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Switched-On Boxed Set [Box set, Enhanced, Best of]

Wendy Carlos Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Product Details


Disc: 1
1. Sinfonia to Cantata #29
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
Disc: 2
1. Orfeo Suite: Toccata/Ritornello I/Choro II/Ritornello II/Choro II/Ritor
2. Sonata in G Major
3. Sonata in D Major
4. Bourree
5. Air
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Badinerie
2. Minuet
3. Bourree
4. Two-Part Invention in A-Minor
5. Two-Part Invention in a Major
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
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

Product Description

Amazon.ca

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


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars editorial reviewer is clueless Dec 13 2003
Format:Audio CD
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.
"Wacky", "goofy", "hilarious" are words you use to describe a serious groundbreaking milestone in both classical and electronic music. You dismiss worldclass musicianship as a "battery of special effects". Shame!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning for me Oct. 20 2003
Format:Audio CD
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 component stereo system), I got addicted to Bach and then to classical music in general. What started out as a novelty album to me became a passion. My high school vice principal owned a music store, so guess what? I was maybe the only kid in school who got hallway updates on what new classical music had come in! Oh man, how does $2 sound for demo/overrun LPs? I got quite a collection that way. Miss those prices too! If a parent wanted to slip a musical mickey to his children, this might be just the "novelty" to do it, but please make no mistake, Carlos has created masterful interruptations here. These are serious Bach gems that you will grow to treasure. Odd, but yes I started a classical love affair with a synthesizer! Get this music.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic exercise in ingenuity.... Oct. 8 2003
By William
Format:Audio CD
This set of works on the synthesiser was actually among my first introductions to Bach, so cultivating my interest in classical (or more specifically 'baroque') music immeasurably. Given this, I think it would be safe to say, Wendy Carlos has achieved in this form a fantastic way of introducing people to classical music. It certainly is a fantastic exercise in ingenuity, on part of composer and performer, and if we allow ourselves to enter the world of the late 60's through 70's, this becomes even more apparent.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How to be hip and still keep Bach alive! July 18 2003
Format:Audio CD
Ok, a lot of reviews have stated how 'quaint' and 'clever' Ms Carlos has been in her years of synthesis. I think the most important thing has been overlooked..the pure joy of Bach, Scarlatti, Monteverdi. These compositions have withheld the test of time as being truly classic. What Ms Carlos has done is to bring them to the modern age in a new form while retaining the pure fun of them. Dont forget, these efforts were made in the analog time of Moogs..no polyphonics, no digital...just pure muscianship. I think it is a tribute that these recordings have been given the chance to shine again. Unlike Tomita and other synthisists..Carlos takes care to preserve the tonal quality of the original arrangements but still gives them a modern push. Hey, its just my opinion..but these recordings are among the finest made of these Baroque composers, even though they have been made thru an electonic machine. But, whoa..a machine is only as good as the person using it...being a keyboard player myself, Im steeped in the so called Prog Rock master like YES and ELP, but you notice how even they pay tribute to the classics. Sometimes the greatest high is either playing Bach or just listening and marvelling at the sheer beauty and fun of them. Do yourself a favor, buy this box set..you wont be sorry!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mathematical cheese July 26 2002
Format:Audio CD
There is something unique about baroque music interpreted on synthesizers. When I hear this stuff I feel very smart and intelectual.
This set is my favorite boxed set I've purchased so far. Although Wendy Carlos comes off as a pompous elitist academic in her interviews and writings, there is much "cheese factor" in her works that makes you forgive her for such snobism. I guess if you are a genius you can afford to be cheesy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome classic amoung classics July 9 2002
Format:Audio CD
For fans of Wendy Carlos, this is a super treat. All the excellent music she has created before anyone knew what electronic music was or would become. Super booklets with info to round out this music experience. Then too, the CDs have photos and kewl stuff on them to add still more interest.
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Historical, but rather dated Dec 25 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This boxed collection sets out to provide listeners with the definitive record of the Switched On Bach legacy. And it succeeds brilliantly, with near-perfect sound quality, two booklets full of text and pictures, four CDs, and extra audio and visual material.
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.
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