Ultimate Classical Relaxation: The Essential Masterpieces [Box Set]

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Seekers of a decent cost-cutter collection of soothing background music and beginners looking for a reasonably broad introduction to Classical music may find Decca's Ultimate Classical Relaxation: The Essential Masterpieces to be a worthwhile purchase. This five-disc set covers the most famous selections from works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky -- three favorites of casual listeners and newcomers alike -- and offers two additional CDs of the greatest hits of other masters, including Samuel Barber's "Adagio" for strings, the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 5," the slow movement from Joaquín Rodrigo's "Guitar...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Seekers of a decent cost-cutter collection of soothing background music and beginners looking for a reasonably broad introduction to Classical music may find Decca's Ultimate Classical Relaxation: The Essential Masterpieces to be a worthwhile purchase. This five-disc set covers the most famous selections from works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky -- three favorites of casual listeners and newcomers alike -- and offers two additional CDs of the greatest hits of other masters, including Samuel Barber's "Adagio" for strings, the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 5," the slow movement from Joaquín Rodrigo's "Guitar Concerto," and numerous other evergreens. Of course, this box set would not be complete without the Albinoni "Adagio" really composed by Remo Giazotto, but the surprising omission of Pachelbel's ubiquitous "Canon" may make some doubt whether this really is the ultimate collection; for that overplayed piece, in any number of arrangements, the listener is obliged to search elsewhere. But the music presented here is certainly pleasant and representative of the most popular pieces in music history. Some may question the caliber of the playing, but Decca has chosen recordings by world-class artists, including conductors Vladimir Ashkenazy, Neville Marriner, Herbert von Karajan, and Zubin Mehta; performers such as pianist Alicia de Larrocha, soprano Kiri Te Kanawa, and violinist Kyung-Wha Chung; and ensembles with the instant name recognition of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, to name just a few. Bearing in mind that this compilation is excerpt oriented and covers a lot of material, yet leaves much important music out, it is still one of the better budget packages on the market and worth more than its low price might suggest. Even so, the audio levels are quite variable, with some over-boosted tracks, while others are quite soft, so some volume adjustments are necessary.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/11/2008
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 028947800965
  • Catalog Number: 001079002
  • Sales rank: 5,830

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: 2. Air on the G String - Johann Sebastian Bach & Neville Marriner (5:18)
  2. 2 Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier (V), chorale prelude for organ, BWV 731 (BC K134) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Alicia de Larrocha (3:39)
  3. 3 Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio), in six parts, BWV 248 (BC D7): No. 10. Sinfonia - Johann Sebastian Bach & Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (6:45)
  4. 4 Concerto for oboe, violin, strings & continuo in F major (reconstruction), BWV 1053R: Siciliano - Johann Sebastian Bach & Neville Marriner (5:15)
  5. 5 Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 8 in E flat minor (WTC I/8), BWV 853 (BC L87): Prelude - Johann Sebastian Bach & Leopold Stokowski (5:21)
  6. 6 Cantata No. 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben," BWV 147 (BC A174): Jesu, joy of man's desiring - Johann Sebastian Bach & Julius Katchen (3:46)
  7. 7 Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: 3. Sarabande - Johann Sebastian Bach & Neville Marriner (3:09)
  8. 8 Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: 6. Minuet / 7. Badinerie - Johann Sebastian Bach & Neville Marriner (2:47)
  9. 9 Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049: 1. Allegro - Johann Sebastian Bach & Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (7:41)
  10. 10 Cantata No. 140, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme," BWV 140 (BC A166): Sleepers awake - Johann Sebastian Bach & Raymond Agoult (5:39)
  11. 11 Cantata No. 22, "Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe," BWV 22 (BC A48): Sanctify us by thy goodness - Johann Sebastian Bach & Alicia de Larrocha (3:21)
  12. 12 Concerto for oboe & violin (or 2 violins), strings & continuo (reconstruction), BWV 1060R: 2. Adagio - Johann Sebastian Bach & Neville Marriner (5:21)
  13. 13 Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 7 in G minor, BWV 1058: 2. Andante - Johann Sebastian Bach & Chamber Orchestra of Europe (5:47)
  14. 14 Concerto for 2 violins, strings & continuo in D minor ("Double"), BWV 1043: 2. Largo ma non tanto - Johann Sebastian Bach & Thurston Dart (5:33)
  15. 15 Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 1 in C major (WTC I/1), BWV 846 (BC L80): Prelude - Johann Sebastian Bach & András Schiff (1:59)
  16. 16 Cantata No. 208, "Was mir behagt," (Hunt Cantata), BWV 208 (BC G1, G3): Sheep may safely graze - Johann Sebastian Bach & Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (4:36)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major ("Elvira Madigan") K. 467: 2. Andante - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Vladimir Ashkenazy (8:04)
  2. 2 Divertimento No. 17 for 2 horns & strings in D major, K. 334 (K.320b): 3. Minuet & Trio - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Willi Boskovsky (4:51)
  3. 3 Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622: 2. Adagio - Alfred Prinz & Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (7:23)
  4. 4 Piano Sonata No. 15 in C major ("Sonata semplice") K. 545: 2. Andante - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & András Schiff (5:29)
  5. 5 Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216: 2. Adagio - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (8:17)
  6. 6 Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major ("Eine kleine Nachtmusik"), K. 525: 2. Romance - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Willi Boskovsky (5:53)
  7. 7 Concerto for flute, harp & orchestra in C major, K. 299 (K. 297c): 2. Andantino - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (8:31)
  8. 8 Piano Sonata No. 12 in F major, K. 332 (K. 300k): 2. Adagio - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & András Schiff (4:54)
  9. 9 Clarinet Quintet in A major ("Stadler"), K. 581: 2. Larghetto - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Alfred Boskovsky (6:33)
  10. 10 Sinfonia concertante for violin, viola & orchestra in E flat major, K. 364 (K. 320d): 2. Andante - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (11:12)
  11. 11 Divertimento No. 7 for 2 horns, bassoon & strings in D major, K. 205 (K. 167A): 3. Adagio - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Willi Boskovsky (4:41)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Romeo and Juliet, fantasy-overture for orchestra in B minor (3 versions): Love Theme - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (3:15)
  2. 2 Serenade for strings (or piano, 4 hands) in C major, Op. 48: Waltz - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Neville Marriner (3:41)
  3. 3 None but the lonely heart, song for voice & piano, Op. 6/6 - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & London Festival Orchestra and Chorus (3:34)
  4. 4 Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23: 2. Andantino semplice - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Vladimir Ashkenazy (6:52)
  5. 5 Souvenir de Florence, for string sextet or string orchestra in D major, Op. 70: 2. Adagio cantabile e con moto - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Neville Marriner (8:08)
  6. 6 Nutcracker, ballet, Op. 71: Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (1:43)
  7. 7 String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11: 2. Andante cantabile - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Raymond Agoult (8:25)
  8. 8 Chant sans paroles (Song without words) for piano in A minor, Op. 40/6 - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Leopold Stokowski (3:27)
  9. 9 Nutcracker, ballet, Op. 71: Dance of the Mirlitons - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (2:41)
  10. 10 Elegy, for string orchestra in G major ("In Memory of Ivan Samarin") - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Vladimir Ashkenazy (8:09)
  11. 11 Valse sentimentale, for piano (or violin & piano) in F minor, Op. 51/6 - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Kyung-Wha Chung (2:35)
  12. 12 Suite No. 4 for orchestra in G major ("Mozartiana"), Op. 61: 3. Preghiera (Andante non tanto) - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Ernest Ansermet (5:19)
  13. 13 The Swan Lake, ballet, Op. 20: Scene and Second Dance of the Queen of the Swans - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (6:40)
  14. 14 The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Panorama - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (3:40)
  15. 15 Symphony No. 6 in B minor ("Pathétique"), Op.74: 2. Allegro con grazia - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (7:01)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Adagio, for violin, strings & organ in G minor, T. Mi 26 (composed by Remo Giazotto; not by Albinoni) - Remo Giazotto & Tomaso Albinoni (9:03)
  2. 2 Kol Nidrei, for cello & orchestra, Op. 47 - Max Bruch & Vladimir Ashkenazy (10:16)
  3. 3 Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor: 4. Adagietto - Gustav Mahler & Zubin Mehta (9:46)
  4. 4 Concierto de Aranjuez, for guitar & orchestra: 2. Adagio - Joaquín Rodrigo & Carlos Bonell (10:58)
  5. 5 Adagio for strings (or string quartet; arr. from 2nd mvt. of String Quartet), Op. 11 - Samuel Barber & Neville Marriner (8:49)
  6. 6 Adagio for clarinet & strings - Carl Baermann III & Alfred Boskovsky (4:48)
  7. 7 The Swan (from "Carnival of the Animals"), original (for 2 pianos & ensemble) and arrangements - Camille Saint-Saëns & Marie Goossens (3:24)
  8. 8 Symphony No. 9 in E minor ("From the New World"), B. 178 (Op. 95) (first published as No. 5): 2. Largo - István Kertész & Antonin Dvorák (12:35)
  9. 9 Méditation, for violin & orchestra (or other arrangement) (from opera "Thäis") - Jules Massenet & Richard Bonynge (5:48)
Disc 5
  1. 1 Peer Gynt Suite for orchestra (or piano or piano, 4 hands) No. 1, Op. 46: Morning Mood - Edvard Grieg & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (4:05)
  2. 2 Cantata No. 140, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme," BWV 140 (BC A166): Sleepers awake - Johann Sebastian Bach & Peter Hurford (5:21)
  3. 3 Florida, suite for orchestra, RT vi/1: Daybreak - Frederick Delius & Charles Mackerras (12:34)
  4. 4 Etude for guitar ("Neblina") - Eduardo Fernandez & Andrés Segovia (2:00)
  5. 5 Aladdin, incidental music, Op. 34 (FS 89): Aladdin's Dream & Dance of the Morning Mist - Carl Nielsen & Herbert Blomstedt (3:01)
  6. 6 Morgenblätter (Morning Papers), waltz for orchestra, Op. 279 (RV 279) - Johann Strauss II & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (9:31)
  7. 7 Early One Morning, folk song - Neville Marriner & English Traditional (2:49)
  8. 8 Daphnis et Chloé, ballet for orchestra: Daybreak - Maurice Ravel & Leopold Stokowski (5:02)
  9. 9 Symphony No. 6 in D major ("Le Matin"), H. 1/6: 2. Adagio - Andante - Antal Doráti & Franz Joseph Haydn (8:09)
  10. 10 Pieces (2) ("Chanson de matin" & "Chanson de nuit"), for violin & piano (later orchestrated), Op. 15: Chanson de matin - Adrian Boult & Edward Elgar (3:26)
  11. 11 Scottish Fantasy, for violin & orchestra, Op. 46: Introduction & first movement: Grave - Adagio cant - Max Bruch & Kyung-Wha Chung (8:17)
  12. 12 Songs of the Auvergne, for voice & orchestra in 5 series: Uno jionto postouro - Joseph Canteloube & English Chamber Orchestra (3:16)
  13. 13 La Gioconda, opera in 4 acts: Dance of the Hours - Amilcare Ponchielli & Bruno Bartoletti (7:45)
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