Review by Julien July 29, 2007 (13 of 21 found this review helpful)
|Oh my... This recording desperately needs a review.
When you think that this near-perfection performance was live, it is even more impressive. As we say in French, you'd have to get up early to be able to imagine better. The orchestra and the singers combined are among the finest I've heard in a performance.
It is quite interesting to think back a few decades ago when period instruments had many intonation issues and were widely criticized for it. Well, I dare to say that no string section of any symphonic orchestra plays that it tune, and it is not because there are less people here. A chamber string orchestra would not be able to play that in tune either. The reason is simply because the gut strings are so sensible needing to be re-tuned all the time that period ensembles pay just much more attention to intonation. Another reason is that they play sustained notes with much less vibrato, sometimes not at all, which makes harmonies sound a lot purer.
Why do I always pay so much attention to intonation? Because when you have harmonies it is half the beauty of the music.
The singing too is fantastic (outstandingly in tune also...). I won't go into too many details, but I especially love Isolde Siebert as the Queen of the Night (what a voice!), Stephan Genz as Papageno is so moving (he speaks while singing it's wonderful), and Suzie LeBlanc as Pamina has a very pure voice and an amazing sensibility. Also figuring are Christoph Genz as Tamino and Cornelius Hauptmann as Sarastro.
Not to forget on this site, the recording is beautiful, sounds like pure DSD to me, the timbre of all the intruments and the voices is very full and accurate. I like the overall balance, and also the dynamic range is huge and realistic. It is close in a good way, I feel that I'm breathing on the stage.
I have always admired the Kuijken brothers for being among the pioneers in the field of period informed playing and actually always keeping themselves among the elite. Sigiswald Kuijken has now recorded quite a few excellent SACDs for different companies, which makes me think that maybe unlike most artists who record SACDs and have no idea what SACD is (do you guys believe that? It is true.), Kuijken might be one of those who knows of the format, wants quality and also thinks for posterity.
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