Bernard Haitink - The Philips Years (20 CD box set, APE)
Bernard Haitink – The Philips Years (20 CD box set, APE)

Audio CD
Number of Discs: 20 CD box set
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Decca
Size: 7.22 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: no

CD 01
01. Bartók: Violin Concerto No.2, Sz.112 – 1. Allegro non troppo
02. Bartók: Violin Concerto No.2, Sz.112 – 2. Andante tranquillo
03. Bartók: Violin Concerto No.2, Sz.112 – 3. Allegro molto
04. Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116 – 1. Introduzione (Andante non troppo – Allegro vivace
05. Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116 – 2. Giuoco della coppie (Allegretto scherzando)
06. Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116 – 3. Elegia (Andante, non troppo)
07. Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116 – 4. Intermezzo interrotto (Allegretto)
08. Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116 – 5. Finale (Pesante – Presto)

CD 02
01. Beethoven: Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello in C, Op.56 – 1. Allegro
02. Beethoven: Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello in C, Op.56 – 2. Largo – attacca:
03. Beethoven: Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello in C, Op.56 – 3. Rondo alla Polacca
04. Beethoven: Violin Concerto In D, Op.61 – 1. Allegro ma non troppo
05. Beethoven: Violin Concerto In D, Op.61 – 2. Larghetto –
06. Beethoven: Violin Concerto In D, Op.61 – 3. Rondo (Allegro)

CD 03
01. Beethoven: Symphony No.1 in C, Op.21 – 1. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio
02. Beethoven: Symphony No.1 in C, Op.21 – 2. Andante cantabile con moto
03. Beethoven: Symphony No.1 in C, Op.21 – 3. Menuetto (Allegro molto e vivace)
04. Beethoven: Symphony No.1 in C, Op.21 – 4. Finale (Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace)
05. Beethoven: Symphony No.3 in E flat, Op.55 -“Eroica” – 1. Allegro con brio
06. Beethoven: Symphony No.3 in E flat, Op.55 -“Eroica” – 2. Marcia funebre (Adagio assai)
07. Beethoven: Symphony No.3 in E flat, Op.55 -“Eroica” – 3. Scherzo (Allegro vivace)
08. Beethoven: Symphony No.3 in E flat, Op.55 -“Eroica” – 4. Finale (Allegro molto)

CD 04
01. Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem, Op.45 – 1. Selig sind, die da Leid tragen”
02. Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem, Op.45 – 2. “Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras”
03. Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem, Op.45 – 3. “Herr, lehre doch mich”
04. Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem, Op.45 – 4. “Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, Herr Zebaoth!”
05. Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem, Op.45 – 5. “Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit”
06. Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem, Op.45 – 6. “Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt”
07. Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem, Op.45 – 7. “Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herrn sterben”

CD 05
01. Wagner: Tristan und Isolde – Prelude and Liebestod
02. Bruckner: Symphony No.3 in D minor – 1. Gemäßigt, mehr bewegt, misterioso
03. Bruckner: Symphony No.3 in D minor – 2. Adagio, bewegt, quasi andante
04. Bruckner: Symphony No.3 in D minor – 3. Scherzo. Ziemlich schnell
05. Bruckner: Symphony No.3 in D minor – 4. Finale. Allegro

CD 06
01. Bruckner: Symphony No.8 in C minor – Ed. Haas – 1. Allegro moderato
02. Bruckner: Symphony No.8 in C minor – Ed. Haas – 2. Scherzo: Allegro moderato
03. Bruckner: Symphony No.8 in C minor – Ed. Haas – 3. Adagio: Feierlich langsam; doch nicht schleppend
04. Bruckner: Symphony No.8 in C minor – Ed. Haas – 4. Finale: Feierlich, nicht schnell

CD 07
01. Bruckner: Symphony No.9 in D minor – 1. Feierlich. Misterioso
02. Bruckner: Symphony No.9 in D minor – 2. Scherzo (Bewegt lebhaft) – Trio (Schnell) – Scherzo da capo
03. Bruckner: Symphony No.9 in D minor – 3. Adagio (Langsam, feierlich)

CD 08
01. Debussy: Nocturnes, L.91 – 1. Nuages
02. Debussy: Nocturnes, L.91 – 2. Fêtes
03. Debussy: Nocturnes, L.91 – 3. Sirènes
04. Debussy: Jeux (Poème dansé)
05. Debussy: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, L. 86 – Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
06. Debussy: La Mer, L.109 – 1. From Dawn Till Noon On The Sea (De l’aube à midi sur la mer)
07. Debussy: La Mer, L.109 – 2. Play Of The Waves (Jeux de vagues)
08. Debussy: La Mer, L.109 – 3. Dialogue Of The Wind And The Sea (Dialogue du vent et de la mer)

CD 09
01. Dvorák: Symphony No.7 in D minor, Op.70 – 1. Allegro maestoso
02. Dvorák: Symphony No.7 in D minor, Op.70 – 2. Poco adagio
03. Dvorák: Symphony No.7 in D minor, Op.70 – 3. Scherzo (Vivace)
04. Dvorák: Symphony No.7 in D minor, Op.70 – 4. Finale (Allegro)
05. Smetana: Má Vlast (My Country) – 2. Vltava (The Moldau)
06. Schubert: Symphony No.8 in B minor, D.759 – “Unfinished” – 1. Allegro moderato
07. Schubert: Symphony No.8 in B minor, D.759 – “Unfinished” – 2. Andante con moto

CD 10
01. Liszt: Piano Concerto No.1 in E flat, S.124 – 1. Allegro maestoso
02. Liszt: Piano Concerto No.1 in E flat, S.124 – 2. Quasi adagio – Allegretto vivace – Allegro animato
03. Liszt: Piano Concerto No.1 in E flat, S.124 – 3. Allegro marziale animato
04. Liszt: Piano Concerto No.2 in A, S.125 – 1. Adagio sostenuto assai – Allegro agitato assai
05. Liszt: Piano Concerto No.2 in A, S.125 – 2. Allegro moderato
06. Liszt: Piano Concerto No.2 in A, S.125 – 3. Allegro deciso – Marziale un poco meno allegro
07. Liszt: Piano Concerto No.2 in A, S.125 – 4. Allegro animato
08. Liszt: Totentanz, S.126. Paraphrase on “Dies Irae”for piano and orchestra
09. Liszt: Mephisto Waltz No.1, S. 110 No.2 “The Dance in the Village Inn” (after Lenau)
10. Liszt: Les Préludes, symphonic poem No.3, S.97 (after Lamartine)

Also available:  Leonard Bernstein: The Symphony Edition (60 CD box set, FLAC)

CD 11
01. Mahler: Symphony No.6 in A minor – 1. Allegro energico, ma non troppo. Heftig aber Markig
02. Mahler: Symphony No.6 in A minor – 2. Scherzo (Wuchtig)
03. Mahler: Symphony No.6 in A minor – 3. Andante moderato
04. Mahler: Symphony No.6 in A minor – 4. Finale (Allegro moderato)

CD 12
01. Mahler: Symphony No.9 in D – 1. Andante comodo –
02. Mahler: Symphony No.9 in D – – Mit Wut (Allegro risoluto) –
03. Mahler: Symphony No.9 in D – -Tempo I
04. Mahler: Symphony No.9 in D – 2. Im Tempo eines gemächlichen Ländlers. Etwas täppisch und sehr derb –
05. Mahler: Symphony No.9 in D – -Poco più mosso subito –
06. Mahler: Symphony No.9 in D – -Ländler, ganz langsam
07. Mahler: Symphony No.9 in D – 3. Rondo. Burleske (Allegro assai. Sehr trotzig –
08. Mahler: Symphony No.9 in D – -Presto
09. Mahler: Symphony No.9 in D – 4. Adagio (Sehr langsam)

CD 13
01. Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K.620 – Overture
02. Mozart: Don Giovanni, ossia Il dissoluto punito, K.527 – Overture
03. Mozart: Così fan tutte, K.588 – Overture
04. Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K.492 – Overture
05. Mozart: Overture Idomeneo, K.366
06. Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K.384 – Overture
07. Mozart: La clemenza di Tito, K.621 – Overture
08. Mozart: Der Schauspieldirektor, K.486 – Overture
09. Mozart: Lucio Silla, K.135 – Overture
10. Haydn: Symphony in E flat, H.I No.99 – 1. Adagio – vivace assai
11. Haydn: Symphony in E flat, H.I No.99 – 2. Adagio
12. Haydn: Symphony in E flat, H.I No.99 – 3. Menuetto (Allegretto)
13. Haydn: Symphony in E flat, H.I No.99 – 4. Finale (Vivace)

CD 14
01. Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé – Ballet / Première partie – 1a. Introduction et danse religieuse – 1b. Danse des Jeunes
02. Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé – Ballet / Première partie – 1c. Danse générale –
03. Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé – Ballet / Première partie – 1d. Danse grotesque – 1e. Danse de Daphnis – 1f. Danse de Lycénion
04. Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé – Ballet / Première partie – 1g. Nocturne –
05. Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé – Ballet / Deuxième partie – Interlude – 2. Danse guerrière
06. Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé – Ballet / Troisième partie – 3a. Lever du jour –
07. Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé – Ballet / Troisième partie – 3b. Pantomime –
08. Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé – Ballet / Troisième partie – 3c. Danse générale
09. Ravel: Alborada del gracioso
10. Ravel: La Valse – Choreographic poem, for Orchestra

CD 15
01. Haydn: Symphony in D, H.I No.96 – “The Miracle” – 1. Adagio – Allegro
02. Haydn: Symphony in D, H.I No.96 – “The Miracle” – 2. Andante
03. Haydn: Symphony in D, H.I No.96 – “The Miracle” – 3. Menuetto (Allegretto)
04. Haydn: Symphony in D, H.I No.96 – “The Miracle” – 4. Finale (Vivace)
05. Schubert: Symphony No.9 in C, D.944 – “The Great” – 1. Andante – Allegro ma non troppo
06. Schubert: Symphony No.9 in C, D.944 – “The Great” – 2. Andante con moto
07. Schubert: Symphony No.9 in C, D.944 – “The Great” – 3. Scherzo (Allegro vivace)
08. Schubert: Symphony No.9 in C, D.944 – “The Great” – 4. Allegro vivace

CD 16
01. R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Op.40 – Der Held
02. R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Op.40 – Des Helden Widersacher
03. R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Op.40 – Des Helden Gefährtin
04. R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Op.40 – Des Helden Walstatt
05. R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Op.40 – Des Helden Friedenswerke
06. R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Op.40 – Des Helden Weltflucht und Vollendung
07. R. Strauss: Tod und Verklärung, Op.24

CD 17
01. Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D, Op.35 – 1. Allegro moderato
02. Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D, Op.35 – 2. Canzonetta (Andante)
03. Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D, Op.35 – 3. Finale (Allegro vivacissimo)
04. Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64 – 1. Allegro molto appassionato
05. Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64 – 2. Andante
06. Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64 – 3. Allegro non troppo – Allegro molto vivace
07. Bruch: Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor, Op.26 – 1. Vorspiel (Allegro moderato)
08. Bruch: Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor, Op.26 – 2. Adagio
09. Bruch: Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor, Op.26 – 3. Finale (Allegro energico)

CD 18
01. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.1 in G minor, Op.13 “Winter Reveries” – 1. Allegro tranquillo
02. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.1 in G minor, Op.13 “Winter Reveries” – 2. Adagio cantabile ma non tanto
03. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.1 in G minor, Op.13 “Winter Reveries” – 3. Scherzo (Allegro scherzando giocoso)
04. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.1 in G minor, Op.13 “Winter Reveries” – 4. Finale (Andante lugubre – Allegro maestoso)
05. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.2 in C minor, Op.17 “Little Russian” – 1. Andante sostenuto – Allegro vivo
06. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.2 in C minor, Op.17 “Little Russian” – 2. Andantino marziale, quasi moderato
07. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.2 in C minor, Op.17 “Little Russian” – 3. Scherzo. Allegro molto vivace – Trio. L’istesso tempo
08. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.2 in C minor, Op.17 “Little Russian” – 4. Finale. Moderato assai – Allegro vivo – Presto

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CD 19
01. Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Prelude
02. Wagner: Parsifal – Prelude
03. Wagner: Lohengrin – Prelude to Act I
04. Wagner: Lohengrin / Act 3 – Prelude to Act III
05. Brahms: Symphony No.3 in F, Op.90 – 1. Allegro con brio – Un poco sostenuto – Tempo I
06. Brahms: Symphony No.3 in F, Op.90 – 2. Andante
07. Brahms: Symphony No.3 in F, Op.90 – 3. Poco allegretto
08. Brahms: Symphony No.3 in F, Op.90 – 4. Allegro

CD 20
01. Andriessen: Symphonische Etude (Quasi Adagio-Allegro con Spirito-Adagio-Allegro Vivace)
02. Stravinsky: The Firebird (L’oiseau de feu) – Suite (1919) – Introduction
03. Stravinsky: The Firebird (L’oiseau de feu) – Suite (1919) – Dance of the Firebird
04. Stravinsky: The Firebird (L’oiseau de feu) – Suite (1919) – Variation of the Firebird
05. Stravinsky: The Firebird (L’oiseau de feu) – Suite (1919) – Round Dance of the Princesses
06. Stravinsky: The Firebird (L’oiseau de feu) – Suite (1919) – Infernal Dance of King Kaschei
07. Stravinsky: The Firebird (L’oiseau de feu) – Suite (1919) – Berceuse
08. Stravinsky: The Firebird (L’oiseau de feu) – Suite (1919) – Finale
09. Takemitsu: November Steps
10. Messiaen: Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum – 1. Des profondeurs de l’abîme, je crie vers toi, Seigneur: Écoute ma voix!
11. Messiaen: Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum – 2. Le Christ, ressuscité des morts, ne meurt plus; la mort n’a plus sur lui d’empire
12. Messiaen: Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum – 3. L’heure vient où les morts entendront la voix du Fils de Dieu
13. Messiaen: Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum – 4. Ils ressusciteront, glorieux, avec un nom nouveau – dans le concert joyeux des étoiles et les acclamations des fils du ciel
14. Messiaen: Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum – 5. Et j’entendis la voix d’une foule immense…

Haitink’s Halcyon Philips Years

Discophiles, musicologists, and critics will undoubtedly have their debates about Bernard Haitink’s place in the pantheon of 20th-century conductors for decades to come, and only the long hindsight of history will properly sort out his significance. In the meantime, it is, I think, fair, nor would it be stretching a point, to say that Haitink is among the most remarkable and consistently engaging conductors of the past fifty years. His recorded performances are unfailingly fine; brilliantly understated, technically impeccable, exquisitely detailed, probing, revelatory, moving and memorable. An interpreter with a musical Midas-touch, his readings of Bartok, Brahms, Bruckner, Debussy, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky (among others) have attained a rarefied reputation, and still remain easily among the first-choice recommendations for much of the standard repertory. This recent 20-disc box, one of two sets from Decca marking Haitink’s eighty-fifth birthday in 2014, offers a broad, tantalizing overview of the great Dutch conductor’s compelling artistry, making an excellent introduction to one of the truly magnificent recorded legacies of our time.

The set is sturdily packaged in heavy, attractively laminated cardboard. Discs are individually sleeved in stiff–but not overly snug– cardboard jackets, all reiterating the box-cover illustration on the front, with titles, track numbers and basic artist information on the back. Track timings and recording data are included in the large semi-glossy booklet accompanying the set.

The re-mastered sound is consistently superb–as listeners have come to expect from these Decca retrospective sets.

The performances themselves are uniformly outstanding, revealing–especially in the Concertgebouw recordings– the conductor’s deep rapport with his orchestra, a studied understatement which allows detail to emerge from even the most complex score while eloquently elucidating structure and line. The quintessential Haitink interpretation is distinguished by the conductor’s ability to achieve just the right degree of emphasis on each note and phrase–no more, no less– lending the music precisely the momentum necessary to maintain structural cohesion and listener interest, while never drawing attention away from the composer’s vision. Listen, for example, to the unmistakably powerful–but never bombastic or distorted– reading of Strauss’ “Ein Heldenleben”, or the scintillatingly transparent rendition of Debussy’s gossamer-light “Nocturnes”. Particularly impressive is the 1966 recording of Mahler’s “Symphony #6”; in highlighting details often hidden or overlooked by those more interested in the work’s heavier, melodramatic elements, Haitink convincingly reveals the “Sixth” as a kind of maturely dark reflection of the youthful, sunny “Third”. A truly great performance, marvelously recorded. Haitink’s interpretive approach is especially illuminating in the music of Liszt, a composer whose work–under the batons of less-thoughtful “showboat” conductors– so often comes off as pompous, overblown, or exaggerated to the point of caricature. Yet, listening to Haitink’s recordings with pianist Alfred Brendel, one is enlightened–gobsmacked!– by the depth, subtlety, and sheer endearing musicality of these works, as if hearing them for the very first time.

It seems fashionable nowadays to complain about what these retrospective albums leave out, as opposed to celebrating what they include. Here I would have liked more of the fabulous readings of Struass tone poems, including, perhaps, the 1978 “Don Quixote” and “Also sprach Zarathustra” from 1974. Haitink’s Strauss is unfailingly sensuous, better recorded (and with a better orchestra) than the near-legendary Rudolf Kempe recordings for EMI, subtler and more musically satisfying than the classic, big, bold Fritz Reiner readings for RCA. In any case, I strongly urge Decca to get to work on a dedicated box of Haitink’s Strauss as soon as possible! Meanwhile, I am absolutely delighted by the inclusion of the Schubert “Unfinished” and “Great C Major” symphonies, the very fine reading of the Dvorak “Seventh”, the iconic recording of Bartok’s “Violin Concerto #2” from 1961 (a performance as yet to be surpassed), as well as Toru Takemitsu’s fascinating “November Steps” on a disc (#20) of 20th-century masterworks.

“The Philips Years” along with its companion box Bernard Haitink: The Symphony Edition (Limited Edition) is highly recommended, especially as the two albums compliment one another so well, and, side by side, offer a colorful and compelling portrait of a truly great musical artist.

[Those considering buying both “The Philips Years” (TPY) and “The Symphony Edition” (SE) should be aware that there is relatively little overlap from one set to the other. Points of duplication include: Brahms “Symphony #3” from 1970; Bruckner “Symphony #8” from 1970; Mahler “Symphony #6” (1969), and #9 (1970); Tchaikovsky “Symphony #1 `Winter Daydreams'” (1980) and “Symphony #2 `Little Russian'” (1978). The SE features the superb analog Bruckner “Symphony #3” (1877 version) from 1964, and #9 from 1966, while TPY includes the early digital recording of #9 from 1982, and the 1989 reading of #3. The Beethoven symphonies included in the TPY box are the earlier 1977 readings with the London Philharmonic as opposed to the equally fine 80s-era recordings with the Concertgebouw in the SE.

Sound levels vary somewhat from disc to disc and set to set; the complete Mahler cycle in the SE was transferred at an annoyingly low level, necessitating a rather substantial rightward twist of the volume knob. (Admittedly, once properly amplified, the sound of these performances is nothing short of breathtaking.) I did not notice the same problem with the two Mahler symphonies included in TPY.]

Excellent Overall Music with Very Poor CD Labeling

To my ear, Decca/Philips produces well above average sound recordings of overall excellent performances. The Haitink Box Set is no exception and this is a highly varied, excellent collection of a truly great conductor’s achievements. The price is reasonable for this “no frills”, i.e. basically music only collection. The booklet accompanying the discs is not worth very much.

If you listen to music by ripping your CDs as opposed to playing these in a CD player, you are in for an ugly shock with this set. Approximately one-half of these discs are not labeled and one disc is totally mis-labeled. This means you are in for a lot of work typing labels and tags if you archive your ripped music as do I. In my opinion, Decca really goofed when producing this box set by not quality control checking the disc labelling. Otherwise, this is a very excellent collection of good music with good sound, well worth owning.

Mixed bag with some treasures

This box includes only Philips recordings, including a fairly wide range of composers from Haydn to Messiaen (Et expecto…)
and Takemitsu (November Steps). No Baroque music. Haitink chose to leave Amsterdam after learning that 18th century and baroque composers would be conducted primarily by conductors such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt. This plan was not engineered
by Haitink. I purchased the set primarily for recordings new to CD and others which I had not heard, including excellent readings of Haydn (96 and 99-RCOA), Schubert (#9-RCOA), Mozart (Overtures-LPO), Beethoven (violin concerto with Hermann Krebbers) and symphony #1 (LPO). The Haydn is wonderful //the Colin Davis RCOA versions, but why has Universal not reissued the Davis #s 86 and 87 in his own new collection?) The Schubert #9 is as good as Haitink’s great complete Rosamunde and Midsummer Night’s Dream. I had not heard many of the LPO Mozart overtures such as Idomeneo, Clemenza, Impressario, and Lucio
Silla. The LPO Beethoven #s 1 and 3 are mixed. They are not part of his LSO set ( a plus I think, for I much prefer
Haitink’s 1986 RCOA set). The LPO Eroica is not as intense or as well played as the RCOA version, but the LPO #1 improves
upon the RCOA version also, especially in the final two movements. The LVB violin concerto with Krebbers is lovely, and I had
only recently discovered the LPO Triple concerto with the Beaux Arts Trio, in which Pressler shines.

The set includes works from complete sets and individual remakes, such as.Tchaikowsky #s 1 and 2 (great Little Russian), Mahler #s 6 and 9, and Bruckner #3, 8, and 9. Much Wagner is included, and much French music (Debussy and Ravel). No Liszt Tone poems excepting Les Preludes,
but a Mephisto Waltz plus piano concerti and Totentanz with Alfred Brendel. No Schumann, but sparkling concerti with Grumiaux (Mendelssohn, Bruch, and Tchaikowsky). Also a Bartok disc- the Concerto for Orchestra and the Violin concerto with
Henryk Szerying. Krebbers also appears in the lone Richard Strauss disc (Ein Heldenleben ) which also includes Tod und Verklarung. Two pleasant surprises- a wind drenched Dvorak #7 -one of the earliest Haitink RCOA discs- and a fine Moldau.
The VPO German Requiem was worth hearing for Janowitz and Tom Krause primarily. As a whole, I find the box
rewarding.

4 Comments

  1. Whatever, the world is a better place thanks to people like you as well. Music helps me a lot in difficult moments, and I am discovering thanks to you melodies I never heard before.

    God bless you!

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