Remember those big box sets from Brilliant Classics? When the Mozart was first released, it sold – if I recall correctly – a couple hundred thousand copies in Europe. It was going for around €200 at first, and eventually went down to less than €50. And, it made Brilliant Classics into a major player, and caused other classical labels to lower their prices on box sets.
Brilliant Classics has updated those two sets over the years; I had the first version of the Bach set, and later got the second one (I won it in a contest!). I think there were a dozen or so discs that were different, probably because of licensing agreements. It is a very good set, with some excellent recordings, and some that are mediocre, but, for what it cost, it’s quite a good deal.
Well, Brilliant Classics is updating those two sets again, and the prices aren’t so nice (at least not yet). The J. S. Bach Complete Edition is on 142 discs (the previous version had 155), and is listed at $200, or £125. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)
I don’t need the Bach; I have all of his works, many in multiple recordings, in other editions. (And I still have the second version of the set, unopened.) As for the Mozart, I’m tempted; I don’t have a lot of Mozart, other than the piano sonatas and concertos, string quartets, and symphonies. At these prices, it’s worth getting the sets even if some of the recordings aren’t very good.
One thing I hope to see soon is these big box sets sold by download. Imagine if, instead of having to rip 170 CDs of Mozart, you could download the whole thing – or even buy the set on the iTunes Store or from Amazon and download just what you want – and save time, and a lot of shelf space? This time will come, but it’s not here yet.