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Thread: Box Sets You Regret Purchasing

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Default Box Sets You Regret Purchasing

    I have only a couple I wish I hadn't spent the money for but my biggest regret is wasting 50 dollars on the Stokowski Phase 4 Stereo box. I don't remember why I decided to buy this set because I'm not really interested in most of the music and I have to say some of the recordings sound horrible.

    My other regret is buying the Charles Munch Warner box. More than half of the 13 Discs are historical recordings in poor sound. Of the stereo recordings there are just a few of interest.

    On a positive note I had been regretting the purchase of the Gluck Great Operas box but in the past year I have become a much bigger opera fan so I'm glad I held onto it.

    What are some of your boat anchors you'd like to toss in the river?
    In Mahler I usually prefer the Solti approach -caveman having a seisure whips orchestra into a frenzy!! - Radames, TC member

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    Senior Member Red Terror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    I have only a couple I wish I hadn't spent the money for but my biggest regret is wasting 50 dollars on the Stokowski Phase 4 Stereo box. I don't remember why I decided to buy this set because I'm not really interested in most of the music and I have to say some of the recordings sound horrible.

    My other regret is buying the Charles Munch Warner box. More than half of the 13 Discs are historical recordings in poor sound. Of the stereo recordings there are just a few of interest.

    On a positive note I had been regretting the purchase of the Gluck Great Operas box but in the past year I have become a much bigger opera fan so I'm glad I held onto it.

    What are some of your boat anchors you'd like to toss in the river?
    I read plenty of reviews before buying, so no regrets, really. That said, I don't think I needed the DG Messiaen complete works boxset.
    Last edited by Red Terror; Oct-28-2021 at 16:24.

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    I bought a Stokowski set in which the recordings were mainly elderly. It was cheap but much remains unplayed.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    A six-disc set of Bach organ works on Brilliant, played by Ton Koopman. I had no problems with the music or performances but as this was the early days of Brilliant Classics the sleeve notes were desultory to the point of non-existence. I've since collected much of what was on there on separate recordings and gave the box away.

    Last edited by elgars ghost; Oct-28-2021 at 16:42.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Terror View Post
    I read plenty of reviews before buying, so no regrets, really. That said, I don't think I needed the DG Messiaen complete works boxset.
    I'd love to have the Messiaen DG box but I've already got a number of the recordings so I passed on that one.
    In Mahler I usually prefer the Solti approach -caveman having a seisure whips orchestra into a frenzy!! - Radames, TC member

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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    Among those sold were:

    - Odnoposoff /Membran 10CD. He is a fine violinist, with a beautiful tone surely, but they are old recordings & I missed some sense for the music's architecture, ebb and flow effects and fortes etc., compared to say D.Oistrakh, Heifetz, Kogan, Kagan etc.

    - Balthasar Neumann Chor & Ensemble, Thomas Hengelbrock 16CD box set /DHM Harmonia Mundi. Mostly Baroque music, HIP performances, the light-footed style didn't appeal, compared to other recordings.

    - Music from German Castles and Courts /Membran 20CD. The music seemed very conventional & not worth investigating in depth for me, in spite of the lesser known composers represented there.

    - Beethoven, 32 Piano Sonatas /John Lill /Brilliant classics. His style is just too uniform for me, though there are a few interesting performances there.

    - Bruckner, 9 Symphonies /Paternostro /Membran. Performances that are often too sketchy and irregular., to a rare degree as regards released recordings. The 5th was OK, but not very interesting.

    - Michael Haydn Edition /Brilliant Classics 28CD box. There was just too many CDs where I found the music boring or poorly performed.

    - J.S.Bach. Cantatas /Leusink. Various box sets from the series. Primarily because of the countertenor appearing at times, Buwalda.

    - Haydn, Complete string quartets /Buchberger Quartet /Brilliant. I just prefer other recordings.

    - Carl Nielsen, Danacord CD Box of early piano music recordings. I had most of the stuff on LPS, and recent recordings just seem better & more interesting to me.

    One I really regret NOT buying when it was cheaply available is:
    Dalberto playing most of the piano music by Schubert /Brilliant Classics. I didn't know how good it apparently is, judging from samples, and then it was gone.

    And I like early and later Stokowski recordings ...
    Last edited by joen_cph; Oct-28-2021 at 18:48.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    The Harmonia Mundi box of Paul Lewis' Beethoven recordings. Dull as dishwater. Fortunately, it was cheap.

    The Philips box set of Haydn operas. Not because of the performances, but because there are no texts included. I can understand that for a set of Verdi, Mozart, or Wagner operas, but the Haydn operas are mostly pretty obsure.

    I have mild regret about the complete EMI set of Cziffra and Samson Francois - not that their playing isn't worthy. My regret is that if I'd waited a few years, I could have gotten the same recordings in a more attractive form (the new issues include original jackets).

    But there are lot more big sets that I regret *not* buying, like the RCA boxes devoted to Monteux and Munch.
    Last edited by wkasimer; Oct-28-2021 at 18:21.

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    ^ Interesting view on Paul Lewis! One doesn't hear that often. I haven't really heard them and haven't got any of his recordings myself though.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Another one I shouldn't have bought is the Klemperer Beethoven/Brahms/Bruckner mono box. It sounds pretty crappy. I should have got the stereo stuff on EMI/Warner.
    In Mahler I usually prefer the Solti approach -caveman having a seisure whips orchestra into a frenzy!! - Radames, TC member

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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I have mild regret about the complete EMI set of Cziffra and Samson Francois - not that their playing isn't worthy. My regret is that if I'd waited a few years, I could have gotten the same recordings in a more attractive form (the new issues include original jackets).
    I slightly regret the Francois, not only because of the flimsy sleeves but because of the many doublings of the same music I will never systematically listen to. But it was apparently cheap in my eyes when I bought it because I alreeady had a 10 disc box of Chopin and the Ravel/Debussy (which are the other "core" recordings) should have been available separately. It was a time when I had more space and spending money. But it was enough that I didn't get Cziffra (because here I had the Introuvables and Chopin, Liszt 5 disc boxes already).
    Although it has much higher production value I also slightly regret the big pink Rubinstein box. But I will keep both this one and the Francois. I sold a few smaller boxes several years ago that I didn't find interesting enough and could get reasonable prices, so I probably didn't lose money, just the time for putting them up on some selling platform, e.g. the DG original masters dedicated to Schneiderhan and Monique Haas (the latter was pretty good but I am just not enough into Debussy/Ravel to need another (mono?) recording of the stuff).

    I have a few more that mostly collect dust but I see them like an "encyclopedia".
    Last edited by Kreisler jr; Oct-28-2021 at 21:24.

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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    Another one I shouldn't have bought is the Klemperer Beethoven/Brahms/Bruckner mono box. It sounds pretty crappy. I should have got the stereo stuff on EMI/Warner.
    Is that the membran Klemperer with some pirated from EMI, some from the German Radio and some from live concerts in Vienna?
    It's truly a mixed back but ome of the Bruckner is actually more exciting than the EMI studio recordings. I think I paid less than 10 EUR for that one and more like 5 EUR for the garishly colored Koopman organ on Brilliant, so I regret nothing there. I put the Koopman discs into paper sleeves and these in another Bach organ box, so it doesn't take any space.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    A six-disc set of Bach organ works on Brilliant, played by Ton Koopman. I had no problems with the music or performances but as this was the early days of Brilliant Classics the sleeve notes were desultory to the point of non-existence. I've since collected much of what was on there on separate recordings and gave the box away.

    To me the music is more important than the sleeve notes. You can get the necessary information elsewhere, and this box was almost a steal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    The Harmonia Mundi box of Paul Lewis' Beethoven recordings. Dull as dishwater. Fortunately, it was cheap.
    I got the volumes individually, so it was expensive. I agree that Lewis hasn't got much to offer, but I have kept the CDs for completist reasons.
    Last edited by premont; Oct-28-2021 at 21:37.

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    Another mixed bag from the early days of Brilliant classics was a ca. 30 disc Handel box (they have since then had different Handel collections). They were all in separate jewel cases and together in a very sturdy but clumsy cardboard box. I mercilessly split this up and in the early 2000s (I probably got it in 2001 or 2002) one could actually sell the discs one didn't want on ebay for a few Euros. I still have some discs from that collection, some chamber music, the Brockes Passion (McGegan), a wonderful recording of the German arias with Auger, cantatas with Zadori etc.
    So I cannot say that I regret that one; I would never have heard some of these works back then, had it not been for a cheap box and the chamber music and Italian cantatas I must have played for hours at that time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    Among those sold were:

    - Beethoven, 32 Piano Sonatas /John Lill /Brilliant classics. His style is just too uniform for me, though there are a few interesting performances there.
    There are many fine interpretations in this set. The problem is the recording technique.

    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    - J.S.Bach. Cantatas /Leusink. Various box sets from the series. Primarily because of the countertenor appearing at times, Buwalda.
    Agree, particulaly the aversion against Buwalda, and the choir is so-so, but there are other fine things in this set eg. Holton and Ramselaar. Not to forget the expert instrumental contribution. And no Bach cantatas set is ideal, you have to own a few of these, if this is an area of interest for you.

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