Review by Jonalogic October 22, 2011 (4 of 8 found this review helpful)
|Mythologically, policemen on this side of the ditch are prone Ė at the scene of horrible accidents and smash-ups - to say something like Ďnothing to see here, Sir, please move along nowí.
That might also serve as a motto for this recording, Iím afraid. After starting so well, Esotericís reissue programme has Ė of late Ė regretfully turned into a series of monster mashes. I regret to report that this one follows the same dismal trend.
This is particularly sad in the case of this Munch/OdP reading of the Symphomie Fantastique. Itís a marvellous reading, but has long lived under the shadow of the earlier Living Stereo with the Boston Orchestra, as well as being marred by early teething problems and some iffy playing with the brand new Paris orchestra.
Regretfully, IMHO, the earlier Boston reading is easily one of the worst sounded LSCs. But anyone expecting better sonics here will be sadly disappointed. Itís actually quite painful. The grossly distorted and shattered diamond sound of massed strings here could easily be weaponised and used for riot control. Itís hysterically shrieky and very nasty, capable of drilling teeth or shattering glasses at 100 paces.
Plus thereís a hole in the middle of the stage that you could drive a Land Rover Discovery through. And not a lot of dynamic range in between. In short, this damn thing is nigh unlistenable. What were Esoteric's mastering mavens actually doing at the time? And were they paid off by the Olympus board?*
So, Iím still waiting for a good SF on SACD. And donít go on about the Davis, pleaseÖ Although itís a fine reading, this has sounded veiled, murky and unnatural to me (in best Philips style) since I first heard it on vinyl 30 years or so ago, and hasnít improved much in its later Penatatone incarnation. Heaven knows I've tried it on so many hi-end vinyl, CD and now SACD rigs, but it's clear to me now that it's the recording, dammit, that's at fault.
Anyway, this latest Esoteric is surely a duffer, particularly at its silly pricing, so keep tryingÖ
* sorry, photographic joke, that
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