Music: Glory from a Golden Past

A great orchestra issues a set of its legendary radio performances

At a time when the classical market is glutted with multiple recordings of the same old compositions, the New York Philharmonic has charted a more satisfying route back to the future. Delving into its recording archives, the orchestra has issued The Historic Broadcasts: 1923 to 1987, a dazzling 10-CD set that offers 32 live and unedited radio performances by 21 of the century's most celebrated conductors and 18 of its legendary soloists.

The performances were culled from hundreds of hours of recordings by Sedgwick Clark, a musicologist and critic, who has sought to showcase the Philharmonic's sustained virtuosity in a wide...

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