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Bach: Mass in B Minor [Jonathan Cohen / Arcangelo] [Hyperion: CDA68051/2]
Bach: Mass in B Minor [Jonathan Cohen / Arcangelo] [Hyperion: CDA68051/2]
Price: £24.38

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an inspired interpretation, 23 April 2016
In recent years there has been some rather academic, formal and too respectful recordings of this great work, and I believe this one belongs to them. The chorus and instrumental players are more than OK, but the vocal soloists seem too cautious and restrained, Most importantly, the overall interpretation lacks in life and inspiration, and I think it is the conductor to blame.


The Enchanted Island [DVD] [2012] [NTSC]
The Enchanted Island [DVD] [2012] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ William Christie
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £15.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!, 14 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a fantastic production! The music is nicely compiled by Mr. Sams, and the story gets you in a good mood. The singers, the stage management and the set design are above praise. Highly recommended!


Karajan 1980s: The Complete Orchestral Recordings
Karajan 1980s: The Complete Orchestral Recordings
Price: £214.25

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, 12 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There are many fine recordings from Karajan's last decade. Among these are his Bruckner cycle, which began already in the 70ies box. The Richard Strauss poems, as well as the Nielsen 4, Mahler 9, and the Tchaikovsky / Dvorak serenades are also very good. The concertos with the young Ann-Sophie Mutter are recommendable. On the other hand, the last DG Beethoven cycle is possibly his worst. The Brahms cycle is not his best. I don't care much for his Haydn or Mozart interpretations. There are several choral works here. Mozart c minor mass, Haydn Creation, Brahms German Requiem, Verdi Requiem, Beethoven Missa solemnis, Mozart Requiem. Karajan was not the best interpreter of choral works. The presentation is very attractive. The cardboard sleeves are small copies of the original CD:s. As usual, the sound quality of DG's recordings are often inferior to those of other companies from the same period. The price is high - twice as expensive as the newest Bernstein box.


BDP9700 - 3D Blu-ray disc player + F3Y021BF2M HDMI 1.4 Cable - 2 m
BDP9700 - 3D Blu-ray disc player + F3Y021BF2M HDMI 1.4 Cable - 2 m

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine player for your money, 24 Sept. 2014
Philips packed this Blu Ray player with a lot of functions. My own needs were SACD capability and analogue 5.1 output, which BDP 9700 offers. In addition to this, there are 3D, dual HDMI (one audio only), built-in WiFi and several apps for network functions. Initially, there were several problems with the firmware, and at first I thought that Philips had solved those with a firmware upgrade. But there are still problems, such as that buttons on the front panel do not always respond. You have to press several times, or use the remote control. On the other hand, I have not experienced any issues with disc incompatibility. The picture and the sound are fine. If you can live with some small sources of irritation (such as the fron panel buttons), you get a fine player for your money. If you have still higher needs, look for the Oppo BDP-103EU or still better the Oppo BDP-103D (Darbee Edition).


Carlos Kleiber: Complete Orchestral Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
Carlos Kleiber: Complete Orchestral Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
Price: £31.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grab it while you can..., 3 Aug. 2014
Although these recordings have been released many times, included a SACD release of Beethoven symphonies Nos. 5 & 7, this is the first time that Brahms 4 and Schubert 3 & 8 appear in a high definition release. And they are certainly welcome, especially since the sound is very detailed and appealing. You also have the choice of a 5.0 surround track track. The recordings are beyond praise. These are "grand" interprations in the very best sense - dynamic and inspired. Wiener Philharmonics play wonderfully. Carlos Kleiber - 'primus inter pares'? It is sad that he did so few recordings. (There is a disadvantage with Bluray compared to SACD - you have to have a TV or a monitor to navigate when you start the disc.)


Pioneer VSX-S510-K Slim Design Network AV Receiver with Spotify Connect - Black
Pioneer VSX-S510-K Slim Design Network AV Receiver with Spotify Connect - Black
Price: £245.87

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Problems with decoding, 13 Jan. 2014
The idea of using class D amplification to reduce size and heat emission is very good. The sound is very good too. Minuses for no WiFi included (you have to buy an extra module), no 5.1 input, and a very oldish type of TV display interface. You could perhaps live with these. On my receiver, however, there were serious problems with DTS MA decoding. I tried four different Blu Ray players, and the receiver only managed to decode DTS Master Audio suround channels from one of these. Additionally, there was problems with getting sound from the subwoofer. If you are a fan of SACD:s, VSX-S510 can only decode 2-channel DSD sound (as stated in the manual). Cannot recommend this one - I returned mine.

I used the latest firmware s9499.4004.1014 from October 2013.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 29, 2014 7:20 AM BST


Karajan - 70s (DG box set)
Karajan - 70s (DG box set)
Price: £194.38

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Karajan's golden years..., 31 July 2013
This collection contains the complete recordings that Karajan did for DG (except operas) during the 70ies. Karajan was then at the peak of his career, and many of his most wellknown and famous recordings were made during this era.

First of all, there are the big symphony cycles - Schumann, Tschaikowsky, Bruckner, and Mendelssohn. These four are highly recommended, and are still considered to be among the best cycles. Then there is Beethoven and Brahms. Both these cycles may be overshadowed by recordings that Karajan made in the 60ies, and the competition is much stronger from other conductors when it comes to Beethoven and Brahms.

There are not many concerts in the set, but Ann-Sophie Mutters first recordings with Karajan are here, Mozart 3 and 5, and Beethoven. Very good indeed.

Karajan is not always thought of as a strong mahlerian, but the 9th symphony had good review in its time, and in this set there is also 4, 5 and 6. They are not bad at all. And then there are the Kindertotenlieder and Rückert-Lieder sung by Christa Ludwig - excellent recordings!

We are also given a number of baroque recordings that Karajan made with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker during the summer months. Bach, Vivaldi, Corelli and others. Although these recordings were made in another style that we are used to today, it can't be denied that they are high quality interpretations on their own right.

What is more difficult to get used to are Karajan's interpretations of choral works. There are several included here - Verdi's Requiem, Bach's St. Matthew Passion, Mozart's Coronation mass, to mention just a few. There are definitely fresher recordings (with better choral singing) to choose from.

There are a few surprises as well: Carl Orff's cantata De Temporum Fine Comoedia is one of them. Karajan made the only existing recording with forces from Cologne. This one a bit tougher than his "Carmina". And then there is one CD with European National Anthems, and two CDs with Prussian and Austrian Marches. I think that DG could had skipped these three CDs!

The presentation is very nice. The sleeves are with the original pictures and text, which is welcome and appeal to nostalgians. There is a thick book containing interesting essays and details about the recordings. You are not told anything about the masterings, however. DG wasn't known for the best masterings in the early days of the CD. The sound could be congested and cluttered, especially in heavyloaded orchestral music. However, DG did in fact do some new remasterings for the series "Karajan Gold". Thirty releases from the early digital era were remastered for this series using DG's special Original-Image Bit-Processing technology (OIBP). They were issued between 1993-1995. It has been a matter of debate whether these releases were an improvement over the original ones. Having bought one or two of them, at that time, I found the OIBP releases better.

To conclude then - this set is not cheap, but it contains a lot, including some excellent recordings. Questions remain regarding remasterings and sound quality.

---------------------

August 24, 2013. Additional comments on the sound and the remasterings. It is clear from the record labels that ALL discs in this box have gone through DG's OIBP remastering. Having now had some time to make comparisons, I picked a previous release of Schumann's 3rd symphony Schumann:DG 429 672-2 and compared this with the present release. The timings are not the same, which supports that some change has taken place. Unfortunately, I must say that there is little improvement (if any) of sound quality in the new release. The string sound is egdy and harsh in both releases. Sadly, I have sold my LP, so I havn't been able to make comparisons with the LP from the 70s. I believe though that some explanation may lie in the fact that the original recordings of DG were thought inferior to Decca and other companies in those years (and even later). No remastering in the world can make up the mistakes that took place during the recoding session.

November 17, 2013. After having listened to more of these recordings, I must confirm that the sound is a disappointment. I doubt that "Original-Image Bit-Processing" means more than that the original remastering was refurbished in some way or another, not that a new remastering was made. It is may also be that the original recordings were of such poor quality that it was not possible to accomplish more. Because of the sound, I have lowered my rating from five stars to four.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 23, 2014 4:52 PM GMT


Bruno Walter: The Edition
Bruno Walter: The Edition

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value, but missing documentation, 21 July 2013
This set contains good value for your money. I would, however, have preferred a release according to the "Original Jacket" concept. Although there is a fine booklet containing an essay on Walter, I severely miss the documentation that was included in original "Bruno Walter The Edition". That would had been possible to include on a separate CD. 20-bit mapping was used throughout, according to the booklet. I believe that people who buy boxes like this are real afficionados, and they value all information they can get about the recordings included.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 13, 2013 9:35 AM GMT


Bernstein Symphony Edition
Bernstein Symphony Edition

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value, but..., 21 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is good value for your money. I would, however, have preferred a release according to the "original jacket" concept, including also other works than symphonies. Although there is a fine booklet containing two essays on Bernstein, I severely miss the documentation that was included in "Royal" and "Century" editions. That would had been possible to include on a separate CD. Also, information on digital mastering is missing (8 or 24 bit). I believe that people who buy boxes like this are real afficionados, and they value all information they can get about the recordings included.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2013 11:01 AM GMT


Mendelssohn: The Complete Masterpieces
Mendelssohn: The Complete Masterpieces

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You take what you've got..., 22 Aug. 2009
A Swedish proverb, attributed to the famous 18th century cook, Kajsa Varg, is "You take what you've got" ("Man tager vad man haver"). And that is just what Sony & Co have done here. They have digged in their big archive, and found a lot of good old Mendelssohn recordings (and a few new ones as well). My purpose with this little essay is not to review each recording, but to give a view on the choice of works.

On the plus side stands, as said before, that there are quite a few good recordings in this set. One reservation though, is against the symphony recordings with Kurt Masur and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. The tempos here are quite brisk, and not as "romantic" and broad, as some people may want it. An advantage is also the documentation. You get a leaflet with 128 pages in English and in German.

The choice of music works, however, could be different. For example, you get three full CD:s with the complete organ works, but only one CD with lieder and duets. Also, you get only a small selection of "Songs without Words", not the entire collection.

Also missing in this set are for example:
- Concerto for violin, piano and strings, d minor
- Die schöne Melusine, overture, op. 32
- The concert pieces for clarinet, basset-horn and piano, opp. 113-114
- Sonata for violin and piano, f minor, op. 4
- Andante and rondo capriccioso for piano, op. 14

You will not find much of the a cappella music for chorus here, only the Lieder, op. 59. Of the Psalms, there is only op. 42.

To conclude, too much organ music, too little of Lieder and a cappella choral music. You might to have a look at the Brilliant set as well A Mendelssohn Portrait [40CD+1DVD] featuring 40 CD:s! But, on the other hand you'll miss the fine documentation.


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