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 Box Set Selections, Boxed Set Selections - May 2018

La NilssonThis month’s picks include a mammoth centenary tribute to Birgit Nilsson, the complete works of Leonard Bernstein from Deutsche Grammophon, two boxes celebrating the sixtieth birthday of Harmonia Mundi, and collections focusing on Esa-Pekka Salonen, Joseph Keilberth, Sir Neville Marriner, Rafael Kubelik, and Michala Petri.

La Nilsson – Complete Decca, Philips & DG recordings

Birgit Nilsson (soprano)

Decca commemorate the centenary of the great Swedish dramatic soprano’s birth (which falls on Thursday) with a 79-CD box of 27 complete opera recordings, including Un ballo in maschera, Elektra and Salome under Sir Georg Solti, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Don Giovanni under Karl Böhm, and both conductors’ Ring Cycles, plus DVDs of Elektra at the Metropolitan Opera from 1980 and the acclaimed 1964 documentary The Golden Ring.

Available Format: 79 CDs + 2 DVD Videos

Bernstein: The Complete Works

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein

Deutsche Grammophon are marking another imminent hundredth birthday with this 26-CD box of Leonard Bernstein's complete works – many of them conducted by the composer himself or by his protégés, including Michael Tilson Thomas and Marin Alsop. The set includes numerous recordings made especially for the occasion, including a survey of his piano music from Katie Mahan.

Available Format: 26 CDs + 3 DVD Videos

Rafael Kubelík: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon

Rafael Kubelík

This 64-CD set includes complete Beethoven, Dvořák and Mahler symphonies, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, Janáček's Glagolitic Mass, Taras Bulba and Sinfonietta, and rarities such as Pfitzner’s Palestrina, Orff’s Oedipus der Tyrann, and two Tcherepnin piano concertos. Includes original cover-art and a 120-page booklet with new notes by Rob Cowan.

Available Format: 64 CDs + 2 DVD Videos

Esa-Pekka Salonen - The Complete Sony Recordings

Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen

61 CDs celebrating the Finnish conductor and composer’s relationship with three major orchestras: includes a complete Nielsen symphonies cycle with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Third and Fourth Symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (of which he is now Conductor Laureate), and Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex with the Philharmonia.

Available Format: 61 CDs

Joseph Keilberth: The Postwar Telefunken Recordings

Bamberger Symphoniker, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Joseph Keilberth

Released to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the German conductor’s death (which falls on 20th July), this 22-CD box includes the complete Brahms symphonies, Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel, and Don Juan, Mozart’s Haffner, Jupiter, Prague and Linz symphonies, and music by Reger, Hindemith, Smetana, Schubert, Bruckner and Dvořák.

Available Format: 22 CDs

Michala Petri - The Complete RCA Album Collection

Michala Petri (recorder)

17 albums from the Danish recorder virtuoso, including Scandinavian Moods, The Virtuoso Recorder, The Modern Recorder, Christmas with Michala Petri, transcriptions of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, and collaborations with I Solisti Veneti, Keith Jarrett and Lars Hannibal.

Available Format: 17 CDs

Generation harmonia mundi Vol. 1: The Age of Revolutions

Deller Consort, Les Arts Florissants, Collegium Vocale Gent and others

Harmonia Mundi celebrate their sixtieth birthday with two limited-edition boxed sets, of which this first volume focuses on recordings made between 1958 and 1988: highlights include Purcell’s King Arthur, Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes, Pergolesi’s Stabat mater, Schütz and Brahms motets, and collections of Italian madrigals and music from ancient Greece.

Available Format: 16 CDs

Generation harmonia mundi Vol. 2: The Family Spirit

Les Siècles, Freiburger Barockorchester, Pygmalion, Trio Wanderer and others

As well as numerous gems from the back catalogue (such as Andreas Scholl in Vivaldi) this retrospective on the label's past three decades also includes several very recent recordings such as Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Isabelle Faust, and François-Xavier Roth’s historically-informed account of Ravel's Ma mère l'Oye with Les Siècles, which was one of our April Recordings of the Week.

Available Format: 18 CDs

Massenet: Operas

Georges Prêtre, Michel Plasson, Lorin Maazel and others

Complete recordings of seven operas: Werther with Victoria de los Angeles and Nicolai Gedda, Manon with de los Angeles and Henri Legay, Thaïs with Beverly Sills and Sherrill Milnes, Don Quichotte with José van Dam and Teresa Berganza, Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame with Alain Vanzo, Sapho with Renée Doria, and Hérodiade with Cheryl Studer, Ben Heppner and Thomas Hampson.

Available Format: 16 CDs

Sir Neville Marriner: The Stuttgart Recordings

Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR, Sir Neville Marriner

This collection of recordings from the 1980s provides some fascinating glimpses of Marriner in Romantic and twentieth-century repertoire: includes the complete Schumann symphonies, Tchaikovsky’s orchestral suites, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Strauss’s Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegel and Metamorphosen, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Piano Concerto and An American in Paris, and music by Honegger, Britten, Barber, Bernstein and Copland.

Available Formats: 15 CDs, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Debussy: His First Performers

Claude Debussy (piano), Alfred Cortot (piano), Pierre Monteux, Arturo Toscanini and others

The composer himself performs La soirée dans Grenade and partners Mary Garden (the creator of Mélisande) in three Ariettes Oubliées on this 10-CD collection of recordings made between 1904 and 1963; also includes Walter Gieseking in Suite Bergamasque, Images and the first book of Préludes, Toscanini conducting La mer, and Poulenc joining mezzo Claire Croiza for Il pleure dans mon coeur.

Available Formats: 10 CDs, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Sir Simon Rattle – Essence of an Era

Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle

A 7-DVD collection including Rattle’s first Tosca (filmed in Baden-Baden at Easter 2017 with Kristine Opolais in the title-role), New Year’s Eve concerts from 2006 and 2017 (with Mitsuko Uchida and Joyce DiDonato as the respective soloists), and American Night from the Waldbühne from 1995, featuring music by Gershwin and Bernstein.

Available Format: 7 DVD Videos

The Asia Tour

Yuja Wang (piano), Seong-Jin Cho (piano), Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle

5 SACDS and 1 Blu-ray capturing the two concerts which Rattle gave at Suntory Hall Tokyo at the end of his tour of Asia with the Berliner Philharmoniker in November 2017: Strauss’s Don Juan, Stravinsky’s Petrushka, Brahms’s Fourth Symphony, Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony, Ravel’s Piano Concerto (with Seong-Jin Cho), Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Yuja Wang), and Unsuk Chin’s Chorós Cordón, which Rattle commissioned especially for the tour.

Available Format: 5 SACDs + Blu-ray