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Notes and Editorial Reviews
These were landmark recordings when they first came out in the 1950s. Complete ballets were almost unheard-of, but Dorati was a pro in this music, and Fistoulari was no slouch either. Delibes’ music was admired by Tchaikovsky, and for good reason. It is excellently crafted, top quality stuff, a far cry from the usual “give the dancers something to do” schlockfest that passed for mid-19th century ballet music. These pieces more than sustain listening away from the stage. The tunes are terrific, the scoring consistently vivid, and there’s plenty of internal contrast despite the necessary repetitions within each number. The engineering has dated, for sure, but the Mercury Living Presence team always knew its job, and the sonics remain quite
vivid for their day, or ours. A pleasure.
-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Sylvia by Léo Delibes
London Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1876; France
Coppélia by Léo Delibes
Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1870; France
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Magnificent! June 26, 2013
By David R. (Pine, CO) See All My Reviews
"I have been highly critical of Newton Classics in the past for sloppy quality control, editing errors, lack of accurate information and their steadfast refusal to remaster bad-sounding recordings. I am happy to report they didn't do anything wrong with this release! Further, they didn't need to do much of anything but obtain the already fabulously remastered digital files from Mercury and simply burn them onto their own label's discs. Dorati was always a wonderful conductor of ballet music and this Coppelia is no exception. True, the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra is not quite the first-tier orchestra it is today (now named Minnesota Orchestra). The sour first oboe, in particular, is a serious liability, and some scrappy string playing too. But Dorati certainly springs this music to life. Sylvia, however, is in a whole other world. Fistoulari is another master at conducting ballet scores and he has the extreme advantage of the London Symphony Orchestra for his recording. And it elevates the experience to a level that the Minneapolis Symphony could not achieve. It is, quite simply, magnificent. This was recorded back when orchestras still had a personality and some life in them. And the LSO plays magnificently. You do not often hear this level of music-making from today's dreary, monotonous-sounding orchestras. And Mercury's recording is absolutely superlative. Indeed, from the opening bars, I jumped up to see if somehow my preamp/processor had accidentally kicked into surround sound. The sound is so vivid, so dimensional, so lifelike, I could swear it was encoded in 5-channel surround. But nope, it's good old fashioned stereo, back when stereo was done right. It sounds like a modern-day digital recording; one would never guess it is well over 50 years old! This collection is not to be missed. If you don't already have the Mercury CD set in your collection, do not hesitate to buy this Newton Classics reissue. And thank you, Newton Classics, for not screwing this one up!"