be worth a lot, but I wouldn't be surprised if they all go to the tip when I go into the ground. The books are possibly an even bigger problem; they certainly take more space. I put all my LPs on ebay last year, to clear up some room. Not even a nibble.

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Re: Warner issues complete Barbirolli Edition: 109 CDs

Post by Lance » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:45 pm

Barney, you make some very good points. No doubt, like LPs, CDs will eventually be a thing of the past. I never thought the LP would leave us, and like you, I have many, many, many. However, until I join you "in the ground," I will enjoy everything disc as much as I can. I can go to my grave knowing that I took in huge amounts of music that many will never have an opportunity to hear. So, when we both "get there," you and I and other CMGers will have much to discuss about music. Incidentally, CALLAS, was the one singer that, like you, I have everything! Am sorry the Australian dollar is where it is for your dear folks there. Let's hope it improves. At some point, even the USA might/will be broke given all that is going on.
barney wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:43 pm
Well, that's a genuine cri de coeur, Lance, and one that clearly many of us identify with.

Why $A300? The Australian dollar is now worth about 68 US cents, so $US200 is $A300, or thereabouts. Even bigger problem: lack of space. I have a 9-foot long desk, and there is barely room to lay down a pad when I am doing an interview because it is crammed with books and CDs that have no room on shelves or tables or various nooks. My wife, a writer, has also comandeered corners of the house for her notes etc. And the children, all gone now, have left many mementos of themselves in former bedrooms and under the house. I, of course, think everyone else's stuff should be moved out. :)

You and I are obviously both completists at heart. I want EVERY work Beethoven wrote, and Mozart and Bach and Schubert and Liszt, and I can do that through these megasets. The last 3 I acquired, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven are astoundingly good - many works duplicated with historic performances (the fifth symphony appears 7 times), excellent booklets, essays, texts, notes. They are just a delight, and gradually I work through them. I don't think I could count the number of sets I have with more than 50 CDs, most acquired in the past decade as they started emerging.

Besides the sets you mention, many of which I have, I have some big opera sets: everything Callas did live in one (about 90 CDs), and in the studio in another, a 100-CD collection of historic performances, complete Pavarotti, complete Verdi etc. Again, very rich pleasures.
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 &*$#@+#]

Image

maestrob
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Re: Warner issues complete Barbirolli Edition: 109 CDs

Post by maestrob » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:13 pm

barney wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:47 pm
Brian, you mention investment. By the time we are shuffling off this mortal coil, I think hardly anyone will be collecting CDs. Streaming will be so easy and such good quality, and takes up no space. I have friends in their 30s with no CDs, just Spotify. Mind you, they are not dedicated to music as we are, and are happy to use Spotify's playlists. And threads here have discussed much higher quality download systems.
I tell my children that some sets might be worth a lot, but I wouldn't be surprised if they all go to the tip when I go into the ground. The books are possibly an even bigger problem; they certainly take more space. I put all my LPs on ebay last year, to clear up some room. Not even a nibble.
Barney, you make some interesting points about the future of our beloved silver discs, but I'm not sure I agree entirely. When television was invented, prognosticators made predictions about the demise of movie houses, yet going to the movies remained part of our cultural experience. Same with paperback books: hardbacks remain in print and are selling well. CDs supposedly supplanted LPs, yet vinyl copies remain in demand as new issues for some of the better-selling titles, both popular and classical. I also gave away a large part of my LP collection of classical titles to various charities, btw. Yet on amazon, used copies of certain famous high quality OOP CD titles are still commanding serious prices.

My niece and nephew in NJ OTOH are happily listening to the jazz and classical CDs I've given them over the years (how retro!), while my nephew the French horn player is satisfied with streaming. And so it goes.

I'm more of a mind that CDs will still have a place in the lives of the coming generations, just as hardback books have found their place in ours. All of these formats and new technologies will adjust, adapt, and learn to co-exist. Some of our kids will want collections of physical objects, and others will relish the convenience of streaming etc. I certainly enjoy both my physical collection and the freedom to listen to titles on amazon without having to purchase a CD. Both enhance my listening pleasure, and I suspect that will be true for future generations.

barney
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Re: Warner issues complete Barbirolli Edition: 109 CDs

Post by barney » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:31 pm

Brian, I am sure you are right. And classical, the research shows, is a highly distinct market, where CDs are more prized. The problem is, it is a tiny share of the market. Pop music, if I can be forgiven such a crude generic term, is the area where streaming is biggest.

CDs will surely live on, certainly for a generation or two (who has 78s today?), but in a steadily diminishing market. Who knows how classical lovers will get their music in 2070?

But my concern in the post above is not so much for the future of CDs but the future of MY CDs. And I suspect that is bleak. :)

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