Mercury Living Presence Vol.2 (55 CD box set, FLAC)

Mercury Living Presence Vol.2 (55 CD box set, FLAC)
Mercury Living Presence Vol.2 (55 CD box set, FLAC)

Audio CD
SPARS Code: AAD/ADD
Number of Discs: 55 CD box set
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Decca
ASIN: B00B7364H2
Size: 18.1 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

CD 01: Schoenberg: 5 Pieces For Orchestra, Op.16; Webern: 5 Pieces For Orchestra, Op.10; Berg: Three Pieces For Orchestra, Op.6/Lulu Suite
CD 02: Dorati Conducts Respighi
CD 03: Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra; Dance Suite; Two Portraits
CD 04: Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances/Suites Nos.1-3
CD 05: Dvorák: Symphony No.7 in D Minor; Symphony No.8 in G Major
CD 06: Gershwin: An American In Paris; Copland: Rodeo; Schuller: Seven Studies On Themes Of Paul Klee
CD 07: Satie: Parade; Milhaud: Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit; Auric: Overture; Françaix: Concerto Fpr Piano & Orchestra; Fetler: Contrasts For Orchestra
CD 08: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 “Pathétique”; Romeo & Juliet
CD 09: Bartók: The Wooden Prince; Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
CD 10: Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin; Sonata For 2 Pianos & Percussion; Divertimento
CD 11: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.4; Francesca da Rimini/Borodin: Prince Igor Overture
CD 12: Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6/The Creatures of Prometheus Overture
CD 13: Antal Dorati Conducts Albéniz: Iberia; Falla: La Vida Breve; Moussorgsky; Smetana
CD 14: Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin, Suite; Kodaly: Peacock Variations
CD 15: Beethoven: Symphony No.7 / 3 Overtures
CD 16: Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
CD 17: Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
CD 18: Delibes: Coppélia & Sylvia
CD 19: Delibes: Coppélia & Sylvia
CD 20: Delibes: Coppélia & Sylvia
CD 21: Widor: Symphony No.6: Allegro; Salve Regina/Franck: Pièce Héroïque; Three Chorales
CD 22: Frederick Fennell Conducts The Music Of Leroy Anderson
CD 23: Works for Wind Ensemble
CD 24: Gould: West Point Symphony/Hovhaness: Symphony No.4/Giannini: Symphony No. 3
CD 25: Grainger: Country Gardens /Coates:The Three Elizabeths
CD 26: Hands Across The Sea – Marches From Around The World
CD 27: Frederick Fennell Conducts The Music of Leroy Anderson & Eric Coates
CD 28: The Spirit of ’76/Ruffles and Flourishes
CD 29: Mozart: Wind Serenade in B flat / Strauss, R.: Serenade for Wind/Milhaud: Suite Française
CD 30: Holst: Suites 1 & 2/Vaughan Williams: Folksong Suite, etc.
CD 31: Hanson: Symphony Nos. 1 & 2 / Song of Democracy
CD 32: Gould: Spirituals; Fall River Legend; Barber: Medea
CD 33: Ives: 3 Places in New England; Symphony No.3; Schumann: New England Triptych
CD 34: Hanson: Symphony No. 3/Elegy/The Lament for Beowulf
CD 35: Howard Hanson Conducts American Masterworks
CD 36: McPhee: Tabuh-Tabuhan; Sessions:The Black Maskers; Thomson: Symphony On A Hymn Tune;The Feast of Love
CD 37: Howard Hanson Conducts – Moore/Carpenter/Rogers/Phillips
CD 38: Chadwick: Symphonic Sketches/MacDowell: Suite for Large Orchestra/Sinfonia in G
CD 39: Music For Quiet Listening Vol. 2
CD 40: Music For Quiet Listening Vol. 2
CD 41: Dvorák: Symphony No.9 (“From The New World”); Mozart: Symphony No.38 (“Prague”)
CD 42: Ibert / Ravel: Escales / Rapsodie Espagnole / La valse / Le Tombeau de Couperin etc.
CD 43: French Opera Highlights
CD 44: Saint-Saëns: Symphony No.3 / Paray: Mass for Joan of Arc
CD 45: Chabrier: España; Suite pastorale; Fete Polonaise; Overture “Gwendoline”; Danse Slave; Roussel: Suite in F
CD 46: Ravel: Daphnis et Chloë, Suite No.2; Valses nobles et sentimentales, etc./Debussy: Nocturnes; Petite Suite
CD 47: Bizet: Carmen Suite/La Patrie Overture/L’arlésienne Suite Thomas: Mignon & Raymond Overtures
CD 48: Paul Paray conducts Dances of Death
CD 49: Debussy: La Mer; Ibéria; Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun
CD 50: The Golden Age of Harpsichord Music
CD 51: Puyana Plays Bach
CD 52: Rafael Puyana: Baroque Masterpieces For The Harpsichord
CD 53: Bartók / Chopin / Debussy / Mendelssohn: Cello Sonatas
CD 54: Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps
CD 55: Corigliano: Piano Concerto; Richard Strauss: Parergon

Full tracklist

Superb music set #2; documentation better but still not the best

Great music, great performances, great sound, great bargain. Please see other reviews for the title/performer list. Just one thing, again (see my review of Mercury Living Presence The Collector’s Edition 1). I had several of these titles as single discs that I had previously purchased. The enclosed booklet is definitely better than Edition 1 – at least it lists the works and gives some info about the recording. However… Take the Dorati Conducts Bartok disc [Disc 3 in Edition 2 – Concerto for Orchestra, Dance Suites, etc.]: the booklet (typical CD size) lists the works and some info about the recording on 2 pages. The single disc issue (exact same works) booklet (same size) has 2 pages listing the works (without listing individual movements – that is on the back of the CD case) PLUS 11 pages of “liner notes” discussing the works and more detail on the recording and recording venue. The single disc issue booklet also has 4 pages about Mercury Living Presence in general; the Edition 2 booklet has 46 pages of text and pictures about the history of Mercury Living Presence (obviously much better). So, if you are not into “liner notes”, not a problem, absolute bargain; if you are into the full history thing, a little disappointing. Music = 5 stars, documentation = 3.5 stars.

You can’t go wrong!

This is a wonderful selection, which makes me eager for the release of Vol 3 later in 2015 (and I hope Vol 1 might be re-issued as well)? The recording quality is generally excellent: vivid, clear and sharp. The only exceptions in my view are some of the wind or brass band marching music, where the tone is a bit muffled – but they’re not crucial to the overall success of the set. It’s inevitable that in a collection this size, there will be some CDs that just don’t make the grade, be it for personal taste, a very occasional lapse in overall recording quality, or an understandable bias towards lesser-known North American composers, some of whom are lesser-known for a good reason. Personally, I remain unconvinced about Howard Hanson (but I’ll keep working on it and hope to be proved wrong); on the other hand, hearing Colin McPhee’s Tabuh Tabuhan was a joyful revelation and one of the “finds” of this collection. Ultimately, at around £1 a disc, who cares if there are a few duds in there? The overall selection is a delight.

Here is Kubelik, Dorati and the much-under-rated Paul Paray in their pomp. Paray’s recording of the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony must surely be close to *the* reference recording of this particular work, and I struggle to think of a more compelling version of La Mer than his. There are hitherto unknown (to me) gems from Schuller, Ives, and William Schuman; compelling recordings of Schoenberg and Bartok – and I’m still nowhere near halfway through listening to the CDs!

I suspect that about 20% of these CDs I won’t bother listening to more than once, but I’ll be glad to have had the opportunity to do so. The other 80% will become treasured companions.

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