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

Orchestra: New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 60 CD box set
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Sony Classics
Size: 19.7 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

CD01 – Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphonies No. 1 & 3
CD02 – Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphonies No. 2 & 7
CD03 – Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphonies No. 4 & 5
CD04 – Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphonies No. 6 & 8
CD05 – Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 9
CD06 – Hector Berlioz – Symphonie fantastique
CD07 – Leonard Bernstein – Symphonies no 1 “Jeremiah” & no 2 “Age of Anxiety”
CD08 – Leonard Bernstein – Symphony no 3 “Kaddish”, Georges Bizet – Symphony in C major
CD09 – Marc Blitzstein – The Airborne Symphony
CD10 – Johannes Brahms – Symphony no 1
CD11 – Johannes Brahms – Symphonies no 2 & no 3
CD12 – Johannes Brahms – Symphony no 4, Carlos Chavez – Symphony no 2 “Sinfonía India”, David Diamond – Symphony No.4
CD13 – Anton Bruckner – Symphony no 9
CD14 – Aaron Copland – Organ Symphony, Symphony no 3
CD15 – Antonín Dvorák – Symphony no 7, César Franck – Symphony in D minor
CD16 – Antonín Dvorák – Symphony no 9, Roy Harris – Symphony No.3
CD17 – Karl Goldmark – Symphony in E flat major, Paul Hindemith – Symphony in E flat major
CD18 – Franz Joseph Haydn – Symphonies no 82, no 83 & no 84
CD19 – Franz Joseph Haydn – Symphonies no 85, no 86 & no 87
CD20 – Franz Joseph Haydn – Symphonies no 93, no 94 & no 95
CD21 – Franz Joseph Haydn – Symphonies no 96, no 97 & no 88
CD22 – Franz Joseph Haydn – Symphonies no 98 & no 99
CD23 – Franz Joseph Haydn – Symphonies no 100, no 102 & no 104
CD24 – Franz Joseph Haydn – Symphonies no 101 & no 103
CD25 – Charles Ives – Symphonies no 2 & no 3
CD26 – Franz Liszt – Faust Symphony
CD27 – Gustav Mahler – Symphonies no 1 & no 2
CD28 – Gustav Mahler – Symphony no 2
CD29 – Gustav Mahler – Symphony no 3
CD30 – Gustav Mahler – Symphony no 3, Randall Thompson – Symphony no 2
CD31 – Gustav Mahler – Symphony no 4
CD32 – Gustav Mahler – Symphony no 5
CD33 – Gustav Mahler – Symphony no 6
CD34 – Gustav Mahler – Symphony no 7
CD35 – Gustav Mahler – Symphony no 8
CD36 – Gustav Mahler – Symphony no 9
CD37 – Gustav Mahler – Symphony no 10, Felix Mendelssohn – Symphony no 3
CD38 – Felix Mendelssohn – Symphonies no 4 & no 5
CD39 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Symphonies no 36 & no 40, Albert Roussel – Symphony no 3
CD40 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Symphonies no 39 & no 41
CD41 – Carl Nielsen – Symphonies no 2 & no 4
CD42 – Carl Nielsen – Symphonies no 3 & no 5
CD43 – Sergei Prokofiev – Symphonies no 1 & no 5
CD44 – Camille Saint-Saëns – Symphony no 3 “Organ”, Franz Schubert – Symphony no 5
CD45 – Franz Schubert – Symphonies no 8 & no 9
CD46 – William Schuman – Symphonies no 3, no 5 & no 8
CD47 – Robert Schumann – Symphonies no 1 & 2
CD48 – Robert Schumann – Symphonies no 3 & 4
CD49 – Harold Shapero – Symphony for Classical Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky – Symphony of Psalms
CD50 – Dmitri Shostakovich – Symphonies no 1 & no 6
CD51 – Dmitri Shostakovich – Symphonies no 5 & no 9
CD52 – Dmitri Shostakovich – Symphony no 7
CD53 – Dmitri Shostakovich – Symphony no 14, Jean Sibelius – Symphony no 3
CD54 – Jean Sibelius – Symphonies no 1 & no 6
CD55 – Jean Sibelius – Symphonies no 2 & no 7
CD56 – Jean Sibelius – Symphonies no 4 & no 5
CD57 – Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphonies no 1 & no 2
CD58 – Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphonies no 3 & no 4
CD59 – Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphonies no 4 & no 5
CD60 – Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony no 6, Ralph Vaughan Williams – Symphony no 4

A steal if ever there was one.

You’re likely looking at this because your either a Bernstein fan or you”re looking to have an instant Essential Classical Symphonies collection on the relatively cheap. Either way, you cannot go wrong. The Mahler and Schumann complete cycles are, in my opinion, definitive. All of the Beethoven (with the exception of the 9th- but don’t be fooled by individual reviews of it- it IS solid, though you’ll never be satisfied with just one 9th) can easily hold their own against the competition and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd are my go-to recordings of these works. In fact, I can say that of so many recordings here: Brahms 1, 2, and 3; Hadyn’s Paris and London cycles; Copland’s 3rd; Dvorak’s 9th; Tchaikovsky’s 3rd, (and his 5th and 6th give Mravinsky a run for his money); Schubert’s 8th and 9th; It’s really an embarrassment of riches. No other conductor of his era did so many things so well, even if there were others who tackled individual works equally or better. And the sound quality simply can’t be beat if you love the 60’s/early 70’s analogue sound like I do- the LB/NY Phil/John Mclure Production is just an unbeatable combination that handily holds its own against modern competition.

Now the cons: The Tchaikovsky 4th is the later (75?) recording and not the 58, which can be had individually; The Saint-Saens is a pretty big misstep- I doubt I’ll ever listen to this particular recording again; you’ll need to supplement the aforementioned Beethoven’s 9th (My preference is Fricsay or Karajan’s 1977); The Brahms 4th is serviceable, but not a first recommendation; While the ’63 Berlioz is solid, the 1968 recording outdoes it by miles; The Liszt is by no means an essential work, but Bernstein’s later recording for DG with the BSO makes a case for it that this one just doesn’t; To fulfill the ‘Symphony Edition’ moniker all of the Symphonies that Bernstein recorded for his Columbia tenure (as far as I’m aware) are here- which means there are some works that I just didn’t need, due to Bernstein’s championing of unknown composers- looking squarely at you, ‘Airborne’ Symphony; Finally, symphonic works that do not fit the form of a symphony are not here. This means that some of Bernstein’s most important recordings are missing, i.e. Copland’s and Stravinksy’s ballets, Tchaikovsky’s Overtures and Suites, Mahler’s Song Cycles, the historic Gershwin recordings, His Debussy and Ravel outings.

All of this is to say that what you get far outweighs what you don’t, and to be fair the set doesn’t claim to be a definitive overview of Bernstein- the man wore so many hats, one box set really couldn’t address all of them. If you’re a Bernstein fan, you’ll already be looking to acquire other recordings to supplement this or already have them; and if you’re a casual or new Classical fan this is really a great and, at $2 a disc, inexpensive, way to start building an instant collection.

Edit: Realized I didn’t really address the masterings, but many other reviewers here have tackled the issue. Suffice to say: The Mahler is the Carnegie Hall (and most recent) mastering. They sound wonderful. Anything else that was released under the Bernstein Century moniker uses the same mastering here. Anything not released in that series uses the Royal Edition masterings. I agree with others that I find little difference between the Century and Royal masterings- Neither suffered from egregious noise reduction or tampering and did justice to the original recordings as far as I’m concerned.

24 Comments

  1. Obrigado por estes 60 cd’s maravilhosos. O 1o. ciclo de Mahler gravado por Bernstein é antológico. Grato, também, pelo uso do Filesonic. Caio (Brasil). (P.S.: Sorry for the comment in Portuguese, I do not speak English…)

  2. Thank you very much whatever. What a beautiful and great collection.

  3. Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!! No superman, no spiderman, no batman! You’re my biggest hero!!! :grin: :grin: :grin:

  4. :razz: :razz: :razz: :razz: :razz: :razz: :razz: Fabulous, what else ?
    Greetings from Paris

  5. This is fantastic. Bernstein was so so different wasn’t he? Can’t stop playing his Shostakovich 5/9. Immense! Loris

  6. greatest of thanks. it is collections like these that continue the legacy of each of these incredible works of art

  7. Thank you so much, whatsoever! I really hope you are well and will come back one day!

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