Skip to main content

 Box Set Selections, Boxed Set Selections - November 2019

Beethoven Edition 2019This month’s collections include complete Beethoven editions in anticipation of next year’s anniversary from Deutsche Grammophon, Warner and Naxos, plus Bruckner from the Berliner Philharmoniker, Masaaki Suzuki’s complete recordings of JS Bach’s secular cantatas, and anthologies of Raymond Lewenthal, Karl Münchinger, Bruno Walter, and Andris Nelsons.

Prepared in partnership with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and running to 180 hours of music, this anniversary edition includes three complete symphony cycles and several world premiere recordings, with artists including John Eliot Gardiner, Claudio Abbado, Yehudi Menuhin, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Maurizio Pollini. It’s supplemented with extensive editorial by some of today’s foremost Beethoven scholars, and features bonus DVDs of Fidelio (conducted by Bernstein) and Kleiber’s accounts of the Fourth and Seventh symphonies.

Available Format: 118 CDs + 2 DVD Videos + 3 Blu-ray Audios

Naxos’s 90-disc contribution to next year’s anniversary was prepared in consultation with Willem Holsbergen, director of the Unheard Beethoven project, and features a wealth of previously unrecorded fragments, drafts, arrangements, sketches and reconstructions as well as the canonical works; artists include Boris Giltburg, Jenő Jandó, the Kodály Quartet, Herbert Blomstedt, Leif Segerstam, and Stanisław Skrowaczewski.

Available Format: 90 CDs

Featuring recordings by Daniel Barenboim, Stephen Kovacevich, Renaud Capuçon, Itzhak Perlman and Jacqueline du Pré, Warner’s 80-disc set is the label’s first-ever complete edition of the composer’s music and centres on complete cycles of works by the same artists: András Schiff, Bernard Haitink and the Staatskapelle Dresden in the Piano Concertos, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in the symphonies, and Stephen Kovacevich in the piano sonatas.

Available Format: 80 CDs

Paul Lewis (piano), BBC Symphony Orchestra, Jiří Bělohlávek

Originally released as individual volumes between 2005 and 2008, Lewis’s cycle of the Beethoven sonatas was described in the Gramophone Guide as offering ‘the best of all possible worlds; one devoid of idiosyncrasy yet of a deeply personal musicianship’ (Volume Four was Gramophone’s Recording of the Year in 2008); the recordings of the Piano Concertos date from 2010, and were praised in The Times as ‘high-quality music-making, subtle but authoritative, made to last’.

Available Format: 14 CDs

Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki

This limited-edition box brings together Suzuki’s acclaimed recordings of the secular cantatas, which were originally issued between 2004 and 2018 as a sequel to his series of the church cantatas with BCJ; soloists include Carolyn Sampson, Mojca Erdmann, Robin Blaze, Makoto Sakurada, Nicholas Phan and Roderick Williams. The set includes full texts and English translations and an introduction by Bach specialist Dr Klaus Hofmann.

Available Formats: 10 SACDs, MP3, FLAC

Berliner Philharmoniker

Recorded over the last decade and present on nine CDs and Blu-ray audio and video, this hardcover edition includes performances by Seiji Ozawa, Paavo Järvi, Herbert Blomstedt, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Christian Thielemann, Zubin Mehta, and Sir Simon Rattle and is supplemented by portraits of each conductor, scholarly introductions to the symphonies, and an essay by Richard Taruskin.

Available Formats: 9 CDs + 1 Blu-ray Audio + 3 Blu-ray Videos, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

New York Philharmonic, Columbia Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Bruno Walter

This 77-CD box brings together all of the recordings which Walter made for American Columbia between 1941 and 1961, including symphonies by Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Mozart, Schumann and Dvořák; the stereo recordings (comprising 31 CDs) have been remastered from the original analogue tapes, and the 29 mono recordings are remastered using 24 bit / 192 kHz technology. Also includes interview and rehearsal footage.

Available Format: 77 CDs

Håkon Austbø (piano), Inger Dam-Jensen (soprano), Palle Knudsen (baritone), Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Bjarte Engeset et al

This 25-CD box falls into three roughly equal parts: seven discs of the piano music performed by Håkon Austbø (who won the Grieg Award in 2003), six featuring the songs which were inspired and performed by the composer’s wife Nina, and the remainder devoted to orchestral, choral and chamber works from artists including the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Available Format: 25 CDs

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons

A 9-CD collection celebrating the Latvian conductor’s time in Birmingham, where he was music director from 2008 to 2015; the repertoire includes Strauss’s Don Juan, Eine Alpensinfonie and Also sprach Zarathustra, Stravinsky’s Firebird and Symphony of Psalms, Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony, and Tchaikovsky’s last three symphonies and Manfred.

Available Format: 9 CDs

Raymond Lewenthal (piano), London Symphony Orchestra, Charles Mackerras, Eleazar de Carvalho

This 8-CD anthology marking the thirtieth anniversary of the maverick American virtuoso’s death includes concertos by Henselt, Rubinstein and Scharwenka with the London Symphony Orchestra, two recital-discs of Alkan, The Operatic Liszt, the Italiana and Swiss chapters of Années de pèlerinage, and previously unreleased recordings of him discussing this repertoire at the keyboard.

Available Format: 8 CDs

Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Karl Münchinger

Recorded between 1951 and 1975 and organised in chronological order of composition, this newly remastered collection of baroque ensemble music with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (which Münchinger founded in 1964) includes three recordings of The Four Seasons (with Werner Krotzinger, Reinhold Barchet and Konstanty Kulka) and music by Gabrieli, Telemann, Couperin, Pergolesi, JS and JC Bach, Wassenaer, and Haydn.

Available Formats: 8 CDs, MP3, FLAC

Wiener Philharmoniker, Klassische Philharmonie Stuttgart, Karl Münchinger

This anthology picks up where the previous volume left off with six recordings of Haydn symphonies from the late 1950s and early 60s, followed by works including Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Ein Musikalischer Spass and ‘Paris’ and ‘Haffner’ symphonies, and Boccherini and Haydn cello concertos with Pierre Fournier.

Available Formats: 8 CDs, MP3, FLAC