The Original Jacket Collection,Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

LEONARD BERNSTEIN The Original Jacket Collection PRODUCERS: various Sony Classical 89750 VLADIMIR HOROWITZ The Original Jacket Collection PRODUCERS: various Sony Classcial 89765

Sony Classical is in the midst of turning to Legacy—Sony's pop and jazz reissue division—with the goal of finding more effective ways of marketing its great back catalog. What shouldn't get lost in the shuffle, though, is this lovely, if rather quixotic, pair of boxed sets. The latest in Sony Classical's line of "Original Jacket" series (following releases devoted to Igor Stravinsky and Glenn Gould), the 10-CD sets feature 10 classic LP programs from conductor/ composer Leonard Bernstein and pianist Vladimir Horowitz. The Bernstein collection includes some items not reissued in Sony's bargain-priced "Bernstein Century" line, including an estimable pair of Haydn symphonies and the Sibelius Fifth Symphony; also here are peerless performances of Mahler, Ives, Gershwin, and Bernstein's own ageless music. The Horowitz set includes some justly world-famous recordings, including entire "LPs" of Scarlatti, Chopin, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, and Scriabin. Frankly, the mini-LP re-creations are a bit trainspotter-ish in look and stingy in terms of CD playing time; yet they have real appeal in certain markets (particularly Japan), and the often marvelously remastered sound is as good as it's ever going to be (this side of Super Audio CD). As enticing attractions for an ever-rarer breed—the classical collector—these sets have their place, particularly at midprice.—BB

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