Readers Digest Classical Collections should be reissued


Someone should talk to Analogue Productions to make a limited run of the Beethoven Cycle and A Festival in Light Classical Music by Readers Digest.  Every time I listen to them I cannot believe these have been overlooked as they are some of the best classical recordings and performances available.  Chesky did reissue a few on vinyl but most were just on CD and they could have been better.  I cannot believe with all the Living stereo reissues that these have been overlooked.  They are just as good as any Living Stereo if not better.  They are some of Deccas finest.  Does anyone know why these have been avoided?  Seems strange as I would think most audiophiles would be all over these.
tzh21y
Totally agree and thanks for the reminder. I just ordered the five cassette version of the Readers Digest light classical pieces. It don't get much better than that.
Still too many of them available at thrift stores in like new shape for $1 per whole box set
Yeah, well, assuming you can lift them.

I've had great success stopping at EVERY at Goodwill  I pass while driving around.

Box sets of unmolested discs for a couple of bucks. You just have to sift through the Pat Boone and Wayne Newton albums to find a good one.

Last find was a Sibelius collection. Being more of a casual fan of Classical, the Readers Digest series are fantastic. Decent sonics along with great music on the cheap!

Nearly  as good as some of my "real"  RCA,Columbia, DG....period albums.

Many of the Readers Digest sets were pressed by RCA in their Indianapolis plant, and recorded by Kenneth Wilkinson who was a Decca engineer that recorded many of RCA's projects in Europe.

As a result the sound on many of them is superbe.
Twin Cities is Goodwill capital of the world .
All the Readers Digest albums I've see were ground to death
in someone's GE console tracking at 10 grams .
Not to rub it in but the 5 cassette version of the Readers Digest Light Classical Music is like new and "made exclusively for Readers Digest by RCA." Yippee! Tape is a natural medium. It breathes.
Ten years ago I got back into vinyl and immediately started buying records on the cheap. At St. Vincent DePaul's I found a Reader's Digest box set called "South of the Border" with a lot of Latin music. I pulled out a disk. It not only looked unworn, it gleamed like new. At home it proved to be a really well-played, recorded, and mastered set.

I soon came to realize that many of these subscription box sets seldom got played. I stumbled onto most of Time/Life's "Great Men of Music"series at a Goodwill. Each box (priced at $1) featured selected works of a great composer (e.g., Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Debussy, Brahms, Ravel, etc.), all the music culled from the RCA Living Stereo series performed by the great artists RCA had on contract in the '60s--Heifetz, Piatagorsky, Artur Rubinstein,.. I got them all (at least a dozen) for $1 ea. at a Goodwill.

Speaking of Reader's Digest records, I have the Acoustic Sounds 45 rpm reissue of "The Power of the Orchestra". It's labeled as a Living Stereo reissue, but I read somewhere that that title originated as a Reader's Digest product.
Thank you thank you for this heads up. Regretfully I just passed on a readers box set this last weekend at my local DAV. It was in great shape but because it said Readers Digest I foolishly did not even give it a chance. 

as far as i know, the festival in light classical music, the Beethoven Cycle with Rene Leibowitz, and I believe their is one more from this era from  the late fifties and early sixties that are the ones to have.  they are true Decca recordings.  many of the Readers Digest Box sets are in Mono so you have to look for the ones that say cyclophonic miracle sound. on the records they actually say "stereophonic" on the records.  These are for all intensive purposes Living Stereo recordings.  I had a hard time finding a stereophonic copy.  Most I see are mono.  Pomp and Circumstance and Night on Bald Mountain on this album is amazing.  It was released by Chesky on an lp called Sir Adrian Boult Concert favorites on 180 gram vinyl by RTI.  It is rare and I have only seen a few copies.  It is amazing and just as good as the Ballet on Soria.  A true show off your system record.
"as far as i know, the festival in light classical music, the Beethoven Cycle with Rene Leibowitz, and I believe their is one more from this era from the late fifties and early sixties that are the ones to have. they are true Decca recordings. many of the Readers Digest Box sets are in Mono so you have to look for the ones that say cyclophonic miracle sound. on the records they actually say "stereophonic" on the records. These are for all intensive purposes Living Stereo recordings."

tzh21y- that’s some useful info for the next trip,Thanks. That vintage sounds like is a rare find. I’ve only scored 70’s editions, which are quite common.
Not quite the quality you speak of, but good music, and cheap.

Speaking of "a true show of your system record." I’m willing to bet there’s a "Fanfare for the Common Man" in a compilation of Copland. That’s what I’d love to find.
Speaking of "a true show of your system record." I’m willing to bet there’s a "Fanfare for the Common Man" in a compilation of Copland. That’s what I’d love to find.
I have the Copland box of the Time/Life "Great Men of Music," and yes, "Fanfare for the Common Man" is one of the many pieces in that box, Disk 1, track 1 specifically. It's particularly close to my heart because that fanfare was commisioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1943. Eugene Goossens was the conductor at the time, and he commissioned 10 such fanfares among as many contemorary composers as a patriotic tribute during WWII. For context, after his 15-yr stint in Cincinnati, Goossens became musical director in Sydney, Australia, and was a primary influence in getting the iconic Sydney Opera House built.

Agree, they really are plentiful.  So are the "Philharmonic family of great music" and the "Basic library of the worlds greatest music" LP collections.  I think I bought both complete set in unplayed condition at garage sales for just a few dollars.  Same with thr Readers Digest collections.

My Son who has thousands of classicsl CD's is alwasy amazed at how good some of these older recordings are.  Not to mention the musicianship.  These record mostlt comprise my modest classical collection.  (I know, but I am a Jazz nut)

N.


Now this is the type of post that gets me excited! I never would have thought to look for these LP sets. Guess what I'll be doing this weekend!

I'll post back what I find and when. I'm in the Allentown, Pa. area. I hope no ones cleared out our local thrift stores yet. Thank you all in advance. Joe

"I have the Copland box of the Time/Life "Great Men of Music," and yes, "Fanfare for the Common Man" is one of the many pieces in that box, Disk 1, track 1 specifically."

Johnnyb53- Now on my radar,thanks!
These box finds at least in my neck of the woods, always seem to be played maybe 1-2 times and then shelved. If only I could find that Blue Note mono or Parlophone Beatles in these same bins...sigh.

Well, all this talk about RD box sets has now made them "desirable"
and the market will respond by upping the price to maybe $3.00.
thanks guys,for spoiling the ride!


As for Copland, another great recording is on the Sheffield Box set called Moscow Sessions.  It has Appalachian Spring on it done by the Moscow Philharmonic.  It is another record that you see once in a while but it is a great recording of Appalachian Spring mastered by I believe Stan Ricker.  It is a recording I see more on cd than on vinyl but it was issued on vinyl.  Great set.
actually it was Stan Ricker and Doug Sax on the Moscow Sessions.
Tzh21y-

Good info. My only copy of "Fanfare" is a scratchy 6 eye Columbia 
"history" disc that your grade school teacher would play in the classroom.

Its  Eugene Ormandy with the Philly philharmonic, and despite the quality, the performance/sonics are shockingly good. I'd like to find whatever the  album this was on.

The sets featuring the Hollywood Bowl orchestra with Leonard Pennario on piano are quite good. 

The reason so many of these box sets are in mint condition is that mostly older folks subscribed to "the club." They got played maybe one time, and quite possible only the first couple of LP's in the box, never to be opened again. 
Another worth while ones to look for are the Franklin Mint "100 Greatest Recordings of All Time." I have a complete set in mint condition ... but I paid full boat for them at the time. Today, they can be bought really cheap. All of them are on heavy red vinyl. The historical stuff isn't that great sounding, but there's a Brahms set that is really great.