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An American in Paris / Rhapsody in Blue [Hybrid SACD, SACD, Import]

Various Artists Audio CD
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 25.65 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (25 Mar 2008)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD, Import
  • Label: Naxos of America Inc.
  • ASIN: B0021JLQOM
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,466,722 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dud in all aspects 7 Oct 2010
Verified Purchase
Stinker. Avoid.

Oh, you want more than a two-word review? OK, just this once...

In my BBC days, if someone had asked me to record sound like this, I would have done the following:

1) Hire a large aircraft hanger
2) Fill it with chunky vegetable soup - Heinz or Campbell's, it matters not
3) Take lots and lots of mikes; distribute at random throughout the hanger. Stir.
4) Hire an orang-utan to slide the mike faders up and down at random
5) Record to high quality medium such as 8-track cartridge or wax cylinder.

What do you mean, the musicians would drown in the soup? Have you not heard of aqualungs?

OK, you get the idea by now. A bad recording is bad on vinyl or CD, but it's super-bad on such a revealing and transparent medium such as SACD. This one sounds soupy (of course), thick, muzzy, distant, soft and fluffy. It also has the imaging, staging, focus and dimensionality of... a bowl of soup. What else? The giant piano lurks and lurches all over the hanger, seemingly at random.

It hardly seems kind to comment on the performances. You guessed it, they're not too good either. I was fairly gentle on the previous Ravel/Gershwin recording in this series, but that was actually a lot better than this one. Roge seems ill at ease throughout, particularly in the Gershwin. He has committed fine Ravel concertos to disc before. This is not one of them, though. And he sounds even more at sea with the Gershwin- thoroughly unidiomatic, in fact.

My only recommendation for this is if you are a connoisseur of bad.

So I suggest you dig out your vinyl and CDs of the Ravel concertos...or wait for the forthcoming Chandos coupling, which looks promising. Seriously, it just couldn't be worse than this.
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Amazon.com: 1.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incompetent and irrelevant 24 Aug 2012
By David Rowe - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Gershwin is completely foreign to Roge by the sound of this Rhapsody in Blue. Why did anyone think he should record it? Since he has no feel whatever for this music and nothing to say or contribute to it, he instead makes his mark by making two huge cuts. And it still drags endlessly on to over 16 minutes! Good god. De Billy even makes a small trim in An American in Paris, along with the occasional orchestration touchup (the 3rd flute plays piccolo in the middle section, for example, which has no musical value whatever). All of the above is unacceptable from those entrusted to bring this music to the listening public. And Oehms should be ashamed for shoveling this crap out to the unsuspecting purchaser.

And, yes, the comments here from the other reviewer regarding the recorded sound are largely correct. It is a cavernous acoustic and overblown in the bass. Although on a good surround system, it can be impressive in places (gorgeous string sounds, for example, with a lovely sense of air). But that's not enough. Overall this is a largely incompetent and thoroughly irrelevant release.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stinker. Avoid. 2 Sep 2010
By J. S. Bower - Published on Amazon.com
A number of folk have expressed the opinion to me - apparently sincerely - that they think markings of SACDs tended to be so high because manufacturers tend to select their best performances and recordings for this fine medium.

Phooeee, says I- and for the proof, listen to this one.

Several other folk have also opined - and with a lot more foundation in reality, I feel - that folk tend to review only stuff they really like. Well, if I had purchase a recording which subsequently turns out to be dreck, I would want to warn others not to waste their hard-earned cash, like I'd just done. So, please consider this review as a charitable enterprise.

Back to this recording. In my BBC days, if someone had asked me to record sound like this, I would have done the following:

1) Hire a large aircraft hanger
2) Fill it with chunky vegetable soup - Heinz or Campbell's, it matters not
3) Take lots and lots of mikes; distribute at random throughout the hanger. Stir.
4) Hire an orang-utan to slide the mike faders up and down at random
5) Record to high quality medium such as 8-track cartridge or wax cylinder.

What do you mean, the musicians would drown in the soup? Have you not heard of aqualungs?

OK, you get the idea by now. A bad recording is bad on vinyl or CD, but it's super-bad on such a transparent and revealing medium as SACD. This one sounds soupy (of course), thick, muzzy, distant, soft and fluffy. It also has the imaging, staging, focus and dimensionality of... a bowl of soup. What else? As a bonus, the giant, spongy piano lurks and lurches all over the room.

It hardly seems kind to comment on the performances. You guessed it, they're not too good either.

I was fairly gentle on the previous Ravel/Gershwin recording in this series, but that was actually a lot better than this one. Roge seems ill at ease throughout, particularly in the Gershwin. He has committed fine Ravel concertos to disc before. This is not one of them, though.

If these Oehms recordings are going to be the only Ravel Piano Concertos on SACD, I suggest you dig out your vinyl and CDs now...
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