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  Mercury Living Presence
  475 618-1
  Hanson: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 - Hanson
  Hanson: Symphony No. 1 "Nordic", Symphony No. 2 "Romantic", Song of Democracy

Eastman School of Music Chorus
Eastman-Rochester Orchestra
Howard Hanson (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 3

Review by DSD October 7, 2005 (6 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This as a review comparing the Telarc and the Mercury Living Presense Howard Hanson SACDs listened to in 2 channel Stereo:

Hanson: Symphony No. 1 "Nordic", Symphony No. 2 "Romantic", Song of Democracy
Howard Hanson (conductor), Eastman-Rochester Orchestra, Eastman School of Music Chorus
Mercury Living Presence SACD 475 618-1

Howard Hanson: Fanfare for the Signal Corps, Suite from Merry Mount, Bold Island Suite, Symphony No. 2 Op. 30 "Romantic", Erich Kunzel (conductor) Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
Telarc SACD-60649

Folks this is all the Howard Hanson on SACD so far, I hope much more Hanson is released, both Hanson the composer and Hanson the conductor.

Let me state I like both of these SACDs but for different reasons.

So let’s start with the one work that is common to both SACDs: The Symphony No. 2 “Romantic”
Hanson’s MLP version is vastly superior to the Kunzel Telarc not only in performance but in sonics. The warm deep bass of the Paavo Jarvi Dvorak SACD is not here, the Telarc sound is very good but the Mercury has more and deeper bass, more impact and more excitement. Plus the Hanson’s is a better conductor of his own works than Erich Kunzel is.

The other works on the Mercury Living Presence SACD is the First Symphony which is a very exciting and wonderful piece and the Song for Democracy which has vocals and they are very well blended with the orchestra with lots of sparkling high percussion and tops the disc of nicely.

The sound on the Telarc Howard Hanson SACD is pale by comparison. The music here is less exciting, less rhythmic and more “easy listening”.

A fantastic sounding Mercury Living Presense and highly recommended.

Happy listening,

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Review by Ivymike January 11, 2006 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
If you do not own the redbook release of this superb disc I would strongly suggest running, not walking, to the nearest hi-fi store and snatching it up. It is one fantastic purchase.

It is a shame more listeners today are not familiar with Hanson's music. He championed American music during his long tenure at the Eastman School and we are lucky to have these recordings conducted by the composer. The music is by turns romantic, inspiring, gentle and exciting and gets better with repeat listening.

The sound quality of these transfers is outstanding and capture the fine acoustic of the Eastman Theater. The years between 1958 and 1962 were probably the best for the Mercury sound, before Bob Fine turned everything over to Robert Eberenz. The latter achieved some super sound, but Fine really had a touch when everything was in place. All three works presented here were recorded in 1957 and 1958. The three-channel versions presented here for the first time only improve on the already excellent sound of the redbook release, with a large, deep soundstage and up-close miking that brings out piano passages beautifully; just listen to to track number 4, the first movement of Symphony No. 2. Film fans will recognize bits of this movement from the end titles to the film "Alien".

As with all Mercury 3-track, half-inch transfers tape hiss is moderate in level and may bother some listeners accustomed to digital silence, but only at first. The music is simply too good and you'll soon be listening past the hiss and besides--who wants to hear non-Dolby tapes with a high end that has been equalized to remove the hiss? Not I!

A simply wonderful disc of great music in sound that is beyond reproach. Please do yourself the favor of experiencing this marvellous document. Most highly recommended.

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Review by avraham January 8, 2005 (4 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I am surprised no one has reviewed this disc yet. I recently purchased this disc and have spent several hours listening to this remarkable SACD. I have not been familiar with Howard Hanson's work but found the music a pleasant discovery. The original recording must have been one of the better Mercury 'Living Presence' efforts, the sound is impeccable. Again the added efforts that Decca and Emil Berliner Studios use to transfer the original tapes to DSD have been justified. I hope that RCA 'Living Stereo' will consider using similar efforts to improve their future releases.

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Works: 3  

Howard Hanson - Song of Democracy
Howard Hanson - Symphony No. 1 "Nordic"
Howard Hanson - Symphony No. 2 "Romantic"