Various Artists

Global Journey: Masters Classics

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Global Journey's The Masters Classics has many serious problems due to extremely poor recording quality and inadequate mastering; and even though the conductors and orchestras on this disc are legendary, their performances are difficult to appreciate for their dreadful reproduction and less-than-ideal condition. The recordings vary between horribly abrasive or suffocatingly boxy, and it almost doesn't matter that we're hearing historic performances -- in many cases live -- led by such important figures as Karl Böhm, Arturo Toscanini, Thomas Beecham, Dimitri Mitropoulos, and a young Herbert von Karajan, because the excessive noises make these recordings almost unlistenable. Admirers of these conductors may take the time and trouble to suffer through this collection, but the pieces are extremely familiar and not many people will put up with all the crackling surface defects and muffled tone to hear Böhm lead the Vienna Philharmonic through the Allegro of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Toscanini conduct the NBC Symphony Orchestra in Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, or Karajan direct the Philharmonia Orchestra in Sibelius' Finlandia. These warhorses and everything else here can be heard in better renditions with clean analog or digital sound. Considering that these are old recordings that have fallen out of copyright, and the sound quality is inferior, listeners should avoid this unpleasant album.

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