Switched-On Boxed Set Enhanced, Best of, Box set
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|2. Air on a G String|
|3. Two-Part Invention in F Major|
|4. Two-Part Invention in B-Flat Major|
|5. Two-Part Invention in D Minor|
See all 14 tracks on this disc
|1. Orfeo Suite: Toccata/Ritornello I/Choro II/Ritornello II/Choro II/Ritor|
|2. Sonata in G Major|
|3. Sonata in D Major|
See all 14 tracks on this disc
|4. Two-Part Invention in A-Minor|
|5. Two-Part Invention in a Major|
See all 14 tracks on this disc
|1. Brandenburg Concerto #1 in F Major: I. Allegro|
|2. Brandenburg Concerto #1 in F Major: II. Adagio|
|3. Brandenburg Concerto #1 in F Major: III. Allegro|
|4. Brandenburg Concerto #1 in F Major: IV. Menuuetto, Trio I, Polocca, Trio|
|5. Brandenburg Concerto #2 in F Major: I. Allegro|
See all 10 tracks on this disc
In 1968, keyboardist-composer Wendy Carlos released Switched-On Bach, her bestselling LP featuring baroque music performed on the Moog synthesizer. Carlos intended to spread the gospel of electronic classical music through this quirky release; instead, she sold more albums than Karlheinz Stockhausen could ever dream of, released a few follow-ups, and paved the way for Hot Butter's "Popcorn." Carlos has since become well known for more than just these wacky classical interpretations--she recorded the soundtracks to A Clockwork Orange and Tron and released new works--but the Switched-Ons are the goofy synthesizer recordings that most of us still remember.
No less than Glenn Gould proclaimed, "Carlos's realization of the Fourth Brandenburg Concerto is, to put it bluntly, the finest performance of any of the Brandenburgs--live, canned, or intuited--I've ever heard." We're not sure what he meant by that, but if you have half the enthusiasm Gould did for this music, check out this box set. All four of Carlos's baroque-gone-space-age LPs from the '70s are included here--Switched-On Bach, The Well-Tempered Synthesizer, Switched-On Bach II, and Switched-On Brandenburgs--completely remastered in all their stereophonic glory and containing bonus tracks (the fourth CD is even enhanced for use on your computer). The liner notes weigh in at around 150 pages, filled with photos and background information even on the evolution of Carlos's studio (you get the original LP notes in their entirety, too). The music? It's hilarious, absolutely riveting, and--whether Scarlatti, Bach, Handel, or Monteverdi--played successfully by Carlos and her battery of special effects. For the lover of the eclectic or the classical fan who knows how to let loose, this is a box set to get. --Jason Verlinde
Top Customer Reviews
As one reviewer has said, the accompanying notes, provide a curiously fascinating insight into how the creation of these recordings came about, with Carlos' almost exhaustive description of every step of the way. I suspect this to be, for those who were caught up in this wave of the day, in some form, quite nostalgic.
The behemoth celebrity status that these recordings possess of their own accord, befits the resounding success they achieved. That one could be too partial to these recordings, is almost the premise of fiction.
For anyone who has NOT experienced Switched On Bach and this whole set, you are about to encounter a revolution at the point where the first volley is fired. It is a very respectful rendition of classical Bach (and others) in an electronic form.
I bought the original S-on-B on 7" open reel tape when it first appeared. Wore it OUT!! Watched for it to come along on CD a few decades later and bought it. Harder to wear that one out, but it one of my favorites from any genre. Now this set is taking over my CD changer.
Owning this historical piece of music makes me feel the same as if I were standing on the beach at Kitty Hawk, NC watching those brothers and their bicycle contraption.
The problem is the music itself is such a mix of highs and lows. At best, the results are extremely musical and satisfying, illuminating the inner lines of Baroque counterpoint with crispness and verve. But in other places things don't quite hold together - the notes are all there, perfectly played and arranged, but some of the poetry seems to be missing. And the (thankfully rare) worst moments sound like a bad PC soundcard playing a MIDI file.
The highlight of the collection is undoubtedly The Well Tempered Synthesizer, which has some wonderfully rich-sounding arrangements, but also keeps the fun of the best parts of SOB, before Carlos and Elkind began to take themselves and their work too seriously - the kind of fun and exuberance that makes the interpolated 2nd movement of the 3rd Brandenburg such a joy to listen to.
But in general, many of the other performances tend towards diamond-hard perfectionism rather than warmth and flow, and this is underscored by the bitty percussiveness of much of the synthesizer programming.
Overall then, this collection is perhaps more interesting as a historical record than a stand-out listening experience. It certainly has its moments, which work as well today as they ever did. But for sheer adventuresome musicality and colour, Carlos can't compare to synthesists like Tomita, who sacrificed idiomatic perfection and correctness for a richer, more poetically creative overall result.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Jason Verlinde (editorial review) are you nuts? I seems that you intended to write a favorable review but you clearly have no understanding of the music. Read morePublished on Dec 13 2003 by David W. Skinner
What can I say about the influence Switched On Bach has had on my musical life? Back in 1968, between this album and my high school music appreciation teacher (and his awesome... Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2003 by Jerry D. Murphree
There is something unique about baroque music interpreted on synthesizers. When I hear this stuff I feel very smart and intelectual. Read morePublished on July 26 2002 by Ismael Cordero
Wendy Carlos changed the world in 1968 when Switched-On-Bach appeared. The Modular synthesizer became the foundation of music, ushering in the loop-based electronica we hear... Read morePublished on Oct. 26 2001 by Mark D Burgh
This boxed set is amazing! These tunes came out of my parents speakers when I was just a tike, and I'm so glad to have them for my own now as an adult! Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2001 by Dennis Stevens
Not worth the money. Last track on each CD is Wendy droning about the technical aspects of producing each set, etc. Read morePublished on July 4 2001
I always thought that presenting classical music through different styles and instruments was a good thing. Read morePublished on June 13 2001 by email@example.com
I was totally hooked when Sitched on Bach was first released. Over the years my wife would yell at me to turn it down when I was listening with a headset on and she could still... Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2001
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