Albums

£51.49

Classical - Released January 1, 2003 | Decca

£42.49

Rock - Released May 1, 2015 | Decca

The Small Faces were at Decca for 18 months -- long enough to become stars, long enough to sow the seeds of a legend, long enough to cause enough confusion that would color said legend over the decades. The Small Faces left Decca when they left manager Don Arden, the towering impresario who signed the group when they were still in their teens, gave them enough cash to seem flush, found them songs he owned the publishing to, and looked the other way when the boys popped pills. Once the parents of Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Ian McLagan stepped in, ties were severed and the band bolted to Immediate, the label run by fellow teen mod renegade Andrew Loog Oldham, so Arden retaliated by cobbling together From the Beginning, a collection of singles, covers, and demos for tunes that would soon show up on their near-simultaneously released Immediate debut The Small Faces (the same title as the group's 1966 Decca debut, for those trying to keep track at home). While the band began galloping toward the psychedelic present on their final singles for Decca -- "My Mind's Eye" is a lysergic journey and "All or Nothing," their first number one, seems eager to shake off the confines of rock & soul -- the switch in labels provides a neat division between the group's early and mature work, so while Universal's 2015 box The Decca Years 1965-1967 lacks the band's biggest and best hits ("Here Come the Nice," "Itchycoo Park," "Tin Soldier," "Lazy Sunday," "The Universal," "Afterglow of Your Love," a run as good as any other British band of the '60s), it nevertheless provides an intensely concentrated blast of the band's mod peak and provides a useful companion to 2014's box Here Come the Nice, which it mirrors to the point of opening with a disc of "Greatest Hits" (aka the singles) before delving into the familiar and the rare. Although the period it covers isn't the band's peak, The Decca Years trumps Here Come the Nice by virtue of not focusing entirely on the unheard, a move that fates the 2014 set to the dedicated. These five discs contain all the singles, along with the two complete albums (alas, with none of the bonus tracks -- largely mono mixes, but some alternates -- from the 2012 reissues), a disc of BBC sessions, and a disc of rarities. Generally, the sound is improved from the 2012 reissues -- punchier, heavier, emphasizing how the group kicked up a bottomless groove (not much can save the shaky audio of the BBC sessions, though) -- and if there are duplications here, well, that's just part and parcel of listening to the Small Faces; even when they're given attentive care, there's no eliminating the mess. More than the various reissues or compilations, The Decca Years 1965-1967 winds up showcasing just what made the Small Faces special. Where the Who often seemed hell-bent on a stylish destruction, the Small Faces partied, laying into Sam Cooke with abandon, delivering the Arden-forced trifles with more wallop than they deserved, creating a noise so unholy Led Zeppelin ripped it off ("Whole Lotta Love" steals as much from Steve Marriott as it does from Willie Dixon) and then, just as these 18 months drew to a close, delivering a wildly original blend of pop art, overamplified soul, and impassioned rock. Here, on this big and sometimes unwieldy box, that evolution is not only clear, but seems vital. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£55.99

Classical - Released January 1, 1997 | Decca

Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
£61.49

Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
£89.99

Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca

For the hardcore Britten fan on your list, the 10-disc set called Britten conducts Britten is the perfect gift solution. They'll no doubt already have the classic recording of Britten conducting the War Requiem, his choral-orchestral masterpiece. But unless they collect old LPs, they probably won't have most of the rest of the recordings on these CDs including the odd but intense religious cantatas The Burning Fiery Furnace, The Prodigal Son, and Noye's Fludde; the even odder but still totally convincing children's opera The Little Sweep; and all the Christmas music, especially Saint Nicholas. How could any hardcore Britten fans resist? Of course they'll have to accept that, like it or not, the performances are, for better or worse, all essentially definitive. The War Requiem, with its stupendous soloists, astounding chorus, superlative orchestra, and magnificent recording, has long been commonly held to be one of the highest achievements in the art of recording and most of the larger works here all receive performances at nearly as exalted a level, particularly the Spring Symphony, which has seldom sounded so bright and charming. But some of the performances, while still charming, are less persuasive. The Wandsworth School Boys' Choir is a game enough ensemble, but the Choir of Downside School, Purley, is not altogether up to their task. For hardcore Britten fans, however, this set will be self-recommending first and foremost because the composer himself directed the performers, and, no mean conductor, Britten's performers ideally represent his intentions. Decca's stereo sound is both translucently clear and wonderfully evocative, an almost impossible combination.
£55.99

Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
£33.49

Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Decca

£37.99

Classical - Released January 1, 1968 | Decca

£78.49

Solo Piano - Released January 1, 2001 | Decca

£44.99

Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Decca

£33.49

Classical - Released January 1, 1997 | Decca

£51.49

Classical - Released January 1, 2015 | Decca

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
£55.99

Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca

Distinctions Diapason d'or
£44.99

Classical - Released January 1, 2002 | Decca

£44.99

Symphonic Music - Released January 1, 2003 | Decca

£51.49

Classical - Released January 1, 2015 | Decca

£33.49

Classical - Released January 1, 1974 | Decca

£44.99

Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
£40.49

Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | Decca

£23.49

Classical - Released January 1, 1988 | Decca

The Collections

Label

Decca in the magazine