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on 29 February 2012
Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra are rapidly becoming the 'dream team' for standard (and not so standard) repertoire. Almost everything they turn their hands to turns to musical gold and this new release is no exception.

The 'Rite of Spring' is one of my all time favourite pieces and I've amassed a fair few recordings over the years. For me, Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra have been the version that I judge others by, both in terms of playing, recording and approach. However, Fischer and the Budapest Orchestra are equal in all respects.

As always in a new recording, I look for details I've not heard before and Fischer delivers in spades. (Although there's no real 'Urtext' with this piece and some conductors add and subtract at their leisure). Either way, the Channel Classics recording reveals EVERY detail of what's on offer.

The playing is exciting and committed and, in my opinion, this disc is superb.

Buy it!
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on 17 April 2012
I rarely write reviews because I am rarely blown away by a new recording. For this I will make an exception. I have about 20 recordings of The Rite and I thought I had one or two leaders (most notably Boulez with Cleveland), but this is a mile ahead. In terms of recording quality it is clean and clear but without any hint of dryness. But the playing is just awesome. Every single instrument is under complete control and the combined colours seem to change like a kaleidoscope - there are no rushed or blurred phrases which I'm afraid all the top boys have. Will everything the Budapest Festival do turn to gold, well if this standard is maintained then the answer is yes!
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on 24 April 2012
This SACD is recorded with two sonic mind-sets:
One is the Firebird & tango, the other is the Rite of Spring:

The rite of spring:
Yes, the Channel Classics here "reveals EVERY detail of what's on offer", as the other reviewer put it - including a muffled, weak, unsubstantial bass attacks that robs the reading and the listening pleasure of what's in the score.
The orchestra is given a bit of too distance placement from the microphones (in the editing and in the 'control-board'/volume setting) as a result the sound does not have the concert hall spread nor a good large studio recording spread - its quite narrow and almost contained in a shoe-box (read that as unimpressive SACD offering of such a great music...)

I guess the recording team has done what's possible there (and a bit more by the extensive use of too many microphones) counting-in that the concert-hall stage there is cramp, not big enough for a beefed up orchestra - see photos of this recording and how the back of the stage is formed like a horse-shoe with the musicians practically flattened against the back-wall; Bad for such a gigantic work and that the players are huddled together there...
Quite a disappointment this one is in-spite of the rave reviews endowed on it by the so called 'Gramophone tin-can-ears'...One should whole heatedly turn to the Concertgebouw SACD recording or to the Bis SACD offering instead.

I am certain the two recordings with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, one on RCA (Yuri Temirkanov - DDD recording) the other on Tring label (Yuri Simonov DDD recording) do to the 'Rite of Spring' more justice, has more drive, more tension, and a better sound-stage presentation and sounds more dynamic. (Not to forget the Colin Davis conducting the Concertgebouw, an amazing achievement from the mid Seventies on a Philips ADD)...

The Firebird and the Tango - fare better and enjoy a better perspective of what's there is for a SACD recording:
The orchestra has a better spread, taken not from too far perspective and the details are quite clear, yet, again, the bass range is limited and the explosions on the bass are tamed as if it was done in purpose as not to harm a mediocre home playback systems - so almost always the bass sounds like a Salami hitting the sofa...
Nevertheless, the Firebird & Tango are the better recording as a whole, but a five star for this SACD...? i think not.
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on 23 May 2013
Sounds great on vinyl at high volume to drown out the vacume cleaner.......pleased that it sounds as good on CD and itunes. Don't try ironing to this though it's too intense.
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on 9 October 2013
Excellent recording by the Budapest Festival Orchestra, one of the most dynamic symphonic orchestras of today which I already saw in live performances at several occasions. Especially the Firebird suite is a reference recording for me, as it is subtly balanced between intimacy and dynamic expression. Superiour sound quality thanks to (hybrid) SACD recording.
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on 24 May 2012
A stunning classical music album!
The music itself is also dramatic. It's the sort of music that you might use for a thriller or horror. I puchased the MP3 from Amazon. Excellent sound quality!
For any lover of classical music, I would highly recommend this.
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