WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Respighi: Pines Of Rome, Etc; Debussy / Reiner, Chicago So


Release Date: 02/07/2006 
Label:  Rca Victor Living Stereo Catalog #: 71614   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Claude DebussyOttorino Respighi
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
SuperAudio CD:  $11.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.


Listening to these exquisite SACD remasterings of half-century-old classic Living Presence recordings recalled a story told by a pupil of Philip Farkas (the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's principal hornist when these tapings were made). During rehearsal, conductor Fritz Reiner angrily signaled for a stop, glared at the horns, and demanded: "Horns! Forte!" They repeated the passage, louder, and were stopped again. "Horns! Forte!" Two more times produced the same result, after which Reiner slammed down his baton. One of the horn players pleaded, "But, Maestro, we're playing as
Read more loud as we can." "I know!" snapped Reiner, "you started at fortissimo."

This anecdote illustrates how important it was to Reiner to get the exact loudness--or quietness--he wanted. Truly pianissimo playing is a hard thing for an orchestra to achieve, and among the things this excellent SACD remastering discloses as never before is the utterly ravishing playing of this orchestra at pianissimo, and its constant attention to dynamic level. This pays off in the final movement of Pines of Rome, where Reiner achieves a steady increase in loudness from the first tread of the Caesars' ghostly legions to the very last chord. The effect is breathtaking.

The remastering does this without at all yielding to the temptation to "improve" the original master's dynamics by ramping up the loud parts. The result: a faithful recreation of the legendary 1959 and 1960 sonics, minus surface noise or hiss. The string sound regains its original sweetness, eliminating the slight graininess and upper-register hardness that many can hear in standard-resolution CDs. Inclusion of the third channel in the multi-track layer of the SACD helps nail down the placement of the solo winds and spreads the strings out to sections, rather than points.

The virtues of Reiner's performances are well known. In La Mer Reiner remembers that a movement called "From Dawn Till Noon..." should begin in profound darkness. Rhythms are never rigid in this unmatched depiction of fluidity. All the delicate shadings of what is called musical Impressionism are there, but the climaxes arrive with plenty of guts. In Respighi's Fountains you can feel the dawn mists at the beginning and the magical quietness of the air at the end of the day. And the Gregorian chant evoked by the Catacombs in Pines never has made the remembered Christian martyrs sound so noble and brave.

If you know these recordings, be assured that both the two-channel and the three-channel SACD tracks truly improve the sound. If you've ever wondered why old-timers rave about 1950s stereo labels like RCA Living Stereo and "shaded dogs" (a description of the art style used for the RCA terrier on the LP label), this will answer all your questions.

--Joseph Stevenson, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
La mer by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903-1905; France 
Date of Recording: 02/27/1960 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 25 Minutes 13 Secs. 
2.
Fountains of Rome by Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/24/1959 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 15 Minutes 50 Secs. 
3.
Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923-1924; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/24/1959 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 21 Minutes 9 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Reiner Has Done It Again! October 20, 2012 By Richard F. Buckley (Jefferson Hills, PA) See All My Reviews "Fritz Reiner has done it again! I am never disappointed when I purchase one of his recordings. Respighi's Pines and Fountains of Rome are heard so often that they sometimes can be tiresome. Not so with Fritz! He manages to bring out phrasing in the orchestra that you never hear under a different baton. The performances are head and shoulders above any other I have ever heard. La Mer by Debussey gets the same treatment. While you listen, if you close your eyes you can visualize the waves crashing at sea. It is an inspiring reading. A word must be said about the splendid sound on this disc. Layton and Mohr have produced another sonic masterpiece for RCA Victor. In spite of the vintage of the recordings, they compare favorably with anything produced today! The entire series of Living Stereo with which I am familiar is recording state of the art. Thank God for this wonderful music!" Report Abuse
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In