I totally agree with you notes about the significance of the success of the
Decca Mono box, and the even greater success of the Fricsay Edition Volume
1 (sold out in Europe for the most part, still available in the USA from
some Amazon Marketplace vendors) and the Sony Richter set.
The most significant fact regarding these sets: they are entirely of
European origination, not Asian. The trend for these compilations certainly
started in Korea. The first Mercury set was produced fro the Asian market,
and the first two Karajan boxes were entirely Korean productions that then
got international versions with slightly different packaging. Two excellent
but very expensive Westminster boxes also originated from the same
timeframe. And Universal Korea continues with the Solti boxes modeled after
the Karajan sets. I admit the Korean versions are packaged better - the
boxes are sturdier, the sleeves of better quality, and commonly the Koreans
include and inner wrapping for each CD that should lengthen lifespan and
But lately the European arms of the legacy classical label
conglomerates have picked the ball on their without
Asian-specific-versions. The second and third Mercury boxes, and the
recently issued third (1980s) and forthcoming fourth Karajan (Opera
recordings, 70 CDs) boxes have not, to my knowledge, had Korean versions
but were created from the start for the international market. This trend
alone suggests we can expect much more in the near future at affordable
prices with relatively easy purchasing avenues.
On my wish list from the Universal folks are Philips and DG boxes that
compliment the Decca Mono box, more Mercury mono recordings, and a lot more
from the Westminster catalog (especially instrumental and
On Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 9:59 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
> Hi Wade:
> Thanks for the nice words/observations.
> Two points:
> 1. I never say never about the unreleased part of the catalog. We may not
> do a 50+CD box set "as one of a group" with these box sets, but who knows?
> There's more MLP in the works right now, more details later. The mono
> recordings you cite are very much on my mind if the opportunity presents
> itself in the future. I have noted the positive reception in the
> marketplace for the new Decca Mono Era box set.
> 2. Your point about the Capriccio is interesting and I will do some
> compartive listening and bring up the master tracks of both stereo and mono
> issue in a DAW so I can look closely. There is a hand-written entry in the
> otherwise type-written MLP session book showing Capriccio "MG50054B"
> recorded 12/22/55. There is no other entry for that piece being recorded in
> Minneapolis, and Mercury did record stereo and mono on that 12/22/55
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Wade Lewis" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 12:32 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury Living Presence 3
> well My copy of vol 3 arrived, sent from Amazon German location though I
>> purchased it from Amazon Italy. All the discs appear to be correct so
>> is one good thing. My thanks go to Tom Fine for his participation in this
>> What I am sorry about is that from the documentation, this is the last
>> volume that will be issued. This means there is a significant group of
>> Mercury recordings that will never be available in high quality CD
>> transfers. That includes most of the mono orchestral issues (especially
>> remaining Kubeliks, the Dorati Sleeping Beauty and various Hansons), ALL
>> chamber music monos and a still sizeable number of Stereo items, whether
>> missing individual tracks or whole LPs. This makes me sad as, having
>> a large block of time relistening to the existing CD issues has reinforced
>> my impression of the entire catalog as a major statement of the quality of
>> recordings made by Mercury in the 1950s-60s.
>> I am happy that I have almost all the monos in my LP collection but now it
>> seems that i will be running around trying to find good condition Stereo
>> once I determine which ones are outstanding as unreleased CD items.
>> My OTHER observation is the wonderful quality of the graphics of the
>> original LP covers. The boldness of the designs certainly matched the
>> statements made by the recordings themselves.
>> Finally, looking at the recording dates, it is interesting to see that the
>> Capriccio italien on the Stereo 1812/Wellington's Victory CD in vol 1 is
>> same recording that appears in Vol 3 along with the mono 1812. I had
>> wondered if they were the same or different recordings.