Review by Windsurfer April 11, 2007 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
|I still really don't know what I think about this one! The playing and recording are quite good, excellent really - that is why all the stars. The Rhapsody for Cello has me bemused. At any given moment, I am aware that I am hearing nice melodic material. Superb 'cello playing, (keep an eye out for more opportunities to hear Johannes Moser!), excellent orchestral support, all caught in a very fine recording.
But can the whole add up to less than the sum of its parts? Unfortunately that is my opinion. Very nice melodic material, but also it seems cliché ridden, do I dare say "hackneyed"? Others, I trust, will feel differently. The puzzle for me is how much I enjoy this thing despite feeling that it is identifiablely "movie music". It provokes two conflicting reponses from me: "Ick" and "Wow"
I didn't really like the volume 1 of Schnittke's Film music either. [Alfred Schnittke: Film Music Vol. 1 - Strobel] I wouldn't say I don't like all film music, I like "Alexander Nevesky" very much and also "Hamlet" and "Ivan the Terrible". Yes the Rhapsody sounds ever so much like "film music", but not of the quality of those I just mentioned.
Nevertheless, if you like the genre, I predict you will revel in this. Sometimes listening to it I say to myself "This is wonderful!" but immediately thereafter will come a passage that crys out Hackneyed!, Cliché!, Yuck!
The Suite from "Les Amants de Téruel" is in my mind a better composition. Not worlds apart, but it engenders quite a bit more respect from me. It is rather more satisfying. Having heard it about 4 times, I guess I have to admit to actually liking it now. You probably will too.
I do offer this caveat: I really, really like recordings that are set up to give a lot of "hall sound", when they sound like what I hear in my preferred location (two thirds to seven eighths of the way back from the stage, preferably in the first row of a center balcony) in a concert hall. In MCH, this recording pretty much does that although sometimes it seems a little too "live", like it was recorded in an empty and acoustically live hall.
But OH! it is a "live" recording done in the presence of an audience, a very appreciative and mostly quiet audience with real applause that actually surrounds you sounding like you are three quarters back in the hall. You hear most of the applause in front of you but a good measure comes from your sides and just a little less than that from behind. The thing I find really outstanding is that you are aware of the audience from the outset, and that you have a sense of the size of the hall. Again the audience is very well behaved. Its presence adds to, rather than subtracts from the enjoyment of the recording. You are truly there!
Despite my suspicion that there might have been some artificial "enhancement" to the reverberant character of this recording I have to say: "This production is VERY well done." I think, because of the audience and the spatial character of this recording it is the least Hi Fi sounding, most lifelike recording I have yet heard. Just be sure to turn it up loud enough!
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