As I've said numerous times previously, I'll say one more time.
Box Sets 1 and 2 bring back into print 100+ of the previously-issued CDs. A few of the single titles
remain in retail channels here and there, but they are officially out of print. Many of the
individual titles had been out of retail for several years. Box Set 1 was recently re-printed for
Europe and Asia (and the last I heard, the reprint was fully sold through into retail). Box Set 2 is
still widely available.
Box set 2 contains two previously-unreleased newly-remastered discs - the mono "Rite of Spring" by
Dorati (different remaster from the Rite 100th anniversary box set) and the premiere recording of
the Corigliano Piano Concerto with Hilde Somer and the San Anotnio Symphony. Included on that disc
is a rare interview with Corigliano and Somer, thanks again to the NYPL for their assistance with
As I clearly told David previously, if you bought the original single CDs, there is no reason to buy
the box sets except for booklet copy and the bonus CDs in box set 2 (the bonus CD in box set 1 was
an old promo CD released to radio stations when the first mono remasters came out). The book in Box
Set 1 is a reprint of the main copy from the You Are There "Compactoteque" book/CD set that came out
in the mid-90s. People in North America may not be familiar with it, but it was widely marketed
elsewhere. It shows up on eBay frequently. The booklet in Box Set 2 is all new writing, by Mike Gray
and myself. There are also some previously-unpublished photos in Box Set 2 booklet.
There may be a third box set. It will bring back into print the remainder of the old single-album
titles. There will likely be more bonus material to fill out that set (hopefully more
newly-remastered material, but budgets are very tight), and another all-new booklet.
One thing to note about the box sets. All of the CDs are stamped from the parts made at the Hanover
Germany plant. These are different glass masters and manufacturing parts from what came out of North
Carolina and was used for the USA issues in the 90s. Some people in the audiophile circles have
claimed to hear differences and claim the German discs are "better." Since they are bit-identical, I
can't figure out what these folks are hearing except that the older USA discs may cause more
playback jitter in their machines. The USA discs had snooth surfaces all the way to the center-hole
and were heavier. In some players, perhaps this causes mechanical issues? Newer CDs are lighter
weight and are "grippy" textured plastic at the center. Since David already has the contents of Box
1, perhaps he'll do some comparative listening and report if he hears any differences. Original USA
discs in the single albums will say PDO somewhere in the center of the disc or Made In USA on the
disc. I think USA-manufacture discs were sold in Canada, at least until the late 90s.
One final bit of Mercury news. There is a 10CD Janos Starker set coming out soon. This is Starker's
original Mercury albums, back in original sequence, with original cover art and liner notes (notes
reprinted in the booklet so the text is readable). The booklet includes a new biographical essay,
some previously-unpublished photos, and an essay about recording by Starker himself. Just to be
perfectly clear, if you own the original MLP CDs or the box sets, you already have this Starker
material on CD.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "DAVID BURNHAM" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 10:18 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Mercury Living Presence Vol. 1
> After tossing it back and forth for a while I finally decided to purchase the MLP box volume 1.
> After my dealer said it was no longer available through regular suppliers and constantly seeing it
> on Amazon for around $200, I found somebody selling it for $119 so I bought it. I finally got it
> yesterday and before I even got the cellophane off of it, I found it again on Amazon for $112; oh
> well! What I was really looking forward to was the interview with Wilma Cozart Fine and the
> booklet, (I don't know why but I was surprised to hear Ms. Fine's southern accent - sounds like
> Arkansas or Texas). I had been forewarned by Tom Fine that the masterings were the same ones that
> were issued in the mid-90s, I say "forewarned" not because there was anything wrong with that but
> because I had told him that I had bought that whole series as it came out. For no good reason, I
> thought that some of the earlier mono recordings which weren't released in the '90s
> would be included, like the Chicago Brahms Symphony 1. I was a little surprised when I put on the
> interview CD and was barely comfortable in my chair when it was over. I thought it would be much
> longer, but it's only 7 or 8 minutes at the most, including two musical excerpts from the first
> couple of discs. I don't regret getting it because it's nice to have them all conveniently boxed
> for playing in the car. Now I'll toss around buying volume 2 for a while.