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Reviews: Classics at the Pops - Erich Kunzel

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Reviews: 4

Review by Monteverdi April 6, 2004 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is such a frustrating release. I was hoping for a great SACD demo disc, showing off this fine orchestra with Telarc’s mostly good sound. But Kunzel has the rare talent of deflating any piece of music he conducts. He seems unfazed by matters of style or character. Other than piling on the sonorities, he seems either uninterested or just clueless in bringing to life the music. Most of the music aimlessly moves from bar to bar without a clear vision of where it should go or how it should get there.
The recording quality is good but not spectacular. The top octaves seem to be softened which makes it feel a bit airless. Surrounds are mostly used for ambience with Verdi’s Aida excerpt and Weinberger’s Schwanda finding some brass players stationed at the rear.
The track listing on this site rearranges the disc's play order. There is no performance of Souza’s “Stars and Stripes” to be found.
©DAE 2004

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Review by deathstroke April 17, 2004 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Back in the late 80's, my parents bought their first stereo system and a CD player. One of the first discs we got was Star Tracks, with Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops. This disc is no Star Tracks. The pieces I am more familiar with (Festive Overture, Aida) seem to drag. The Festive Overture is one minute longer than the other recording I have!! The orchestra seems to be on auto-pilot for that one.
I am still considering buying the Epics disc, as I love some of the selections. However, listening to the samples online, it seems the Pops is on Valium these days.
All in all, the sonics are pretty good, on par with most of the other Telarc releases. I agree the surrounds are not used enough, but in the Grand March from Aida, the brass really comes through in the surrounds.

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Review by WalterM May 6, 2004 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Kunzels Orchestral Spectaculars on Telarc is one of my favorite demo discs. The performances are not up to their old standard. The sonics are okay but the performances disappoint. This is one of my first SACD purchases but was disappointed in the overall presentation. When compared to other Telarc SACDs, this one fall short.

Reviewed in Mutichannel format

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Review by Daland July 6, 2004 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is the most disappointing SACD I have heard so far. The sound level is very uneven, which is quite unusual for an SACD. For example, the introduction to the Grand March from "Aida" (normally sung by a chorus) is much louder than the march itself, and the trumpet sound is anything but brilliant. Only the opening "Fanfare for a Common Man" can be described as satisfactory. Moreover, the performances are lucklustre and pedestrian.
If the pieces selected were chosen because of their potential for spectacular sonorities, then the engineers have done a rather poor job. Telarc has been known for its obsession with "pure digital sound", and this is what we get here instead of warm, blooming natural sound.

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