Great Symphonies

Great Symphonies


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Great Symphonies

ICA Classics' five-CD box set, Great Symphonies, has the appearance of a substantial introduction to the most important symphonies in western music, but close inspection reveals it to be a mixed bag. There are indeed essential symphonies included here, specifically six: Beethoven's "Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Eroica," and his "Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Choral," Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 4 in F minor," Schumann's "Symphony No. 4 in D minor," Brahms' "Symphony No. 4 in E minor," and Mendelssohn's "Symphony No. 4 in A major, Italian." The rest of the program works against the theme, though, since Mussorgsky's "A Night on the Bare Mountain," Prokofiev's Suite from "The Love for Three Oranges," Debussy's "Martyrdom of St. Sebastian" and "La Mer," and Smetana's Overture to "The Bartered Bride" are not part of the symphonic repertoire. But even more questionable than the use of filler pieces is the vintage of the recordings, which were made between 1953 and 1981. Despite a claim that they are "expertly remastered," the analog sound is quite variable. Note the surface noise throughout Furtwängler's recording of Beethoven's "Ninth," the boxy sound of Cantelli's recording of Schumann's "Fourth," and the noisy live recording by Argenta of Beethoven's "Third," all made in the 1950s. This set cannot be recommended to casual listeners as a satisfying introduction to the symphonic masterworks, though students of historical performances may be most interested in this package.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/28/2014
Label: Ica Classics
UPC: 5060244551329
catalogNumber: 5132


  1. La corte de Granada, fantasy for orchestra: Serenata
  2. Música clásica, zarzuela in 1 act: Prelude

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