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Discussion: Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique - Davis

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Post by Windsurfer October 4, 2007 (11 of 19)
darkroommd said:

Wondering if anyone has this on RBCD and cares to offer us a performance review?

I have just listened to this sacd and I think it is fabulous. Much more compelling than the Telarc recording. This old quad recording is surprisingly characterized by explosive dynamics, beautiful string and wind sound, precise imaging - a real winner in my opinion. Lets have more of these, lots more please!

Post by Johnno October 4, 2007 (12 of 19)
akiralx said:

I seem to recall that Gramophone was in fact rather scathing about Colin Davis' recent Enigma Variations SACD.

They were indeed. On the other hand they loved his fairly recent Sibelius second on LSO Live.

Post by mahlerei October 4, 2007 (13 of 19)
I first bought this as an LP and have had the CD in my collection for some time now. It is a very fine performance - probably one of the most convincing you are likely to hear. Even in its RBCD form it's vintage Philips, weighty and detailed with excellent dynamic range. What a pity the Te Deum and Requiem weren't recorded in Quad (or so it seems) as Ihey would be unbeatable on SACD. I find the Norrington Requiem an absolute travesty of a performance and hope that Davis will record it again for LSO Live! My only concern is that Davis's more recent Berlioz performances don't have quite the fire of his earlier readings. That said he still remains a Berlioz conductor withour equal.

Post by Johnno October 4, 2007 (14 of 19)
Windsurfer said:

I have just listened to this sacd and I think it is fabulous. Much more compelling than the Telarc recording. This old quad recording is surprisingly characterized by explosive dynamics, beautiful string and wind sound, precise imaging - a real winner in my opinion. Lets have more of these, lots more please!

I've long loved this performance and I'm disappointed in both the Munch and Paray recordings I have on SACD, for one reason or another (interpretations or technical shortcomings) so I am definitely going to purchase this Colin Davis SACD in a little while.

Post by ssully October 24, 2007 (15 of 19)
Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. This has always been a top-flight recording and performance, and in digital multichannel, it soars even higher.

I had no idea this Phillips recording had been recorded for quad. Is it too much to hope that some of Haitink/LSO Stravinsky recordings from the early 70's were also
mixed to quad?

Post by Allen December 17, 2007 (16 of 19)
Just purchased this version. Found a big surprise here:

The "March to the Scaffold" is 6:48 long, comparing with Munch's 4:30 and Paray's 4:20, Barenboim/Berlin(cd version)'s 4:54. If I play this track, somewhere around 2:01, the sound at one of its climax suddenly turns silent, and it sounds like the music just restarts from the beginning of the movement again.

I checked both the sacd multichannel version and cd version, the problem is exactly the same. So, I do not think this is a defective disk; instead, it is either the original interpretation (which is still very odd comparing with all other editions), or it was in the remastering phase.

Could someone check on this?

Post by seth December 17, 2007 (17 of 19)
Allen said:

Just purchased this version. Found a big surprise here:

The "March to the Scaffold" is 6:48 long, comparing with Munch's 4:30 and Paray's 4:20, Barenboim/Berlin(cd version)'s 4:54. If I play this track, somewhere around 2:01, the sound at one of its climax suddenly turns silent, and it sounds like the music just restarts from the beginning of the movement again.

I checked both the sacd multichannel version and cd version, the problem is exactly the same. So, I do not think this is a defective disk; instead, it is either the original interpretation (which is still very odd comparing with all other editions), or it was in the remastering phase.

Could someone check on this?

It's a repeat, which clearly, some if not all of the other recordings omit. By cutting those two minutes, movements III, IV and V and be squeezed onto a single side of a LP, thus making it possible to fit the entire symphony onto a single CD. I don't think it was likely that this was done with this recording; the last three movements total nearly 34 minutes. Can anyone comment if the original LP release came on 2 discs?

Post by Edvin December 18, 2007 (18 of 19)
It was one LP with the repeat. I find the repeat very annoying.

Post by Arthur February 15, 2009 (19 of 19)
I bought this performance and the Davis Sibelius 5 & 7 when they came out on Philips SACD from Japan. I hesitated to buy the PentaTones because I wasn't sure they could improve that much over the Japanese versions. But they do! The surround mixes add a lot of depth to the image, and after listening to the Berlioz recording again tonight, it reminded me to weigh in for those who might be interested: both these recordings are FAR superior on the PentaTone surround discs.

The slow movement of the Berlioz has some low string passages that were nothing but mud on CD. The Japanese version cleaned it up quite a bit, but the PentaTone makes it sound the way it surely must have in the concert hall!

The Sibelius is equally fine AND has the extra En Saga!

If you've been on the fence, get off and buy these discs!

Bret

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