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GREAT CONDUCTORS OF THE 20TH CENTURY: Ernest Ansermet Original recording remastered


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Disc 2
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x92a1b450) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92a2b8f4) out of 5 stars Great Conductors of 20th Century = Best Reissues of the 21st 18 May 2003
By Michael Brad Richman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It's sad that the "Great Conductors of the 20th Century" reissue series has not gotten more notice on Amazon and in other places, because it has my vote for the best reissue program thus far of the 21st Century. Drawing from the archives of all the major classical labels (EMI, Sony, BMG, DG, Decca, Philips, Supraphon, etc.), EMI and IMG Artists have assembled a wonderful series of affordable two-disc sets by the leading conductors of the last century. And unlike its counterpart, "The Great Pianists of the 20th Century," which are basically compilations of material already available on other CDs, the "Great Conductors" features rare and, for the most part, previously unreleased performances!
This particular CD, Volume 2, features the great Ernest Ansermet leading L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the orchestra he founded, and the Orchestre de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire. A mathematician prior to his life as a conductor, Ansermet had his critics as he was virtually self-taught, though he did study music as a youth. But that mathematics background served him well in the studio as his early stereo recordings of everything from Rimsky-Korsakov and Stravinsky to Ravel and Chabrier are engineered to perfection, and often sound better than the recordings by so-called more famous conductors.
Whether you are a serious collector of classical music or a beginner, the "Great Conductors of the 20th Century" has something for everyone. If the prized, rare performances previously unreleased on CD (or ever!) doesn't excite you, then use this as an opportunity to check out one of the greatest conductors ever recorded. Chances are, since stores are offering increasingly homogenized classical music sections, this conductor isn't even in your collection. And that would truly be a shame.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x947a603c) out of 5 stars All in STEREO (except La Valse) 24 April 2013
By oliverofan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having read Santa Fe Listener's review, I must weigh in.
First, La Valse is from 1953 as the set's booklet clearly states, not 1954.
Second the Scheherazade and Isle of the Dead are in stereo, very early
stereo (1954) but genuine nonetheless as your ears will clearly reveal.
Third, in my opinion far too much is made of the Suisse Romande's inferior
quality as an orchestra. Perhaps it is Ansermet's magical sense of orchestral
balance; perhaps it is the sense of fitting sound wrought by now so highly
regarded Decca engineers of the era, but how can anyone listen to the
Chant du Rossignol except opened-mouthed at the clarity and brilliance of
the sound? And the early stereo of Scheherazade will knock your proverbial socks
off. With Ansermet I find that I am always concentrating on the music rather than
the interpretation. So much just comes across as 'right' that the veil of
interpretation seems to fade until there is nothing between the listener
and the music. This of course is only my opinion. Try this issue for yourself
and if you're intrigued go to the inexpensive Australian Eloquence reissues
of many Ansermet stereo issues (and don't skip the mono ones; there's gold amongst
those valuable old rcordings!).
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94b6f978) out of 5 stars A true portrait of Ansermet, despite two weak performances 6 Nov. 2005
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ernest Ansermet was Decca's house French conductor, even though he was Swiss, preceding the rise of Charles Dutoit to that post. He is a more interesting condcutor than Dutoit, and one of the last to form and train his own orchestra, as Koussevitzky did in Russia. All the music on this double CD is Russian or French, with the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra thrown in.

Ansermet was an intellectual conductor who began life as a mathematician. He had a refined, precise style that wasn't rigid, and perhaps because of his intellect, he made Stravinsky sound like an easy composer to conduct. Far and away the best thing in this collection is the first item, a mono reading of Stravinsky's Song of the Nightingale (1954) that bristles with quirky life and exotic orchestral noises. It's unfortunate that the compilers waste so much space with two big pieces, Scheherazade and the Barok Concerto for Orchestra, both quite substandard in sonics ad orchestral technique--they make Anermset sound provincial, and he was hardly that. The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande certainly was.

The samller pieces, like a fresh-sounding, charming Afternoon of a Faun, an Isle of the Dead in mono (1954) that manages not to sound lugubrious, and an unbuttoned 1954 mono La Valse show off the legendary sound that Decca gave Ansermet througout his career--odd that the Rimsky and the Bartok are wiry and substandard. Altogether, this is a true portrait of a French-styled conductor who released dozens of recordings over three decades and deserves even more reissues (such as his incomparable Sleeping Beauty ballet).
HASH(0x92a2bc90) out of 5 stars grande ansermet 9 Feb. 2014
By Tinto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
what a brilliant selection of recordings of this excellent musician! an excellent introductiong to the vast amount of recordings by Ansermet, who really deserves more attention
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