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Thread: Where's the best place to download classics?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Marchant View Post
    I'm not sure this is what you asked for, tolworthy. Huge shedloads of "essential" "masterpieces", largely performed by obscure musicians, are the least likely places to find the "great", exceptional performances you're seeking.
    I agree that the odds are low, but the cost-benefit ratio is good. My experience so far is:

    Cost of finding a gem amid the bargain bins:
    Cost of download: 10 for 2 x 100 tracks
    Ratio worth keeping: 1/10: i.e. 20 good tracks
    Time to find: 20 minutes (2 at minimum wage)
    Cost per good track: 60p

    Cost of finding a gem amid expert reviews:
    Cost of download: 99p each (or more)
    Ratio worth keeping: 1/2
    Time to find: 30 minutes each (or more) (to find reviews, then read reviews, then compare audio, rinse and repeat)
    Cost per good track: 2.50

    If my time is valued higher then minimum wage then the difference is even greater.

    I am hoping that, as per normal economics, the bargain tracks come from a number of sources. I accept that most will be created as cheaply as possible, but hopefully some will be high quality but sold cheaply due to the rights owner choosing to focusing their marketing dollars on a small range of more fashionable works.

  2. #17
    Jem
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    I like Classic FM's new site. They've really worked on the content and let you watch videos, read about pieces and compare recordings. This is the Beethoven 9th page: http://www.classicfm.com/composers/beethoven/music/symphony-no-9-d-minor/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Marchant View Post
    I'm not sure this is what you asked for, tolworthy. Huge shedloads of "essential" "masterpieces", largely performed by obscure musicians, are the least likely places to find the "great", exceptional performances you're seeking.
    These are not anonymous recordings. They're taken from the BIS catalog. Do a little googling and you'll be surprised. Most of the recordings are for sale both on CD and SACD at full price. The label producing these sets is second on the Billboard classical downloads charts, right after Universal. This company is doing for digital downloads what Naxos and Brilliant Classics did for CDs.

    For instance, the bulk of the Grieg set comes from this...
    http://www.musicweb-international.co..._biscd1740.htm

    And the Debussy set draws heavily on Ogawa's cycle
    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...lbum_id=701162

    This forms the basis for the Sibelius
    http://www.musicweb-international.co...ius_Vanska.htm

    The Bach is from Bach Collegium Japan
    http://www.musicweb-international.co..._BISCD2011.htm
    Last edited by bigshot; Aug-06-2012 at 23:37.
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    Senior Member mtmailey's Avatar
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    That site i go to is CLASSICALARCHIVES.COM that is where i got the tchaikovsky E FLAT symphony,taylor symphony & schubert symphony #7

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    One more I missed...

    Big Summer Box (Albinoni, Vivaldi, Mozart, Handel, Boccherini, Handel, Corelli, etc.)
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008J7FEK2/

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    An update: thanks for all the advice. I ended up spending 28 on the general "100 classics" collection, a "99 classics" disk, "99 classics from the movies," a Rossini collection (I loves me some Rossini!) and various individual tracks.

    I still can't find a couple of tracks I wanted: where I want a particular version and other versions don't sound like the same music, but generally I am more than happy. I ended up keeping around 4 out of 10 tracks - more than I expected.

    The biggest surprise was the quality of "The Instant Classics" 100 track collection." The "99 classics" collection was better than I expected, but the 100 track collections recommended by bigshot are superb. They had many of the same pieces, but in better versions. These are definitely not just low cost made-for-CD bargain versions. Some of the pieces show real love and care.

    So thanks to everyone and especially bigshot.
    Last edited by tolworthy; Aug-13-2012 at 02:54.
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  7. #22
    Senior Member Ralfy's Avatar
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    DG and Harmonia Mundi released box sets celebrating anniversaries containing what they consider some of the best albums from their catalog. The price is pretty good (more than 50 pct off the retail price, I think) and one get works across various periods and genres. Decca also sold several box sets by composer at around 40 pct off the retail one time, something I discovered accidentally when I visited an H&M store in HK. In some cases, the "duo" albums from Philips and Decca are sold at 2-for-1, and several of them are quite good. And from what I know, Naxos sells at reasonable prices year round; in their downloadable catalogs each work sold is labeled with any awards received or ratings from Penguin and others.

    Of course, downloadable counterparts might be available, but probably not at the same price. You need to wait for particular anniversaries, celebrations, or holiday sales. For example, I remember there was a discount for the downloadable version of DG's "People's Choice" during Mahler's 150th.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tolworthy View Post
    So thanks to everyone and especially bigshot.
    Glad to be of help. General consensus is that these sorts of collections are inferior. Sometimes the general consensus is wrong.
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    I had a very good experience with Classical Archives: http://www.classicalarchives.com/

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