Notes and Editorial Reviews
This selection is a Hybrid Multichannel Super Audio CD. The Stereo Hybrid SACD program can be played on any standard compact disc player. The DSD Surround and Stereo programs require an SACD player for playback.
On both musical and sonic grounds, this is one of the finest productions that Pentatone has released thus far.
These SACD multichannel remasterings sound amazingly fine and true to life, so much so that the standard stereo issues don't even begin to compare. The Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony is a very good performance, though Edo de Waart improved on it still further both interpretively and sonically in his San Francisco remake. Still, the bracing opening movement and beautifully flowing Poco
adagio linger sweetly in the mind, while an aptly sensational finale makes up for the slightly droopy scherzo. Indeed, aside from reticent timpani at the opening of the scherzo, audiophiles will find much to enjoy, particularly when organ and orchestra really get cranking in the finale.
The real treat here, though, is the excellent Pictures at an Exhibition, which is beautifully played and quite spectacularly recorded. Waart opts for generally swift tempos, not least in "The Great Gate of Kiev" where the closing pages bring a truly physical thrill as he presses forward in the final statement of the resplendent principal theme. Every detail of Ravel's marvelous orchestration registers with unobtrusive clarity, along with richly resonant bass and excellent orchestral positioning. The winds of the Rotterdam Philharmonic in "Tuileries" and the "Ballet of the Chicks in their Shells" uphold the great Dutch tradition of excellence in that department, while the brass section sounds nice and fat and suitably "Russian"--though without the edge (or, if you prefer, coarseness) of the true Russian orchestras. On both musical and sonic grounds, this is one of the finest productions that Pentatone has released thus far.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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