Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The perils of recordings of live concerts, 15 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Verdi: Requiem (LSO/Colin Davis) (Audio CD)
This is my fourth SACD of Verdi's Requiem, in a continuing search for my ideal. The quick review is that it doesn't displace my previous choices.
Sir Colin Davis shapes a dramatic and exciting reading. His overall time of 82'04" compares with Bychkov (Profil) at 80'16" and Harnoncourt (RCA) at 87'43" (all times taken from SACD covers). The LSO and chorus respond admirably, and while the chorus may not be quite as refined as some of the competition, it still impresses with its unanimity, variations of expression and clarity of diction.
I find it difficult to comment in detail on the soloists, due to the recording, of which more later. Christine Brewer (sop) has little difficulty with Verdi's demands and finishes with an affecting Libera Me. Karen Cargill (mezzo) is a new voice to me, and has a rich timbre that to my ears tends towards masculinity in the lower register, but that is my personal taste and does not detract from a committed performance. Stuart Neill (ten) produces some gorgeous soft singing, but tends to harden when under pressure in the high register. John Relyea (bass) suffers least from the recording and produces a consistently fine sound, with a thrilling Mors Stupebit.
As a quartet, the soloists blend well together.
The LSO Live series, in my opinion, has been uneven in recording quality. The best of them that I have bought are Smetana's Ma Vlast and Sibelius' symphonies 1 and 4, which are very much to my taste. When the recordings fail to satisfy me, it is inevitably due to closeness, presumably to exclude audience noise. This one suffers in the same way. Overall, the level is lower than average and needs (according to my amplifier) an extra 2dB to match Bychkov and 3dB to match Harnoncourt. Even with this extra volume, I find the sound constricted and opaque, despite having an acceptable balance. There is rear information, including off-stage trumpets, but there is never a believable ambience. This might have something to do with the Barbican's indifferent reputation, but I suspect it is more to do with close microphones. I have to admit that there are no extraeneous sounds (I had to get rid of Bosch's SACD on Coviello because I could no longer live with the audience noise), but this goes too far in the other direction. A quick listen to Harnoncourt's live recording shows how much better it should be.
The soloists are balanced naturally against the other musicians, that is to say neither spotlit nor submerged. They do however appear to share a common resonance which adds an edginess to the higher voices; hence my reluctance to make detailed comments on their contribution.
So this is a disappointing issue for me, especially since I like Sir Colin Davis's view of the work. My overall choice has to be for Bychkov on SACD, nearly as fine a recording as given to Harnoncourt and with more comfortable tempi. Abbado's EMI DVD still impresses in DTS surround.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.0 out of 5 stars (3 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Penarth, Vale of Glam Wales

Top Reviewer Ranking: 36,439