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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, DOWNRIGHT ENJOYABLE, 10 Oct 2003
This review is from: Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion & celesta, Hungarian Sketches (Audio CD)
I have to agree with the previous reviewer, it is downright enjoyable. There is something about Fritz Reiner that always seems to make his recordings so. I don't know whether this is necessarily a good thing. I used to have his recording of Shostakovich's 6th symphony and now I don't and I miss it. He made it sound so logical, he made it sound like it belonged in the canon of symphonic heritage, Mravinsky doesn't. He had a reputation of being a bit of a tyrant, (I'm sure he was, but I don't know and I'm not sure that I care) His recordings don't sound tyranical and that's what matters. I wish there were more Reiner recordings available.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This very famous disc has been reissued in various formats but SACD and Living Stereo offer the best sound, 31 Dec 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion & celesta, Hungarian Sketches (Audio CD)
This very famous disc containing music recorded on three tracks in 1955 and 1958 has been renowned for two reasons. For those interested in the music, these interpretations and their performance by the Chicago orchestra set standards that have never been seriously matched, let alone improved upon. For those interested in sound engineering these recordings also set the standard for recordings made at that time.

That sonic achievement became more apparent when the Gold Seal edition was replaced with the Living Stereo edition. Having owned both, plus the LP before, I can verify that, in A/B comparisons, the sound was altogether improved with an enhanced sensation of 'being there.' That only leaves the present the SACD version to consider and which has long been out of production. However, at inflated cost, there are still a few available - mostly available from Japan.

Having received one of these increasingly rare SACD copies from a Japanese supplier. I have not been disappointed in my expectations. The improvement in sound over the previous Living Stereo version, which was itself very good, was immediately clear with far greater definition, depth and warmth.

Considering other options, why would one wish to buy such an historic recording when there are fine, and more modern, alternatives now available? Of those I would strongly suggest that the Fischer/Budapest alternative offers a particularly effective version that has a clear Hungarian 'rustic' favour. The 24 bit remastered Solti/LSO alternative is also much improved sonically and delivers high powered, non-Hungarian, interpretations with a sense of light humour. His later Chicago version has less, or no sense of humour and is all about high pressure delivered faultlessly with brilliant playing in a fine recording, if that appeals.

However, this set of recordings by Reiner has the best of all worlds. The Chicago orchestra plays with brilliance for certain, Reiner being a hard task-master on technical matters. However, and crucially, Reiner allows the music room to breathe with scrupulous attention to all the moderating instructions as regards precise phrasing and dynamics. This also allows the Hungarian folk element an opportunity to shine through. These remarks apply equally to all three pieces on this disc.

This SACD version is a considerable advance even on the Living Stereo predecessor also clearly apparent when played in stereo playback. I would therefore suggest that those interested ought to snap up a copy of this increasingly rare disc before it becomes completely impossible to find.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Music, Great Playing, 8 April 2003
By 
A.K.Farrar "AKF" (Timisoara, Romania) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion & celesta, Hungarian Sketches (Audio CD)
I have bought this CD several times and left it behind with friends everytime I've moved- it comes at a price allowing you to give it away and spread it around.
Bartok is now much more mainstream than he used to be and the pieces on this are easily accessible (downright enjoyable I'm tempted to say).
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