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Previn Prowess, Power Packed Production,
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This review is from: R Strauss: Tone Poems (Audio CD)
Maybe it's my age, but Andre Previn is one of my favourite conductors. He is versatile, musical and never dull. His recordings have also weathered changes in musical "taste" over many decades. In 1990 when these recordings were made, he was still (in my opinion) at the top of his game.
Neither can you argue with the pedigree of the Vienna Philharmonic: consistently among the world's top three or four orchestras of all time. Previn was particularly fond of his time with them. Enough said.
And then the recording: Telarc have excelled in digital productions for decades, and I rate them very highly indeed for consistent quality. So did something go wrong here? There is good stereo imagery and excellent dynamic range, but on my first audition there was something not quite right. Right from the outset, it felt as if this was maybe an enhanced old analogue recording, but it isn't: it's billed as D-D-D. What's more, the sleeve notes state that there has been no compression, limiting, or equalisation applied to the master or mix. Very strange then, that the sound spectrum sounded somehow wrong. A bit of treble lift helped in a way, though the high violins got a bit edgy on my Tannoys: some aspects of the problem may be just the Musikvereinsall acoustics.
In my original review I noted that the louder horn parts exhibited some edgy distortion, and upon subsequent hearings I even detected here and there a faint trace in the right channel of that kind of buzzy tone I associate with RF breakthrough; well, hands up: it turns out that it was my amp after all: though otherwise excellent my ageing Creek 4040 has a bit of debris in the balance control. Funnily enough, this is the only CD that it shows up on (so far), and it is a combination of volume, pitch and tone that sets off the problem.
My other system (Marantz / Sony / KEF) sails through everything with ease (and gives a rather sweeter string tone than the Onkyo / Creek / Tannoy combo). I owe a debt of gratitude to D.S. Crowe who flagged up that his version was quite exemplary, leading me to re-audition.
By the way, it sounds as if Previn placed the first and second violins left and right, and the horns to the centre and right with the trumpets; the trombones are leftish and the basses appear to be stage right as usual.
5/5 for the performance, and with the right equipment a 4.5/5 for sound quality, bearing in mind the relatively high price, so as we do not deal in fractional stars here, 4 overall is my reconsidered overall rating, but a very honourable 4!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Jan 2013 18:25:47 GMT
D. S. CROWE says:
Having owned this since the day it was released, I do not recognise your criticisms of the sound quality which is superb- and all my equipment set ups are notch. You may have a faulty pressing- it does happen. There never was a vinyl release.sc.
Posted on 24 Jan 2013 20:06:02 GMT
Mr. N. Hazell says:
I have re-auditioned and edited my original comments, thank you.
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