Great Composers & Their Music

Home > Art, Music & Literature > Great Composers & Their Music
This series provides a fascinating background into the life and times of a major composer, plus key musical works.

We have come across at least 3 different releases, all Marshall Cavendish, all issued at different times and with different part numbers identifying much the same works. One of these, in 30 parts issued around 1995, involved a fat double CD case with music on one side and a mini-magazine tucked into the other. In some cases, even when you think it's the same series because the works and magazine numbers coincide, it turns out the performances may be different. To make matters worse, some of the later operatic issues came out with the same appearance but different numbers, usually when the LP was superceded by CD. 

My guess is that the literature was the hardest part to produce and has remained more or less current whereas the recording media have changed enormously over the period. An informant who was involved with the series told us that rights issues were particularly complex for this series, so that also explains the discrepancies. Maybe one day it will all come out on DVD.

Meanwhile, we'll begin by listing what we believe to be the earliest release, from around 1985. We have most of the LPs including some still in their original plastic sleeves and never played. We also have many issues on cassette. It's also possible to find CD versions of the first release but these came a little later.

The magazine collections are easily identified because they are often housed in black hardback binders with gold lettering, the mags being held in place with long plastic retaining strips. The mags for this edition have a centre-placed box with the title 'Great Composers'.

The issues 53-65 are devoted to great works of Opera and, because they came as an add-on to the original release, are generally harder to find. The CD version was still being published as late as 1993. There followed a 2-3 year gap then the whole series was released again, completely revamped - see separate listing for the 1996 Edition.