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Reviews: Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben - Jansons

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Reviews: 5

Site review by Castor February 12, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by Daland December 23, 2004 (7 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I had looked forward to this release with eager anticipation, but found the result a bit disappointing. Having listened to it several times, I now judge the recording rather differently. While the sound lacks weight, with the horns (so important in this tone-poem) often relegated to the background, the warm and silky sound of the strings is most pleasant. The difference between the multi-channel and stereo versions is none too great, with the rear channels mainly providing ambience. Unfortunately, you have to turn up the volume considerably to reach a satisfactory level, but even so the bass in this 5.0 recording is on the light side.
The interpretation, full of warmth and emotional intensity, emphasizes the romantic element rather than the conflict. Even the battle scene is rather subdued, turning out to be less of an ordeal for the ears than it often is. It took me some time to warm to Jansons' leisurely approach. After all, Ashkenazy and the Czech Phiharmonic (on the Exton label, in stereo only) offer a more exciting account as do Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The playing of the Concertgebouw can hardly be faulted and the violin solo is very ingratiating. So this disc can be recommended to those more interested in the romantic than in the heroic aspects of this wondrous score.

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Review by mwagner1962 April 12, 2005 (8 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I have to disagree 100% with the previous review. I find the sound to be just fine, and the horns are not "relegated" to the background as the horns ARE in the background, as ALL horns in EVERY orchestra are in the BACK of the orchestra...unless you like the grossly over mike Deutsche Gramophone recordings that give unrealistic or over miked sounds.

The tempo is somewhat more laid back than my RCA Living Stereo SACD with Reiner and Chicago, but I still find it to be just fine in comparison. The brass and winds all play with their regular superb style, and once again shows why the Concertgebouw Orchestra is one of the world's top orchestras!!

Angst over any reverberation in this recording?? Sorry, but this comes with the territory in dealing with every recording ever made in the Grote Zaal in the Concertgebouw. The DG Mahler recordings with Bernstein have some of it (though their usual too closed miking kills some of it), the Decca SACDs and redbook Mahler symphonies with Chailly have the same reverb. The older Haitink Shostakovich symphonies have it. If you do not like some reverb, do not buy recordings of the RCOA.

I found no need to constantly adjust the volume, as one setting had it fine for both extremes. I therefore find the volume to be peachy.

I will recommend this to anyone, and I will continue to buy future RCOA Live SACDs, as this recording is as satisfying as the Dvorák Symphony No. 9 that Mariss Jansons did...


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Review by solenne February 5, 2007 (5 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I remained disappointed from the quality of the sound, not natural.
I have read on recording information: "Recorder and mixed on yamaha dm2000 and Tascam mx2424 - 48Khz".
We must say sincerely that this sacd is like a CD. The quality of the sound is far from best high definition recordings.
You can find this in the rough sound of the strings or the brass.
I suggest Living stereo version (Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Fritz Reiner) better performance and sonic too (from 1954 analogic recording).
Very disappointed.

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Review by Julien April 29, 2008 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The 45 minutes I just spent listening to this piece were magic. The recording places you further away than most recordings I've heard, and I didn't appreciate it before. But my system now is so much better than it used to be that I prefer this type of recording now. Because the distance and the positioning of the instruments are very accurate, and the hall sound is fantastic even in stereo. My prediction is that if you have a very revealing system you will love this recording, but if your stereo system is not as revealing you might prefer closer recordings. Why? Because if your system is not revealing enough you might find this recording vague and unfocused like some kind of soup... Anyway I'm not sure of all that for you guys, all I know is that I found it pretty average before and suddenly the accuracy, the imaging of this recording in stereo is among the best I know.
About the performance it is absolutely top notch, especially for a live performance.

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