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Allan Blonde (London & Sapporo Japan)

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Mahler: Symphonies 1 - 10, Das Lied von der Erde
Mahler: Symphonies 1 - 10, Das Lied von der Erde
Price: 20.24

6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let's Be Honest, 8 Feb 2012
A bargain. Yes! Very good sound. Yes and especially in the Japanese higher density material.( I have both pressings.)
But compared to the really great performances that are available for each of Mahler's symphonies, these come off as dull, dull, dull.
To take just one example, listen to the recent Jurowski LPO Mahler 2nd; then listen to Bertini. After the Jurowski, a great performance, you will be reaching for the off switch on your gear if you haven't fallen asleep before you get to it.
The end result: if you need to weigh every farthing you spend go for it. But with some judicious selecting you can do much much better for a little extra money.
See for starters Tony Duggan's excellent Mahler recordings survey.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2014 3:06 AM BST

Shostakovich: Symphonies 5 & 9
Shostakovich: Symphonies 5 & 9
Price: 6.00

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stupendous, 24 July 2011
I have been around almost as long as Shostakovitch's 5th Symphony. I've heard it played many times live and have all the recordings that received good reviews from almost anyone, but I was not prepared for this performance of the 5th. Pentrenko rightly sees the ambiguity of the work: a statement of enormous power yet one of equally unrelieved self-reflexive tension. No one to my knowledge has achieved this essential character of the piece as remarkably as Petrenko, and because of that, no one has conveyed the emotional impact of the work as well as he. The tempo of the last movement, which is slower than in other performances, is a key factor contributing to the outstanding success of the performance and is no more wayward than the tempi of other great but perhaps atypical performances such as those of Furtwangler's Beethoven symphonies.
Furthermore, the Liverpool Phllharmonic are first rate and sound of the recording is outstandingly fine. An equally fine performance of the 9th Symphony is thrown in, making this at the Naxos price one of the bargains of the record catalog.

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos No.3 & No.4
Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos No.3 & No.4
Price: 14.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No. 4 Goes to the Top of the Class, 24 July 2011
Since I see that there are already very perceptive reviews of this disc on line I'll make this brief to add my applause to the chorus. Playing it for the 3rd time last evening the 4th concerto bowled me over. If you love these works you need this recording even though they have now been recorded several times outstandingly well.

Opera Overtures and Incidental Music
Opera Overtures and Incidental Music
Offered by adrians_records
Price: 21.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Great Schippers, Just OK Ormandy, 24 July 2011
The reason for getting this disc is for the 1960 performances of 5 short pieces conducted by Thomas Schippers, a conductor perhaps not as well known as he should be. Almost everything he put on disc is excellent. Here Schippers is conducting the NY Philharmonic, alias the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, which was in great condition at that time. The sound is good, but perhaps Sony somewhere will reissue them with better processing such as 24/96 or DSD, and better still, in combination with Schippers outstanding recording of Prokofieff's Romeo & Juliet selections.

The Ormandy performances, on the other hand, are not as good and neither is the sound, but the disc is worth getting at a reasonable price for the 31+ minutes of the Schippers alone.

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 23
Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 23
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 15.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A+ Great Perfomance and Sound, 18 July 2011
I have owned this recording for quite some time, but didn't give it a serious listening because the American Record Guide's Mozart Concertos Overview gave this and other Uchida performances a very lukewarm reception. However, I recently came across STEREOPHILE's Overview of the Piano Concerto 20 by Christopher Breunig who suggested the Uchida might be the best recording of this great work.
So I listened again, this time carefully, and guess what? The performance is sublime, comparing favorably if not surpassing me favorite Curzon performance. The interpretation includes the classical/romantic ambivalence or a great Mozart interpretation, many interesting touches in phrasing, and the playing both pianist and orchestra is technically superb. Finally, the sound is probably the best available, at least among all the relatively old standard recommendations for this work.
In addition, I have felt for quite some time that the companion performance on this disc, Piano Concerto 23, is also among the top performances on record.
I might add that this performance seems to be available in several different pressings. Perhaps Philips will reissue this disc again in the new super high density master format. That will really reveal the full glory of the great sound.

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3
Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3
Price: 11.72

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 16 July 2011
I am a big fan of Petrenko whom I believe will be seen as one of the great conductors of the 21st century if he continues to develop his extraordinarily talents. For that reason I snap up all the new CDs which he conducts and, by and large, have been repaid with hearing excellent performances.
I have to admit those in question here, however, are nothing special. The accounts are well performed but lack insight to mine the essential romanticism of these works. With a substantial number of great performances of each work available there is no reason, unless like me you have made a mistake, to buy this CD. The three stars are awarded for the technical quality of the performances and the sound both of which are excellent.

After reading the remarks of others on this site I must strongly object to the person who rates this disc highly for its relaxing qualities. Anyone who listens to Rachmaninoff to relax would be better off with Montovanni or some other form of aural pablum! Rachmaninoff's music reaches and gives insight into the heights and depths of human feeling and it is a disservice to him to characterize his music as relaxing.

Rachmaninov: Symphony No.2 (Symphony No.2/ Vocalise Op. 34 No. 14)
Rachmaninov: Symphony No.2 (Symphony No.2/ Vocalise Op. 34 No. 14)
Price: 6.00

0 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to get excited about, 1 July 2011
Fairly well performed but a somewhat boring performance in decent sound. I expected better from Slatkin. Save your money for one of the really great recordings of this glorious work. Go for either or both Temirkanov or Previn, both on EMI. Ashkenazy is a good but trailing third choice.

Beethoven: Complete Symphonies
Beethoven: Complete Symphonies
Price: 30.70

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Beethoven cycles Ever!, 1 July 2011
It's hard to know where to begin. Each of these performances reinvents Beethoven more than any other recording I am aware of. The only other sets of Beethoven symphonies of the last 60+ years that compare with it in greatness are Furtwangler's in a combination of EMI and DG pressings and Bernstein's Vienna DG set, highly recommended for improved sound in the new Japanese super high density but also very expensive pressing. If you acquire the Haitink and the Bernstein, which is more traditional but equally great, you will have a lifetime's worth of good listening ahead of you. And the sound on both of these sets is extremely good, which is why I must rule out the Furtwangler's performances even though they are also in the same league.
Also, a fantastic bonus that comes with this set is the best Triple Concerto I have ever heard and, here, the sound is outstandingly fine; whereas the Bernstein set is filled out with Beethoven overtures in performances that are not nearly as good as the symphonies.
If it comes to push and shove with your pocketbook get this one first.

Elgar: Enigma Variations; Britten: Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra/Four Sea Interludes From Peter Grimes
Elgar: Enigma Variations; Britten: Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra/Four Sea Interludes From Peter Grimes
Price: 14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not To Be Missed For The Sound, 6 Jun 2011
Three of the greatest pieces of 20th century British music, played by a superb orchestra, in absolutely phenomenal sound. Who could ask for anything more? Well, maybe better interpretations.
I have several recordings of each of these works, including the Britten by the composer which is superb. But the sound on this present disc has a weight in the lower registers unimagined in previous recordings and one in which the violins have the timbre one hears at a live concert. Just make sure your neighbors are on holiday when you play this recording. Or better still, invite them over for a listen. There are few compositions better than the Britten Young Person's Guide to turn people into a serious music lovers.
Not to be missed for the combination of compositions, the great orchestra, and the outstanding sound. Six stars for the sound which really is something special if you have the equipment that can extract the best from the disc! However, these ever popular works have received better interpretations -to mention just one of each: Jochum's Enigma on DG, Britten's own recording of Young Person's Guide on Decca, and Previn's 4 Sea Interludes on EMI.

Brahms: Symphonies 2 & 3
Brahms: Symphonies 2 & 3
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 12.18

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Orchestra, very good sound, something new, 6 Jun 2011
I purchased this CD on the basis of a review I read, because it is a HYBRID CD, and because I love Brahms.
The orchestra plays very very well. The sound is good (clear and too chilly for Brahms) but not great. That being said, the interpretations leave much to be desired. For example, it is difficult to make the 3rd Symphony sound cut and dried but Jansons has managed to do this, or so I thought. However, after a second listening, I am finding that Jansons does quite a few interesting new things with both symphonies.
Of all the Brahms' thirds I have the 1959 recording by Bruno Walter, in the latest 1999 Japanese reissue, is still in the lead. The orchestra might not play as well as Jansons' but the interpretation is superb and the sound better than the present disc. This is true for the 2nd symphony as well. I have had 3 CD incarnations of the Walter performances, each one in better sound than the last. I am not waiting for Sony to reissue the Walter once again using the BLUE RAY process which should reveal the glorious sound of the original master tape as fully as possible with today's technology.
Altogether, this new disc is a worthwhile supplement, especially if you can take advantage of the SACD sound. Try to hear both Levine/CSO and Maazel/Cleveland performances which are also both good. But for a one only recording of each work CD get the Walter.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2012 8:55 PM BST

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