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Posted July 15, 2012
With this album, the Naxos CD Company proudly celebrates 25 years (1987-2012) of best-selling albums. All the selections are taken from previously offered CDs that were all, in their time, best-sellers, and some of their earliest albums still outsell more recently marketed CDs.
Of the 18 tracks, four (nos. 1, 9, 14, and 18) are conducted by Maestro Stephen Gunzenhauser, who made many acclaimed recordings for Naxos in their early years but no longer records for them, although he is still very active as conductor of the Lancaster (PA) Symphony Orchestra and the summer-season's annual Endless Mountain Music Festival. The first track, Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," is a splendid introduction to this sampler, which no newcomer to Classical music should miss.
Personally, I would have arranged the tracks on this CD in a different order, because, to me, listening to Handel after listening to Rodrigo, or following Satie with Vivaldi, is akin to eating soup after dessert, but this is my only quibble about what is otherwise a splendid CD. The recorded quality of all 18 tracks is fine, although inevitably the overall tonal characteristics of the various ensembles vary from track to track. If you're new to Classical music, be sure to add this CD to your collection!