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Landmarks: 40 Years
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Audio CD, Box set, Import, 5 July 2019
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- Product Dimensions : 15.6 x 13.69 x 10.21 cm; 1.16 Kilograms
- Manufacturer : Chandos
- Original Release Date : 2019
- Label : Chandos
- ASIN : B07RB897H2
- Country of origin : USA
- Number of discs : 40
- Best Sellers Rank: 26,484 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Founded by Brian Couzens in 1979, Chandos quickly established itself as one of the world's leading classical labels. The 'Chandos Sound' has become a benchmark for quality, renowned alike among artists and critics around the globe. From its inception, Chandos has specialised in recording British music, and in bringing lesser-known (and unknown) music to public attention. Released to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the label, this handsomely packaged 40-disc set comprises 40 complete recordings from Chandos' extensive catalogue. Each of the four decades is represented, and each recording has been hand-picked by the Managing Director, Ralph Couzens, because it represents a turning point, or 'Landmark', in the development of the label.
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So in this box you get 40 of the significant recordings over the last 40 years, along with a minuscule booklet. But the focus is on the material. There's a huge range of music here, from almost every era in classical music history, all the way up to colliery brass bands (which, as an Englishman who lived in the north of England, I love!). These are not the "hits": there's no complete Beethoven cycle, no set of Mahler symphonies, and very little you'll find in other box sets. Instead, it's packed with great composers who most people may not know well, and works that are perhaps not mainstream. And that's what's wonderful about the box: almost every CD will be a discovery for most listeners. Wading through all 40 CDs, I was surprised to find I had less than a third on LP and CD already, and I have a relatively large collection of music.
There's some superb music here. One CD I've bought separately and that is in my constant replay list is Wilson's superb presentation of Copland's Third Symphony, a truly stunning recording. Another standout is the American Piano Concerto CD with Xiayin Wang (reviewed separately). There's a cornucopia here, covering classical eras like no other box and mixing in a few brass band CDs to add to the interest. There's also a number of discs that feature composers I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of classical music fans have never heard of, so this is a great exposure to new composers and works!
The recordings are all superlative: Chandos engineering has been consistently excellent over all 40 years. A few recordings stand out for me, but each listener will have their own favourites. And these are not "third-rate" conductors and soloists; these are top-level performances and artists. A truly wonderful box for the money, and if you're a classical music fan, this is a must-have box at a great price. The box set of the year for me, and a collection I'm sure will be in constant use in my listening room! In the month I've had this box, it's been in constant use.