Saturday, January 15, 2011

Box o' joy

The new Swedish royal couple must be
very pleased that I purchased this set.

I think most of you will agree with me here, but the word “joy” is very rarely mentioned in the same sentence as Pettersson. Nevertheless, I hope you don’t mind me sticking in my brand of sarcasm or clumsy attempts at humor here.

Ever since I became a Pettersson fan in the late 90’s I have been steadily accumulating the CPO discs one by one. Up until recently I had about 60% of the discs, with access to the rest of them through the library.

As many of you know, CPO released a box set of the complete symphonies fairly recently. A few weeks ago, I was checking out the CPO website and noticed that this set was on sale for approximately 50€, which is an absolute steal, considering how there are 12 discs.

Although us Pettersson fans owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to CPO for seeing this project through, I’m going to use this space to air a few small complaints. This is the first CPO box set I have purchased, but I have read elsewhere (maybe seen as well) that CPO typically just takes the individual CD releases and puts them in a box. If you look at the timings of the individual discs, the whole lot could probably be squeezed onto 11 CDs, maybe 10, if the pieces were properly rearranged.

Paper sleeves rather than jewel cases?
You can also see from the photos that a much smaller box could have been used if each CD were packaged in a paper slip rather than an individual jewel case. Further space could be saved if just one booklet were included, rather than 12. In each booklet, the introductory section on Pettersson is essentially the same, so now I have 12 copies of the same text (in three languages too!). It would have also been nice if some new essays were commissioned for the occasion.

I realize that some record companies do the opposite: once all the individual recordings have been completed for a box set, everything else is stripped away except for the music. That means reduced liner notes, omitted librettos, etc…

Some CDs have a bit of extra space on them.
Anyway, these are small quibbles. 50€ is a small price to pay for enlightenment (that was sarcasm), regardless of the packaging. I am sure that most of the die-hard Pettersson fans already acquired all the CPO discs before this box set came out, but at this price, this set is essential for anyone looking to fill out their Pettersson collection--or for those who seek enlightenment.

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