|Review by canonical March 22, 2009 (8 of 18 found this review helpful)
|There was a time, not so very long ago, when the DG imprimatur meant something. One could buy almost anything emblazoned with that logo, and be sure of receiving, in return, something of true substance. Such is the power of branding. Then Universal took them over. Say no more ...
I had high hopes for this disc. Musica Antiqua Koln. Tick. Goebel. Tick. DG. Tick.
How are the mighty fallen.
The sounds of the strings throughout is grating and scratchy, bordering on distorted. It is appallingly bad. There is no clarity. Everything sounds distant, muffled and garbled ... as if recorded in the urinal of the Melanchthon-Kirche in Cologne, with the orchestra hiding in the crypt. This is easily the worst sounding SACD disc I have ever heard, or indeed ever hope to hear.
The rare vocal parts featuring Celine Sheen are better (maybe they splashed out on a separate microphone for her), and her singing is quite pure: still muffled, but not as bad as the string sections.
So what is good? The programme notes are super, and their presentation reads like an opera brochure - sumptuous and splendid, and surprisingly detailed. Although this disc is marketed as the music from the film: "Le Roi Danse" about the life of Lully, it is, in fact, a serious collection of Lully's music, together with three smaller works by Jacques Cordier (1580?-1655), Michel Lambert (1610-1696) and Robert Cambert (1627?-1677).
But that doesn't make up for the atrocious recording. Am I confusing performance with recording? Who knows? There comes a point ... where things are so indistinct ... that there is not much left to listen to. Out it goes. Thank God for eBay.
P.S. If one compares with the Biber Missa Salisburgensis -
listed on SA-CD.net at: Biber: Missa Salisburgensis etc. - Goebel/McCreesh
again with Goebel and Musica Antiqua Koln, again Archiv/DG, and again the same vintage (both 1999 recordings), it is interesting to note that the reviews of the Biber CD on Amazon are replete with abuse regarding the appalling recording engineering of that issue too.
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