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Discussion: Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 - Haitink

Posts: 6

Post by sacd_fan_2007 August 3, 2012 (1 of 6)
The most recent (abbreviated) "review" seemed to be more of a rant than objective look at another option to collect Beethoven 9. While I prefer detailed and thoughtful reviews to rants, the note does hint at the problem of SACD grade inflation here at SA-CD.net. Just because a well known ensemble supports the great SACD medium, doesn't entitle that ensemble to an automatic A+ review. The recent Debussy album on Chandos is an example of grade inflation; The Litton Rite of Spring on BIS is a more severe example. Are the SA-CD.net editorial reviews based on listening to free copies, and would the grades still be so high if the reviewers procured the albums with their own funds? For me, only one of the two discs in the Debussy album merits listening to, and the Litton Rite of Spring isn't that competitive with the numerous great recordings available. With so many outstanding recordings to explore in multiple formats, we don't need the grade inflation hinted at in the most recent B-9 review.

Post by krisjan August 3, 2012 (2 of 6)
It is human nature to express oneself when you are moved in an extraordinary way. Hence, one is more likely to write a review if performance and/or sonics are extraordinarily excellent or putrid. I know that applies to me which means that many SACD's that contain good but not great performances in good but not great sound simply don't warrant the time or effort expended on a review.

As for the Haitink/LSO Live LvB series, I find it to be remarkably good for performances throughout the set simply because it didn't sound like par-for-the-course Haitink. He makes the music sound vital and alive which was simply unexpected by me. I also like the (stereo SACD) sound which is immediate and dynamic. So, I am in complete disagreement with the recent review.

Post by willemvoorneveld August 3, 2012 (3 of 6)
krisjan said:

It is human nature to express oneself when you are moved in an extraordinary way. Hence, one is more likely to write a review if performance and/or sonics are extraordinarily excellent or putrid. I know that applies to me which means that many SACD's that contain good but not great performances in good but not great sound simply don't warrant the time or effort expended on a review.

As for the Haitink/LSO Live LvB series, I find it to be remarkably good for performances throughout the set simply because it didn't sound like par-for-the-course Haitink. He makes the music sound vital and alive which was simply unexpected by me. I also like the (stereo SACD) sound which is immediate and dynamic. So, I am in complete disagreement with the recent review.

I am in the same boat and could not agree more. So far I have not spend time on writing down any review on the Haitink/Beethoven series because I do not yet understand why they sound so fresh, new and good. Unexpected indeed.

Maybe the specific acoustics of the hall help Haitink to sound better in Beethoven, or reverse, maybe Haitink uses the hall acoustics to his advantage more so than the others (Davis/Gergiev)do.

Post by Iain August 3, 2012 (4 of 6)
sacd_fan_2007 said:

The most recent (abbreviated) "review" seemed to be more of a rant than objective look at another option to collect Beethoven 9. While I prefer detailed and thoughtful reviews to rants, the note does hint at the problem of SACD grade inflation here at SA-CD.net. Just because a well known ensemble supports the great SACD medium, doesn't entitle that ensemble to an automatic A+ review. The recent Debussy album on Chandos is an example of grade inflation; The Litton Rite of Spring on BIS is a more severe example. Are the SA-CD.net editorial reviews based on listening to free copies, and would the grades still be so high if the reviewers procured the albums with their own funds? For me, only one of the two discs in the Debussy album merits listening to, and the Litton Rite of Spring isn't that competitive with the numerous great recordings available. With so many outstanding recordings to explore in multiple formats, we don't need the grade inflation hinted at in the most recent B-9 review.

If you notice, latest review is based on 2-channel version.

The 5.1 multichannel version sounds great. Haitink LvB Symphonies 1-9 package is one of the first titles I purchased on SA-CD three years ago and the ninth is the best of the lot. It also sparked interest of Choral music, which I now quite like and continue to explore.

EDIT: Thank you CC and JSB. : )

I concur with multi-channel review. Although SQ is not as good as typical Channel Classics releases, performance is extraordinary.

Post by tream August 3, 2012 (5 of 6)
krisjan said:


As for the Haitink/LSO Live LvB series, I find it to be remarkably good for performances throughout the set simply because it didn't sound like par-for-the-course Haitink. He makes the music sound vital and alive which was simply unexpected by me. I also like the (stereo SACD) sound which is immediate and dynamic. So, I am in complete disagreement with the recent review.

I too agree with you to disagree with the review. This review finds the sound of the Barbican to be magnificent, a claim I have never heard elsewhere and one that runs contrary to my own experience. The Haitink LSO Beethoven series is one of the best things he has done, and has some of the best sound I have heard from LSO Live. (In contrast, the one release of the Haitink Brahms on LSO Live was dreadful, IMHO - because the recording sounded like the hall -no depth at all - and the performance was dreary).

So, for anyone listening, I find this review to be completely unjustified. Krisjan's capsule review above is dead on.

Post by lennyw August 3, 2012 (6 of 6)
tream said:

I too agree with you to disagree with the review. This review finds the sound of the Barbican to be magnificent, a claim I have never heard elsewhere and one that runs contrary to my own experience. The Haitink LSO Beethoven series is one of the best things he has done, and has some of the best sound I have heard from LSO Live. (In contrast, the one release of the Haitink Brahms on LSO Live was dreadful, IMHO - because the recording sounded like the hall -no depth at all - and the performance was dreary).

Funny, had the same feeling live in the hall (was at all the Beethoven and Brahms), the Beethoven was wonderful, the Brahms turgid.

Closed