Review by canonical April 27, 2010 (6 of 8 found this review helpful)
|Short version: One of the best gems in the SACD classical repertoire.
Schumann: cello concerto (recorded 1962)
Lalo: cello concerto (recorded 1962)
Saint-Saens: cello concerto (recorded 1964)
I think this is the finest rendition of the Schumann I have heard. Ever. Better than my two Rostropovich recordings, better than Lynn Harrell or Maisky or Yo-Yo Ma or Casals or ... It is wonderful, with Starker's deep rich warm tone, no overdone shmaltz, all done with consummate ease, and spectacular sonics. The recording sound is wonderful. The Schumann features Starker's own cadenza at the end of the third movement ... which provides something new for those for whom the Schumann is well-known territory. Being a 60s recording, there is some minor hiss detectable with headphones, and I noticed some 'wow and flutter' on the very first note ... but aside from that ... this is *also* the best sounding Schumann I have. And by comparison, the CD layer on the same disc seems muffled and veiled.
The Lalo (same 1962 recording) blows away my Yo-Yo Ma recording on redbook.
The Saint-Saens (recorded separately 2 years later) doesn't have quite the same bite as the rest: the cello sound doesn't shine through like the earlier 1962 recording, though the orchestral sound is excellent.
All the boxes are ticked: A superstar cellist of the 20th C, a fantastic performance, a wonderful recording, a professional high-rez conversion to DSD, detailed recording information in the notes, fancy superjewel box, excellent packaging, and all sold at a bargain price. Get it while you can. Some of the other Starker recordings in the Mercury series are now going for triple figures.
A stunning SACD. Highly recommended.
Recording resolution: Analogue on 35 mm magnetic film, transferred to 192kHz/24 bit PCM, and then to DSD
Recording: 1962/4 Watford Town Hall
Superjewel box: Yes
Performance: 5 stars
Sound: 5 (stereo)
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