Technically, this isn't a reissue; it's rather a super-deluxe, 12-CD collection of previously unreleased archival recordings issued to mark the centennial of the Boston Symphony Orchestra's acoustical

Technically, this isn't a reissue; it's rather a super-deluxe, 12-CD collection of previously unreleased archival recordings issued to mark the centennial of the Boston Symphony Orchestra's acoustically revered Symphony Hall. Taking a cue from the New York Philharmonic's ground-breaking, best-selling series of archival boxed sets, the BSO—in league with IMG Artists, the London-based firm that consults the BBC for its wonderful "Legends" series—has taken the first-class route in every way with its initial such box. Unlike with the Philadelphia Orchestra's otherwise fine anniversary set, the BSO has spared no expense in the packaging, illustration, and annotation. The sound quality is often remarkably good, as it was painstakingly restored and mastered in 24-bit at Abbey Road, with the sources ranging from extremely rare off-air tapes to recent digital recordings. More than 40 works captured across 60 years are here, from Serge Koussevitzky conducting Anton Liadov's rarely heard From the Apocalypse in 1943 to Seiji Ozawa leading Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture in 2000. Ozawa's nearly 30-year tenure as music director is documented on two full discs, including a complete recording of Bartók's opera Bluebeard's Castle. Other highlights in this richly fascinating anthology include a disc of great French music under Charles Munch, as well as William Steinberg leading a Bruckner Eighth Symphony in "quadrophonic" sound and Leonard Bernstein performing the solo piano part in the 1949 premiere of his Age of Anxiety symphony. The who's who of maestri also includes Aaron Copland, Leopold Stokowski, Bruno Walter, Erich Leinsdorf, Pierre Monteux, Igor Markevitch, Rafael Kubelik, Michael Tilson Thomas, Bernard Haitink, Colin Davis, and Carlo Maria Guilini. Each of the set's six two-disc volumes feature individual program notes, while there is also a 140-page hardback overall booklet that features essays by Michael Steinberg and others, as well as reminiscences from veteran BSO players. Selling for $225, the boxed set is available via bso.org, as well as at select Virgin Megastores.—BB

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