The resulting 2 box set, unlike any other available today, groups together the main vocalists in the story of jazz from the first half of the 20th century. Each of these 20 CDs offers in more or less the same proportion, the purest of African-American song with gospel and blues singers, from truculent Ma Rainey to majestic Bessie Smith, sophisticated Sarah Vaughan to popular Louis Prima, the folk-related tones of Charlie Patton to the honeyed voice of Frank Sinatra.
Abbado's splendid Petrushka was among the very first CDs to be reviewed in these pages. Robert Layton extended a warm welcome in March 1983. The fact that it appeared with no coupling didn't seem to bother him unduly at the time; I've no doubt that it would today. … The Petrushka is full of sensitive and dramatic detail: I don't know of a more intense account of the poignant scene in Petrushka's tiny backstage cell—all shadow and nervous apprehensiveness. Nor have we seen any more clearly into the elaborate texturing of the outer tableaux (this is the more lavishly scored original version); the tactility of the inner-part writing is constantly arresting. Vividly and imaginatively characterized, these performances are shining examples of Abbado's best work with the LSO. (from the review of the Mussorgsky/Stravinsky reissue DG 423901)