Initially planned by DECCA, the OSR's historic record company, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ernest Ansermet's death in 2019, the long-awaited and often-heralded boxed set of the entire stereophonic recordings of the founder of our orchestra for the prestigious English label is finally available. If the wait was long, it is now well rewarded thanks to a publication of great care. Ecological by its total absence of plastic, this large box set sold at an economical price uses the original covers for the 88 CDs presented with a scientific apparatus that will delight music lovers and specialists alike. It contains all the details of the dates and places of recording (the Victoria Hall in Geneva for the majority of them), the dates of publication, original articles by the famous English musicologist Jon Tolansky and François Hudry, biographer of Ansermet and the OSR, who has also ensured the accuracy of this definitive edition.
In addition to this graphic festival of shimmering colours, we will also discover certain recordings hitherto known only in monophonic form, such as the Suite from L'Histoire du Soldat et de Renard (with Hugues Cuenod in the French version by C.F. Ramuz) by our friend Stravinsky, or Borodin's Symphonies, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra or Ravel's Shéhérazade with Suzanne Danco, whom Ansermet particularly liked. Among other rarities, we should mention a previously unreleased version of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Ravel's Waltz, as well as Beethoven's Symphonies 1 & 8 in their very first recording before the complete works that the OSR and its conductor would produce a little later.
It should be remembered that Ernest Ansermet, who was fascinated by new techniques, made the very first experimental DECCA stereo recording with the OSR in 1954 with Rimsky-Korsakov's Antar, whose flamboyant orchestration was particularly suited to this experiment. All of these CDs have been remastered from the original tapes to sound exactly as they did when they were first recorded on the tape recorders and mixers of the time. A similar boxed set of only the monophonic recordings is planned for 2024. More than fifty years after the death of its founder, the OSR's recordings still serve as a reference for their musicality and exceptional sound quality.
Box set available from 5 May to 29 June at the attractive price of CHF 250 at Très Classic - Rue du Diorama 16, 1204 Geneva