RCA Living Stereo 60 CD Collection (60 CD box set, FLAC)
RCA Living Stereo 60 CD Collection (60 CD box set, FLAC)

Audio CD
Number of Discs: 60 CD box set
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: RCA
Size: 18.4 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Sampler
02. Charles Munch. Saint-Saens: Symphony No. 3; Debussy: La Mer; Ibert: Escales
03. Charles Munch. Ravel: Daphnis et Chlo
04. Fritz Reiner. Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra; Ein Heldenleben
05. Fritz Reiner. Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra; Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta; Hungarian Sketches
06. Jascha Heifetz. Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
07. Van Cliburn. Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1; Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
08. Arthur Fiedler. Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; Concerto in F; An American in Paris; Variations..
09. Fritz Reiner. Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
10. Leontyne Price. Leontyne Price: Arias
11. Arthur Rubinstein. Chopin: Ballades & Scherzos
12. Pierre Monteux. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 Pathtique
13. Morton Gould. Brass & Percussion
14. Jascha Heifetz. Sibelius, Prokofiev, Glazunov: Violin Concertos
15. Charles Munch. Berlioz: Requiem 2CD
16. Charles Munch. Berlioz: Requiem 2CD
17. Charles Munch. Ravel: Bolero; La Valse; Rapsodie espagnole; Debussy: Images for Orchestra
18. Gregor Piatigorsky. Dvorak; Walton: Cello Concertos
19. Fritz Reiner. Dvorak: New World Symphony
20. Fritz Reiner. Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade
21. Arthur Rubinstein. Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1
22. Arthur Fiedler. Offenbach: Gat parisienne
23. Van Cliburn. Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3
24. Arthur Fiedler. Hi-Fi Fiedler
25. Jascha Heifetz. Brahms; Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos
26. Pierre Monteux. Franck:Symphony in D Minor; Stravinsky: Petrouchka
27. Charles Munch. Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6
28. Charles Munch. Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique; Love Scene From Romeo & Juliet
29. Fritz Reiner. Strauss: Scenes from Elektra & Salome
30. Fritz Reiner. Mahler: Symphony No. 4
31. Arthur Rubinstein. Chopin: Piano Concertos
32. Leopold Stokowsky. Rhapsodies
33. Morton Gould. Copland: Billy The Kid & Rodeo; Grofe: Grand Canyon Suite
34. Anna Moffo. Arias from Faust; La Bohme; Dinorah; Carmen; Turandot; Semiramide; Lakm
35. Fritz Reiner. Respighi: Pines Of Rome; Fountains Of Rome & Debussy: La Mer
36. Fritz Reiner. Vienna
37. Charles Munch. Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5; Octet: Scherzo
38. Arthur Fiedler. Pops Caviar
39. Arthur Rubinstein. Beethoven: Sonatas (Moonlight; Les Adieux; Pathetique; Appassionata)
40. Jascha Heifetz. Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1; Scottish Fantasy & Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto No. 5
41. Mario Lanza. Mario! Lanza At His Best; Vagabond King Highlights
42. Virgil Fox. Encores
43. Erich Leinsdorf. Puccini: La Bohme 2CD
44. Erich Leinsdorf. Puccini: La Bohme 2CD
45. Erich Leinsdorf. Puccini: Madama Butterfly
46. Erich Leinsdorf. Puccini: Madama Butterfly
47. Anna Moffo. Verdi: La Traviata 2CD
48. Anna Moffo. Verdi: La Traviata 2CD
49. Jussi Bjorling. Puccini: Turandot 2CD
50. Jussi Bjorling. Puccini: Turandot 2CD
51. Charles Munch. Schubert: Symphonies “The Great” & “Unfinished”
52. Fritz Reiner. Strauss: Don Quixote & Don Juan
53. Jascha Heifetz. Bach: Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor
54. Julian Bream. Popular Classics for Spanish Guitar
55. Leontyne Price. Albeniz: Navarra, Iberia; Falla: El amor
56. Arthur Rubinstein. Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto No. 2; Franck: Symphonic Variations;
57. Charles Munch. Berlioz: Harold In Italy; The Roman Carnival Overture; Benvenuto Cellini Overture
58. Fritz Reiner. Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde
59. Fritz Reiner. Strauss: Symphonia Domestica; Suite From Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
60. Van Cliburn. Schumann: Piano Concerto In A minor; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5, Op. 73 “Emperor”

Late 1950s State-Of-The-Art Has No Contemporary Equal

“RCA I” focuses on recordings from the golden age of stereophonic reproduction — approximately 1955-62. Listening to all 60 discs over a two-month period confirms two aural observations relative to contemporary classical music:

(1) The late 1950s state-of-the-art ability to electronically capture a stereophonic soundstage and accurately reproduce it in your listening room subsequently underwent no significant improvement. Relative to contemporary recordings, recording quality of virtually any RCA / Living Stereo recording is far more realistic in its reproduction accuracy. As there was essentially no real-time or post-recording technical tinkering, the sonic feel of the recordings appear more accurate, musically honest, and natural to the ears (provided, of course, one employs a quality stereo tube amp ran flat with two quality loudspeakers — which was, of course, how this music was intended to be enjoyed).

In a head-to-head, “RCA / Living Stereo” vs. “Mercury / Living Presence”, matchup (from the same 1955-62 period), one will notice Mercury engineers utilized closer miking techniques — indeed a photo from the Mercury box set exhibits the famous three mics suspended stage-front, overhead, whereas RCA engineering appears to have incorporated a pick-up location a few rows off-stage into the hall. The noticeable trade-off is apparent: the Mercurys are brighter, tighter, and have more direct punch (one gets the feeling that the conductors “conducted” the players to play to the mics…), while the RCAs have a more thorough sound stage and a larger overall robust sound — with the latter, your listening room can truly approximate the recording hall, which, of course, is what stereophonic reproduction was supposed to do. In short: with the Mercurys you hear more, with the RCAs you feel more.

(2) Conductors and their musical interpretations, the instrumental competency of the orchestras, and the compelling ability of featured soloists from the 1955-62 period far and away outshine their contemporaries. One listen to Charles Munch’s interpretation of Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3 or Fritz Reiner’s interpretation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scherazade” and it’s immediately apparent there are no contemporary conductors or orchestras who can approach these or the many other truly remarkable recordings in the set. The reason is simple: in the case of both conductors as well as many orchestral members, there was either a direct link or near-direct link to many of the 19th century composers and teachers responsible for the music at hand. Such links are absent from today’s classical culture.

The number of satisfying performances in the set are copious: Munch’s readings of “Daphnes Et Chloe” (Ravel), Prokofiev’s Violin Conerto No. 2, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, as well as Reiner’s readings of “El Amor Brujo” (Falla), and Berlioz’ Symphony Fantistique are notably outstanding. Soloists such as Rubenstein, Cliburn, and Heifetz are without contemporary parallel.

There are about 10 CDs devoted to opera — not enough to satisfy an appetite for that sort of thing, yet surely enough to blemish an otherwise incredible cross-section of RCA’s golden “stereophonic” age of formal Western art music. There’s also a CD each of solo pipe organ music and Spanish guitar music. In all three cases, these would be better served in sets addressing their respective music genres.

This set, along with its recent Decca, Philips, and Mercury counterparts, serves as an excellent method to instantly acquire quality recordings of formal Western art music; and at approximately $2–3/disc this wonderful music can be had at a fraction of the traditional single disc cost. Most discs are coupled with additional works to routinely tally individual disc playing times to over one hour.

The set is a truly phenomenal and inspirational collection or formal Western art music and will provide a lifetime of satisfaction and enjoyment.

23 Comments

  1. Thanks! – Could you please add the information which file contains the scans? And do this every time you post something? Thanks again :)

  2. I consider the LIVING STEREO collection to be some of the best recordings of classical music that I have heard.

  3. First of all: THANK YOU.

    This is an amazing post, in the same honorable standard as the Harmonia Mundi, Chandos, and Heifetz boxsets.

    Secondly:

    How is the CD sound quality on these?

  4. Dear whatever, thank you very much! It’s really so wonderful collection… :roll:

  5. Quiero, antes que nada besarles el corazón por todas las colecciones. Me encantaría bajarlas todas pero no tengo mucho tiempo, por otro lado quisiera poder cooperar con algo me podrían decir dónde puedo enviarles 20 usd. Efectivo y miles y miles de gracias por todas estas joyas.
    Pd. Hoy empecé a escuchar las cantatas de Bach.

  6. Mille grazie! Thousand (and more) thanks! Merci beaucoup! Herzlichen Dank….

  7. Fantastic collection. Great sound for a lot of them.
    Heifetz, Reiner, Rubinstein …. astonishing performances.

    My only little complain is the absence of the scans of the cd. (front and back covers are ok)

    roby

  8. Absolutely brilliant!!!!!! Thank you so much for this treasure trove of musical jewels!!!!!!

  9. These are simply amazing! Sound sounded like this in the 50s? A revelation!

    Sad to say, on a minor note, the cue files don’t work for me. I open them in foobar 2000; any ideas?

    Again, THANKS!

    1. First of all: Thanks very much for these great rips!

      @booksaregood regarding the cue-files: Make sure the filename of the flac-file is equivalent to the filename in the que-file.
      In some (all?) cases the filename in the cue-file contains some additional chars at the end. This is the reason the foobar can’t find the corresponding flac-file.

      To fix this, open the cue-file in notepad (or some other text-editor, *not* in word or something like that). Look for the line that begins with FILE. This should be at line 7 or something like that. Edit the filename (within “) so that it matches the name of the flac-file, e.g. remove the ר¼­.(FLAC). at the end. Don’t remove or change the WAVE at the end of the line.
      This will fix the problem.

      Maybe it’s a good idea to make a copy of the cue-file before editing, just in case…

  10. Whatever, thank you again, This collection is, in my opinion, the best collection edited by RCA in all his history. Thank you for all this, Whatever.

  11. Thank you! Really looking forward to hearing some of these vintage recordings.

  12. Thank you very much! Living is now 4% more enjoyable because of you.

  13. Fantastic!!! How did I miss this one? From that golden age of recordings, before they had learned to mess them up! Thanks very much…

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