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Reviews: Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole, Pavane; Rachmaninov: Isle of the Dead - Reiner

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Reviews: 3

Review by mwgfrg August 8, 2014 (8 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I would make virtually the same comments on this first SACD release of another Reiner shaded dog as I did on the Reiner Kije, except that this is one of the finest Reiner RCAs, a level the Kije never quite reached. Once again, the SACD is noticeably finer than the best digital version I had previously heard, the JVC XRCD, especially as to depth and three dimensional reality--again the CD, while quite fine on its own, sounds two-dimensional in comparison. On this recording, the shaded dog was famous for the beautiful massed string tone it caught, and the SACD comes very, very close. Yes, as to dynamic range and imaging width the Analogue LP is even a bit finer, but by very little. Another welcome addition to the SACD catalogue. Again, These performances are so famous there isn't much to add, except get the disc while it is still around.

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Review by jmagil September 15, 2014 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I agree with everything that mwgfrg says about this release. It is one of the glories of high-fidelity recording, and all of the performances are unsurpassed. Reiner's "Prelude a la nuit" from Rapsodie Espagnole is by far the best. Only Reiner could sustain the uniquely slow tempo that he chose while maintaining a high degree of tension and mystery that no other conductor has ever achieved in this piece, not even Stokowski. This disc is worth having for the "Prelude a la nuit" alone. The Chicago Symphony was an orchestra of supermen and superwomen at that time, and Reiner was one of the greatest masters of balance and rhythm in the repertoire that mattered to him, and it is obvious that he loved every piece on this disc.

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Review by operamuso October 22, 2014 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The RCA Victor Gold Seal RBCD of Reiner's Ravel and Debussy has long been perhaps my favourite Reiner/Chicago disc and I have never understood why it wasn't released in the Living Stereo SACD series. However, here it is at last - or at least part of it - and it sounds wonderful.

The measure is shockingly short (43 mins), which Analogue Productions vainly try to disguise by not listing a single track time anywhere on the liner notes or disc (who cares whether or not the SACD mirrors the original LP contents?) and the price is high; but the disc is worth every penny. The performances are legendary; Reiner and the CSO never did anything better then this. Listen to the subtlety with which, early in the Pavane, the strings first shadow and then take over the horn's tune; to the elegance of the phrasing in Malaguena; or to the celebrated drowsy languor of the strings at the start of Prelude à la nuit, which seems to sound slower and more sensual than ever in this remastering. Masterly stuff.

The sound is spectacularly good; deeper, warmer and wider than any other vintage CSO SACDs I have heard, with much more space between the instruments, dynamics both startling and subtle, superb balances, and glinting precision of instrumental timbres. It was recorded fifty-seven years ago and I can't think of a better sounding disc on my shelves - it's that good. I am now greatly impatient to hear Iberia when it eventually appears......

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