Review by Kutyatest May 8, 2010 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
|I’ve been intending to write a review of this disc for a while now, but time always seems to beat me. Anyway, here I am, and very pleased to be writing my very first review of an SACD here or anywhere else. What sort of a listener am I? I consider that I have a reasonably good pair of nearly 50 year old ears, although I don’t have any real musical knowledge. This makes it difficult for me to express what I hear in any musical language, but I’ll just try to describe what I hear. In reviewing this disc, I have used the services of my Hungarian wife, who not only has more musical knowledge than I, but also enjoys listening to hi-res music just as much as I do. I am reviewing purely the MCH mix on this disc.
I came across the existence of this disc purely by chance, whilst looking for other SACDs with music by Dvořak, and noticed that it appeared not to be for sale anywhere. I know very little about the origin of this SACD, but assume that it was produced by Philips in mid-1999 as a demonstration/promotional disc to showcase the SACD audio format, as both the disc and case state “not for sale” clearly on them. The “sleeve notes”, therefore, are purely to promote the technical superiority of SACD over the CD, and do not mention the music on the disc. The disc is packed in an old style “narrow-hinged” super jewel box, and has a total of 64 minutes and 47 seconds on it.
The music on this disc appears to be a mix of well known and lesser known (at least for me) pieces, and all are beautifully played. The disc really does have a festive feel about it, akin I suppose to a bit of the New Years Day Concerts. It was recorded live, and as such, there is background noise at times, in addition to applause at the end of the pieces. The audience is quite well behaved though, only being slightly more noticeable during the start of the Kodály pieces. Perhaps a number of the audience used this as a toilet or bar break! I don’t find the general background audience noise off-putting , though, thinking that it adds purely to the feel of being at the venue. In fact, this is a disc that really gives a sense of being at a venue. Top marks to the recording engineers!
The first track, Dvořak’s Slavonic Dance op.72 No. 2, is played in a slightly more fluid and less “hoppy” way than the version by the BFO / Ivan Fischer on the Dvořak Slavonic Dances disc - which was recorded at the same venue 1 – 2 months earlier than the version on this demo disc. The music on this demo disc is played with a lot of emotion. The second track by Bartók, Romanian Folk Dances Sz 68 was completely unknown to me, but is a beautiful piece of music. My wife suggested that it painted for her a picture of a tranquil and idyllic Transylvanian peasant setting, with birds twittering and rabbits hopping over fields in places. With tracks number 3 – 5, we take a break from the orchestra, and listen to three pieces by Kodály, sung by a children’s choir. My wife thought that these three pieces seemed a bit out of place on this disc, and she wasn’t particularly taken by them. I found them to be delightful, beautifully sung, and are happy for them to be on this disc. Unlike my wife, however, I didn’t grow up having to regularly sing these pieces! Track number 6 is a piece that we both thought was particularly good for showcasing the SACD format, due to the range of frequencies heard from a wide and varied number of instruments - and a dazzling performance by the BFO. Track number 7 is another beautiful piece, with an excellent performance by the violinist. Track number 8 shows Ökrös giving a wonderful improvised performance of music by Bach and Liszt on the Cimbalom. At last, the chance to hear some music played on this often overlooked instrument! I suppose some people may find the improvisations a bit abstract, but the audience on this disc certainly appeared to enjoy this piece. I think this is the only disc I have with this instrument on it, and I enjoyed being able to “hear” the metal. Track number 9 is a somewhat melancholic piece - beautifully played - and just under a minute in length. Again, like the use of the cimbalom in the previous piece, it was nice to hear another under-used instrument – the tárogató – being played. Like David (raffels) in the first review, I also thought this piece was a bit out of theme - although it’s superbly played, and I don’t mind this piece being on the disc. Track number 11 definately evokes for me the feel of the New Years Day Concerts in Vienna - a beautifully cheerful and festive piece – very Austro-Hungarian. Track number 12 finishes this disc off, with another wonderfully played Austrian piece - festive, lively and optimistic. I suggested to my wife that it was a bit of the “Münchener Oktoberfest meets the New Years Day Concert”, being both festive and a bit rowdy. She found that amusing, feeling though that the beer of the Oktoberfest should be swapped with Pezsgő (sparkling wine)!
To summarise then, this SACD is a wonderful addition to my music collection, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who thinks they might like this selection of music. A wonderful top-class performance by the BFO, superbly mixed by the recording engineers, making this for me an above-average hi-res album in my ever-growing collection.
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Review by raffells November 14, 2009 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
|As nobody else who likes this disc is prepared to review it?
This was seemingly an early live 1999 DSD recording which seems NOT to
have been Up to the demanding standards required by those in charge.?
However we are indeed fortunate that someone had the foresight to release
this disc as a sampler and sort of demo disc.
Sadly No liner notes or information was provided with the discs I obtained
but it certainly has a Festive folkish feel running through it..
The good news is that we are rewarded with some wonderfull music and music
making of a fairly high degree.Plus generous applause between tracks,
caughing and those odd noises from the orchestra,*** some of which are musical.
I am only sorry that some editing of these "noises" could not have been edited out
hence the star dropped.
Apart from Bolero which sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise Easternish
European program, you are unlikely to hear some of these pieces again on sacd.
Certainly not better versions.
A summary ,
Starts with a Dvorak Slavonic Dance and Bartok Rumanian Folk Dances
then three Kodaly Choral works (plus children)beautifully and movingly sung ,followed by Lizst
Hungarian Rhapsody no 4.The Spaniard Sarasate piece Gypsy airs for violin and orchestra
is next, followed by something unique.
Oskar Okros Cimbalon improvisations on Bach and Lizst.
No name is attributed to the performer here ?an outstanding virtuoso, presumably the composer.
A traditional very short Hungarian Folk melody follows.
Somehow Ravels Bolero was included and this is my major gripe.Why ?
No complaints as to the performance, as if it matters?
The disc ends with two Strauss Polkas,***appropriate Long Live the Hungarians and Peasant Polka.
Bright lively toe tapping works.
I felt as though I could have gone an encore but maybe Im being greedy as there is no doubt they could NOT have gotten off the stage without doing one.
A disc for fun and enjoyment,stereo only being reviewed, it does have a multi channel track.
Firstly even though out of print there are a few copies knocking about if you know who to ask.
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