It's a tall order to compile the best classical music of the twentieth century, but EMI has selected its top 100 classics for this six-disc set, and it's difficult to argue with most of the choices. Without taking sides in the great ideological debates of the modern era – traditionalist vs. avant-garde, tonal vs. atonal, styles vs. schools, and so on – the label has picked the composers whose reputations seem most secure at the turn of the twenty-first century and has chosen representative excerpts of their music. Certainly, the titans of modernism are here, such as Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Béla Bartók, Dmitry Shostakovich, Sergey Prokofiev, Claude Debussy, and Benjamin Britten, to name just a few masters, but they don't cast such a large shadow that they eclipse either their more backward-looking predecessors or their more experimental successors.
Ernest Ansermet enthusiasts will be thrilled by the items chosen for inclusion in this six-disc set dedicated to the Swiss conductor with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the orchestra he founded and led. Many of them are first international CD releases – Haydn's Symphony No. 22, Beethoven's Symphony No. 4, and Sibelius' Symphony No. 4, along with nine others – while some of them are well-known and well-loved recordings from the conductor's huge catalog – Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite, Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin, and Honegger's Le roi David, along with 14 others.