- Audio CD (23 Oct 2000)
- Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: SACD
- Label: Sony Classics
- ASIN: B00004ZDVG
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 827,404 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
But here is our predicament. You'd have to buy 10 or so CDs to get the original recordings of all this wonderful music. When that is considered, this CD sounds like a great bargain, and in that respect, it is.
The excerpts represented on this disc are the best excerpts, and the playing is accurate and precise. The engineering also receives high marks for having completely clear sound and firmness of bass where the original recordings would not.
The Vertigo represented here is wonderful in its range and the depth of its tenderness, something the original soundtrack aspired to but did not achieve. It reminds me in the best way of Tristan and Isolde, but that's another conversation. The excerpts of Fahrenheit 451 and Taxi Driver are also very well played, especially the latter. The interpretations are in the spirit of the originals, and Salonen is to be commended.
Unfortunately, sometimes he just takes the wrong tempo. The overture to North by Northwest may sound better played faster, louder, and more obstreperously, but the original was smaller, quirkier, full of understated irascible ticks and obsessive weaving. I'm not sure which I like better. The rerecording is not bad, just different. (At high volume, though, it's better!)
The suite that really hit me the wrong way was Psycho. The quieter passages are perfect, but the violently urgent parts, like the overture and The Murder, seem to be played with an ounce of reserve. I realize that's not much, but any reserve can sink what should be complete terror. The players on the original recording sound like they are physically hurting their instruments. Here, they sound like they're only annoying them. However, this may be the result of my eccentric preference for original recordings. I'm used to hearing the Psycho score with scratches and pops and overplaying and mistakes. Maybe Salonen has improved on the original by refining it, but it will take me a while to forget the originals and appreciate these.
Bottom line: the engineering is much better, the playing is more accurate, the selections are superb, and the price is preferable. These benefits outweigh any of my insignificant bickering about the originals, because out of all the CDs you can buy of Bernard Herrmann, this may not be definitive, but it probably is the best we have.
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