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Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade / Stravinsky: Song of the Nightingale
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Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade / Stravinsky: Song of the Nightingale

28 Feb 2000 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 27 Feb 1996
  • Release Date: 27 Feb 1996
  • Label: Living Stereo
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:06:57
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001RA7LDG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,065 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John McCartney, Amazon Customer on 15 Oct 2011
Format: MP3 Download
Another RCA Living Stereo recording, this time of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner. And what a brilliant CD! It's hard to see how we've made progress in quality of recorded sound since this performance was taped in 1960. Perhaps, again, the simplicity of the recording technique used is what gives this CD its immediacy. You can nit-pick about the actual performance - this work is almost hackneyed in its sugary sweetness and popularity - and I have to say there are a couple of bloomers in the first movement which stop me giving this 5 stars, but overall this is a brilliant package. Reiner had just two years more to live when he conducted this, and is total master of his orchestra. Stick this on your player, crank up the volume, close your eyes, and you will be transported by the quality of the recording. In the final movement the double tongueing trumpets are simply brilliant, and I love the way the ending is almost a cross between Vaughan Williams "Lark Ascending" and a bit of Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream music. Just excellent.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 15 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely magnificent! 7 Dec 2000
By Jim Youngmeyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is *the* classic recording of Rimski-Korsakov's masterpiece. This magnificent work requires a first rate virtuoso orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchesta at its peak under Fritz Reiner delivers in spades. The playing is nothing short of breathtaking -- the woodwinds are gorgeous, the brass and percussion climaxes are thrilling, and the strings are mellifluous. The recording, although 40 years old, easily holds its own with today's digital recordings. This is truly one of the finest classical music recordings of all time.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Get it for the finest Scheherazade on disc! 4 Mar 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Certainly one of reiner's most famous recordings of the many superlative ones he made with the CSO, this remains an absolute favorite, from the time i first heard it, until now, while i currently listen to it while i type.
I love the commanding opening the brass announce, and sidney harth, not john weicher as another reviewer said...it simply gets better, as harth doesn't indulge in the solos as many other violinsts have done, and continue to do. the first movement is a tidal wave of energy, and reiner's rubato has never been approached.
the second movement solos by the principal winds are inimitable as well, proving that this piece is an orchestral showoff one as if reiner were saying, "look how good my orchestra is!" He was absolutely right.
The third movement is wonderfully seductive in the strings, which were much better then than now, and the quirky clarinet and flute solos. Again, Reiner's rubato is unparalled.
What absolutely stuns me is the last movement, played at such a dashing pace that reiner proves only the chicago symphony under his direction could do what they did. Listen to the incredible virtuosity of the strings, winds, percussion, and esp. the brass (how bout those 32nd notes, all you brass players?) any brass player ought to own this recording fo it proved that the brass of the CSO were indeed, the best of their era, and that includes the vienna and berlin philharmonics. sidney harth really does sing his heart out on the violin in the end, smartly opting to play the stratospheric high notes instead of opting for less invigorating and more dull harmonics that one usually hears. whether that was harth's decision or reiner's i don't know, but it works. oh, by the way, this movement was done in, get this...ONE TAKE! what orchestra today could do that? not many is the correct answer. Or, what conductor could make this cartoony music not sound incredibly cheesy? not many either. Hence why reiner and CSO have the best scherazade there ever will be.
I've heard quite a bit of fritz reiner's recordings, and this, i must say, might be his finest.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
One of the two best recordings 28 May 2000
By kreisleriana16 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Shererazade was recorded at the peak of both the CSO and Reiner's tenure with that ensemble. The playing is precise and clear. The dynamics are superb. John Weicher's violin solos are virtuoso (Weicher was Concertmaster for many years with the CSO). The recording was made at a time when CSO recordings were coming out on a regular basis from RCA with their then "Living Stereo" technique.
As in other CSO recordings of this period RCA was able to master the excellent accoustics of Orchestra Hall adding to the all ready outstanding playing of this orchestra based in more of a "German" traditional sound dating back to the ensemble's origins.
Reiner was able to keep under control his powerful brass section which was one of the world's best. The musicianship is tops.
The problem is that one almost has to have two recordings as the Beecham/RPO recording is also outstanding. It is similar to Reiner's with the outstanding ensemble that Sir Thomas was able to achieve without sneering down at his members.
For Reiner/CSO fans this is an absolute "must have". For those who enjoy the work either recording will suffice. As to which is better: that is up to the ears of the listener!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful music and an awesome recording 1 Jan 2006
By Dick K - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
What a treat for the ears!

The Living Stereo series was wonderful then and it's even better now. There are two editions of this music: this CD and a hybrid SACD that has both a 3 channel and this, 2 channel, track. Review is of the SACD but applies to this standard CD.

The SACD release has fantastic sound quality and, thankfully, is completely true to both music and the original recording. Originally recorded in "3 channel stereo" that's what you get here--no, there's nothing in the rear channels of the surround mix but that's exactly the way it should be. Taken directly from the nearly 50-year old (!) masters, the engineers did nothing at all to the sound except digitize and transfer each track to the SACD/CD master. Nothing added, nothing subtracted. And the quality of those masters is astounding--clear, bright and full. No tape hiss. No loss of highs. Just wonderful music expertly performed.

Dissapointed you're only getting 3 channels and not 5-7? Don't be. You'll hear musicians across the broad but shallow Chicago Symphony Hall just as the engineers heard them in the recording sessions in 1960 and 1956. And those musicians are superb, particularly to my ears, on the Sheherazade portion. This is an excellent orchestra caught at its prime resulting in a truly world-class performance of this well known and well loved music.

In short, get this CD! Even if you don't have a universal player now, the 2 channel transfer is equally good, a faithful recreation of a classic LP. And if you can play the SACD layer so much the better because for the first time you'll hear exactly what was recorded and what the engineers heard in nearly 50 years ago.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"Enchantment awaits within" 20 July 2010
By Steve Wyzard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"Scheherazade may be familiar, but she neither breeds nor deserves contempt." So says the liner notes, obviously responding to the many critical dismissals of the piece as a "warhorse" or as "pops" material. Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony, who also recorded three Bartok masterpieces for Living Stereo at about the same time, demonstrate that Rimsky-Korsakov's biggest hit is truly an outstanding "concerto for orchestra". This recording dates from February 8, 1960 yet sounds like it was made earlier this week. Is digital recording really necessary when we can have such clear, bright sound from a half century ago with no tape hiss?

Listen to the brass leap out of the speakers at the opening measures, followed by soft, gentle flutes. While much is made of Sidney Harth's violin solos over Edward Druzinsky's vibrant harp, the ravishing clarinet of Clark Brody must be heard to be believed. And so it goes throughout the piece, from 2nd movement bassoon, oboe, and piercing piccolo, to the 3rd movement's opening string melody and snare drum flourishes, to the 4th movement's rhythmic Baghdad festival, with chattering trumpets and bass drum explosions. Maybe it has been over-programmed over the years, but only the most cold-hearted academic snob would dismiss such a riveting score as this. If music listeners were given more opportunities to hear Rimsky-Korsakov's Symphony #2 "Antar" (unfortunately never recorded by Reiner and the Chicago SO), they would love it and demand it just as much as the ever-popular Scheherazade.

The other reviewers have ignored this disc's makeweight, Stravinsky's Song of the Nightingale, recorded on November 3, 1956 by the same forces. While not on the same level as the three ballets that made him world famous, this piece is the closest Stravinsky came to writing a flute-and-percussion concerto. Some say it drags, but this is fascinating, other-worldly music. As with Scheherazade, the brass leaps out in the cacophonus opening, and one is amazed yet again at the age of this lively, vivid recording. In this symphonic suite taken from a less-than-successful opera, the flute cadenzas portray the titular nightingale. Add some vigorous percussion, quirky bassoons, tinkling harp and celesta, shrill strings and trumpets, wild oboes, and echoing gongs, and you have one of Stravinsky's most imaginative tributes to the Far East. Perhaps this is not absolutely top-drawer material, but it's still very deserving of airings and performances, and it loses nothing when paired with the much-more famous work of his one-time teacher.

This disc is an outstanding bargain for definitive performances/recordings such as these with a conductor and orchestra that must be mentioned with the all-time greats. Highly, highly recommended!
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