Review by Jonalogic July 14, 2010 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
|I'll start with a question. Why do strange folk like me buy stupidly expensive SACD remasters of 40-50 year old analog recordings? Are we totally deranged? Yes, of course, that goes without saying, but anyway...
1) For great, classic performances or
2) For great old analogue sound
3) On a really good day, for both!
So, how does this stack up, then? I'm afraid it's 'null point' on both #1 and 2.
This is a golden age Decca, of course, so that's a good start. But, sonically, it doesn't hold a candle to the contemporaneous Esoteric remaster of the Maazel/Sibelius, which is absolutely stunning.
And the performance is also problematical: too smooth, too Karajan, too Teutonic. Regretfully, the timeless and throughly idiomatic Szell performance on Sony obliterates it: and - surprisingly - this is one of the better early Columbias and also sounds better. In short, Karajan conducting Dvorak was - frankly - not a good choice for Esoteric's remastering.
The best sound of all in this symphony is of course for the Fischer Dvorak 8 and 9 on Philips, now reissued on Channel Classics. As others have accurately indicated, this offers great, natural sound, showing all the merits of a good SACD. But the performance still doesn't hold a candle to Szell.
My recommendation on the Dvorak is to find the Szell/Sony/Columbia SACD, whilst you can still get it.
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