A Restored Standard Treasury of the World's Great Music (STotWGM)

I aquired this Standard Treasury on eBay, and had it restored by the late Jytte Beatty who lived in Felton, California. She was a real artist. We selected a vinyl, cloth-backed, leather-like binding material that matched the color of the original cheap paper. She added a small thickness of padding under the new material to provide a luxurious feel. Then carefully cut out the top and spine portion of the original, and used hide glue to adhere it to new cardboard front and back boards. I asked her if she had real hand-dipped French endpapers; and lo and behold!, she pulled out four large ones that were perfect matches to the colors of the album (expensive, but worth it). Afterwards, I gave the front, back, and spine of the album a couple of light coats of gloss acrylic spray. And it looks like real leather!

For a Good Introduction to Classical Music:

The Standard Treasury provides a good introduction to Classical Music. The selection of music is designed to be easy to enjoy, and the documentation provides background to help you to appreciate the music.

On the web page History and Marketing of the Record Sets we have an article stating that the Standard Treasury was made for the nationwide A&P chain.

The Listener's Guides

For the sources of the information in the Listener's Guide, refer to the section on this on the page for the Basic Library of the World's Greatest Music.



Late summer, early Autumn leaves blowing on trees. This scene represents the transition from Summer to Autumn. The four movements in a classical symphony can be compared to the four seasons of the year; the best example being Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, which is really an orchestral suite in 4 movements (or concertos). The scene, therefore, specifically represents the ending of the 2nd season of the year (Summer), which corresponds to the ending of the 2nd, and final movement, of Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony”, featured on this record.

Another is Alexander Glazunov's music for the ballet, "The Seasons", with four dance tableau's (scenes), each representing a season; although in the ballet, the first season is Winter.

We know that Schubert wrote sketches for the beginning of a 3rd movement; but we don't know if he intended a 4th movement. Music scholars differ in opinions on this. Incredibly, this symphony was lost for 37 years after Schubert's death. It was not generally known that it even existed.

This is not the Aya (Saint) Sophia Mosque in Istanbul, but rather is the newer Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque). Although I consider the area of Baghdad and Basra to be the heart of the locality of the Arabian Nights stories, Istanbul is definitely a good second choice, and is also a Muslim city, although back around 400 A.D. the Emperor Constantine made this whole area Christian until the 19th century. Muslim minarets were added then. It certainly looks like a scene from the Arabian Nights with the minaret towers. “Scheherazade” is a feature work on this record; and it is a four-movement tone poem, or orchestral suite in four movements that illustrated, musically, four of the tales of the Arabian Nights as told by Scheherazade, the newest wife of the Sultan.

Autumn/early Winter scene in a corn field with harvested stalks gathered into bundles, or "shocks". This scene is reminiscent of the James Whitcomb Riley poem, “When the frost is on the pumpkin, and the fodder's in the shock”. A shock is a vertical bundle of corn stalks, tied together for ease of pickup in a wagon. Fodder is animal food given to the animals. The stalks are good feed for hogs.

Dvorak’s 9th Symphony ("from the New World") is featured on this record. This symphony is intended to represent the spirit of the American people as observed by the composer during his time, with his family, living and teaching in America. The first industry in America was agriculture. Our Thanksgiving Holiday represents the thankfulness of the people for potential abundance of food in the “New World”. Therefore, the scene represents this abundance, and the hard work required in the farming communities of America.

Around 1958, four earlier symphonies of Dvorak were discovered and it was decided to renumber them, so the 5th became the 9th, etc. This record set used the old numbering system.

A still life with two rose blossoms against a background of a wooden vanity top with a necklace of pearls on a velvet fabric. The image represents the music of Bizet’s “Carmen Suite”, with the Habanera aria and dance with the rose.

Photo of barren, ice-covered tree branches against the dark blue evening winter sky. This record contains Richard Strauss’s “Death and Transfiguration” tone poem. Just as the music details the thoughts of a dying man reviewing the joys and sorrows of his life, the photo represents the winter season; which is a season of death (trees and plants dying or hibernating and losing their leaves, fruit, and blossoms) leading to the following Spring of re-birth and renewal, a metaphor of re-incarnation of the human soul.

Violent crashing of waves against the rocks of a rather barren coastline. This record contains Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony, which was originally supposed to be dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, who became Emperor as Beethoven was finishing his work. Initially, highly moved by Napoleon’s conquests, he was angry that Napoleon desired to be Emperor. “Eroica” mean “heroic”; but Beethoven’s hero had become evil in his mind. So, Beethoven angrily scratched out the original dedication and changed it to being dedicated to all heroes. So, does the picture represent this anger; or just violent heroics?

Flames and burning sticks in a bonfire. This record contains Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite”, chronicling the story of an evil magician, a prince, and maiden, and the Phoenix bird that helps them defeat the magician, and brings them together. The flames represent the Firebird (Phoenix).

A photo of blossom-covered branches against a beautiful blue summer sky. This represents the atmosphere of Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” tone poem, based upon a poem about a mythical Faun running after Nymphs and Naiads in the "heat" of the afternoon, and then succumbs to intoxicating sleep.

A spooky late-fall evening scene with grotesque craggy trees against the setting sun and a red dark cloudy sky. This record contains Duka’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, and this photo could also be used for Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” (not in this record set), which is about a demonic celebration that takes place on All Hollow’s Eve (Halloween). The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is about the calamity that takes place when a sorcerer’s apprentice tries ineptly to use his master’s spells to complete his task of carrying several buckets of water for the sorcerer. The apprentice loses control of the spell and floods the rooms. The sorcerer comes in and sees the mayhem, and fixes the spell. The apprentice is embarrassed, and the sorcerer is seemingly angry, but really amused by the whole situation. The photo scene evokes the feelings of a sorcery, witches, and black Sabbath of our Halloween or Europe's "All Saints Day" night. A holiday where only half of Europe's trains run, as I found out the hard way.

Also on this disc is Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite #1, written to accompany Ibsen's play, which I have read. The play is quite modern, and even mentions the slave trade from Africa to the US. Not the pleasantest thing to bring up.

This scene shows rocky snow-covered mountains behind a body of water that could be a lake or river. The record contains Smetana’s “The Moldau”, a nationalistic tone poem about the river that flows through the city of Prague. Although the scene does not evoke Bohemia, and may have been taken in one of our Western national parks, it does evoke the feelings of strength and grandeur that Smetana was trying to evoke in this music.

This photo is of a barren, rocky, but still green coast that could easily be that of Scotland. This record contains Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony, inspired by the young Felix's three week trip to Scotland. Also, inspired was the "Hebrides Overture", containing the famous and catchy "Fingal's Cave" music. This cave is still a popular tourist attraction. The acoustics in the cave are unusual, and although I have not been there, they may be such that this music, if played in the cave, would have overlapping harmonies due to long echos, or maybe that's just a romantic fancy of mine. Also, it is not correct to label it the "Scotch" symphony, which is a whiskey from Scotland!

This scene shows two Swans floating on the water in a pond or lake that could very well be part of palace gardens that Mozart lived in for part of his life, as the darling musical prodigy of the Royal Hapsburgs of Austria. King Ludwig II of Bavaria, related to the Hapsburgs, used swans as decorative motifs in his palaces. This record contains Mozart’s Symphony #40.

This photo shows a night scene of Herrenchiemsee Palace and fountains, built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. It was built to replicate the main part of the palace at Versailles. This photo “could” be of the French Versailles Palace, but I believe that it is Herrenchiemsee Palace, which was built much more recently on the island of Herreninsel in the Chiemsee (KEEM-zay), Bavaria’s largest lake, southeast of Munich on the way to Salzburg. You can take a ferry to the island from the town of Prien-am-Chiemsee. This record contains Haydn’s “London” Symphony. Michael Haydn, the younger brother of the more famous Haydn, wrote a musical piece, “Missa in Honorem Sanctae Ursulae” written for a Benedictine Abbey (Frauenwörth) on another island in the Chiemsee. I haven’t found a closer connection. I have been to Herrenchiemsee Palace, and Versailles.

This scene represents Handel’s “Water Music” suite written for newly-crowned King George I of England.

George Frederick Handel was employed by another "George" (pronounced 'Gay-org' in German) who was the ruler of an area of what is now Germany, but what was then part of the Holy Roman Empire. Handel was invited to visit England, and he received permission from his employer to visit there. But Handel was treated so lavishly by the London music scene, that he decided not to return home. This angered George, which was okay because Handel was in England and George was in Germany. Then his employer became George I of England, and also moved to England. George realized that he needed to re-ingratiate himself to the King, so he came up with a plan. On a day of celebration, George I was floating down the Thames in a royal Barge, along with other barges containing important partying personages. The king found himself being followed by Handel and an Orchestra on their own barge playing "Water Music" that Handel had composed to impress the new King. It worked, George I was flattered and impressed, and Handel was in his good graces again.

The Thames River, packed with celebratory barges that day, was not unlike the closely clustered lily pads shown in the water.

This is a photo of Olavinlinna (St. Olaf’s Castle) in Savonlinna, Finland; site of the city’s annual opera festival. This record contains the Finnish composer Sibelius’s nationalistic tone poem, “Finlandia”, that earned him a personal income from the government.

This photo of dramatic clouds in a blue sky is a little vague to explain. But the lofty reaches of Heaven, and “Air on a G String”, by Bach may be hinted at. Wagner composed and wrote his “Ring” cycle of operas about the Gods that lived in Walhalla, a lofty perch in the sky, with horse-mounted, female, warrior Valkyries flying in the air. Or perhaps this photo for the final record in the series symbolizes the heavenly-inspired music composed by all of the composers in this set.

The Standard Treasury of the World's Great Music - The Records as They Were in the Grocery Stores
The Standard Treasury of the World's Great Music - The Records as They Were in the Grocery Stores

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