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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Friday, December 16, 2016

2016 Gift Guide: Big Box Sets For the Music Collector

There's nothing like Mozart  for the holidays.
by Paul J. Pelkonen

The business model of the music business has changed. Classical labels still do tons of reissues but usually in the form of huge boxed sets that attempt to show an overview of artist's life, an orchestra's journey or a conductor's approach to his work. Thanks to their tireless efforts, there are still a lot of options if you want to leave a doorstop-sized boxed set under a loved one's tree. Here are the best box sets to come out in 2016.

Mozart 225: The Complete Edition
Back in the 1980s, when Mozart fever gripped the music world. Philips Classics released a huge set called The Complete Mozart Edition. Now, to celebrate 225 years of the great composer, the parent company of the former Philips label has assembled a whopping 200-disc edition containing the complete works of the boy genius from Salzburg. Sure, it's pricey but the music is immortal.

The Complete Chopin: Deluxe Edition
This handsome longbox from DG features all of Chopin's music preserved in durable recordings from the Yellow Label, with contributions from 21st century virtuosos like Daniil Trifonov and Jan Lisiecki, a compilation of great performances from the artists of the past, and a bonus DVD featuring the artistry of the late Artur Rubinstein.

The Metropolitan Opera 1966-77
The Met is celebrating fifty years at its Lincoln Center home with this whopping box of great opera performances, featuring recordings from its first year at the current Opera House. Featuring Birgit Nilsson and Franco Corelli in Turandot, Jon Vickers as Peter Grimes and Joan Sutherland in Lucia di Lammermoor. A vital document of an important time in the history of the Met.

Handel: The Great Oratorios
Get a Handel on the holiday season with all sixteen of the great German composer's oratorios. The oratorio is a kind of religious play performed without costumes. Handel started writing them as a solution to the dip in popularity suffered by his operas in 18th century London. These are among his most enduring and beloved works, but some of them are curiosities known only to choral societies and musicologists. These performances are mostly on period instruments from an acclaimed group of British conductors.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats