Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ravel, Liszt, Tchaikovsky|
Bolero / Les Preludes / 1812 Overture
A great set of orchestral thrillers
Robert Timmers | Atlanta, GA | 12/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra have done it again. This a terrific album that should be in everyone's classical library. These three incredible recordings that spotlight the brass showed that a new brass section came in to town that rivals the praised Chicago section. The Philadelphia Orchestra brings their own personality these recordings.At first I was skeptical of the Bolero after reading on the case that it was 17 minutes long. Usually, Bolero stands at about 13-15 minutes if you follow closely Ravel's tempo. Needless to say, Muti thinks differently. I was surprised to see that the piece brought on a whole new character at the slower tempo. It is not long and boring like I some of my other recordings like von Karajan's with Berlin, but lush, sensual, and really brings out the Spanish romance. Other recordings that I've heard that are slower, like Karajan's, ended up being very anticlimatic because the brass section just doesn't have enough steam to push it out. But Muti demands a perfection like none other: it has the most disciplined crescendo, and the climax is the best EVER. This is my favorite piece on here.The Liszt was a piece that I had never heard before. Reading the title, Les Preludes, I figured that it was set of piano music since Liszt was one of the greatest pianists ever. As turned out, it was a symphonic poem that rivals many of Strauss's. It is quite a piece and completely surprised me to hear the music of the founder of symphonic poems. He was the last person I thought that would have written piece like because the brass parts are very creative for his time period. This piece was the biggest treat for me because everyone knows Bolero and 1812, but this is piece that is not that well known and deserves to be up at the top.The 1812 Overture is done splendedly, but I have to regret, as much of a Muti fan that I am, this is not the best recording out there. The Chicago/Solti recording is the best because the brass section tops this Philadelphia one. This Philadelphia recording was recorded within the first year that Muti got there, so the brass were going through some changes. They get a bit too aggressive, and coming from a trombone player, you know that makes very aggressive to anybody else. Their sound this more of a eeee, pinched sound rather that a ooooo, dark, resonant sound. And they tongue on the hard side so it's just not quite what it would've been in 3 or 4 years like the Philly recordings then, where the brass had refined their sound, but still powerful. Also, the fake cannons sound like someone knocking on a door, where Chicago's are real cannons. The Philadelphia recording certainly is not bad in any respect, but it has a young brass section in the sense that they were undergoing some changes with Muti. It is the one time that, in my mind, Chicago beats the Muti-Philadelphia combination.So, with the best recordings of the first two pieces, and the second best recording of the third piece, it comes out to be a superb CD. DEFINATELY a must buy."
A fantastic value on three fabulous performances!
Robert Timmers | 11/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not normally sensitive to prices on CDs -- if I like the music, I buy it -- but I always take note of great value when I find it. Usually, you can expect to pay full price for a great performance, and there is no shortage of poor efforts at steep prices, but this disc accomplishes something truly rare in classical music issues; it combines three great performances at a fair price! Beyond performance and price, this CD is ideal for those new to classical music; it contains renditions of three crowd pleasing, sonic spectaculars. But the interpretations are sure to please even seasoned western music lovers.Ravel's "Bolero" is the crown jewel of this release. Muti shows an inate understanding of this music; he sets a slow, throbbing tempo, perfectly suited to this sexy piece. The violins come in more forcefully and sensually than any other recording of this music that I've heard. As the orchestra drives into the finale, it doesn't become as clamorous as it's peers, instead, the Philidelphians provide us with a logical, yet powerful, conclusion. The closest competition that this recording has is that of Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.Muti and Co. deliver again with "Les Preludes." The swelling nature of this music is produced magnificently by the orchestra; the crescendos sound like waves crashing against sheer cliffs, imparting great majesty to the piece. This is an admirable recording of Franz Liszt's tone poem.Finally, we come to the "'1812' Overture." This is my favorite rendition of Tchaikovsky's famous piece. Muti leads his orchestra through some marvelous tempos, generating a sense of growing excitement right up to the famous finale. The climax is played at a faster clip than most others, and although real cannons are not used, great power is imparted. If you've enjoyed televised performances of this orchestral showpiece by the Boston Pops, this will be an eye-opening experience, their efforts pale in comparison to this one."