The box set comprised 100 volumes featuring 72 pianists of the 20th century, each volume with two CDs and a booklet about the life and work of the featured pianist. The set contains a variety of composers from different eras, from Baroque to Contemporary classical.
Phillips' Great Pianists of the 20th Century issue has gotten a lot of publicity in the ten or so years since it has been released. In a musical niche suffering from falling revenues, it was a decent seller. But it left many connoisseurs disappointed, as the quality was limited to the fancy packaging.
It goes without saying that recording has transformed music from an evanescent art to one which can be readily preserved for the study and enjoyment of future generations. the EMI Great Conductors Edition - Nikolai Golovanov Among its services is the perpetuation of the art of musicians who were barely known in their time outside their own immediate spheres of influence. Golovanov surely was among these. Although he was the dominant force in Russian opera for nearly thirty years, he was summarily purged in 1952 (literally refused admission to his opera house one morning), died the following year and was conveniently forgotten as a political imperative of Soviet rewriting of Russian cultural history. Only recently have his records resurfaced to reveal an extraordinary outsized personality, a visionary galaxies apart from the polished discipline of Mravinsky and others who better towed the party line, both politically and aesthetically, and whose art has been touted as representing the Soviet ideal. Over half this set is devoted to five Liszt tone poems from Golovanov's pioneering set.