Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture & Other Orchestral Works
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
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Cincinnati Pops's new '1812' a high-tech blast
(5 out of 5 stars)
"By Janelle Gelfand The Cincinnati Enquirer It's as much a staple of summertime concerts as picnics and flag waving. The Cincinnati Pops' new high-tech recording of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture will be on shelves today. Pops conductor Erich Kunzel felt ambivalent about re-recording his all-time best-selling album of 1978, the 1812 Overture, last year. It had not yet sold a million copies (just 800,000). That historic 1812 helped launch a record company - Cleveland-based Telarc - and a recording relationship with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Pops that has lasted more than 23 years. (For more, see the Telarc Web site, Telarc.com.) Back then, it was the first-ever digital record, a wonder of mixing orchestra with bells and cannons - the first digital cannons. Over the years, sound effects have become a fixture in Telarc's 70 albums with the Pops. Now, with the new 1812 (that includes chorus), listeners will get yet a bigger bang for their buck. "Please don't break anything or hurt yourself playing the 1812," warns Telarc's special effects guru Michael Bishop in the liner notes. The album is recorded in the new, high-tech Direct Stream Digital (DSD), which again puts the Pops (and Telarc) on the cutting edge of technology. You'll hear the orchestra and chorus in three-dimensional sound - how dramatically will depend upon how up-to-the-minute your sound equipment is. "On a high-resolution surround playback system, you'll feel the cannonballs zip dangerously close over your head," Mr. Bishop says. (For audiophiles, it's being released in two formats: Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) and DVD-Audio, a new digital audio format. The SACD format can be played on conventional CD players.) In addition to the 1812 Overture, the album includes six other works by Tchaikovsky, two of which, the "Cossack's Dance" from Mazeppa and the Capriccio Italien were on the 1978 recording. Telarc recorded the bells, cannons and choruses - the Kiev Symphony Chorus, prepared by Roger McMurrin, and the Children's Choir of Greater Cincinnati, Robyn Lana, director - and layered them over the orchestra track. The bells are the carillon from Cleveland's Church of the Covenant; the cannons - the same used in 1978 - were recorded at Blossom Music Center. Drama of the music Mr. Kunzel leads the 1812 with visceral power, tempered by moments of stirring lyricism. His tempos are brisk, and he lets the drama of the music speak for itself. The opening a cappella hymn ("God Preserve Thy People," sung in Russian) has a dark color as only a Ukrainian chorus can produce. The chorus was recorded in Cleveland's Masonic Auditorium, and the sound is rich and resonant. (The tenors' intonation is a tad off, though.) The orchestra sounds spectacular; the brass and percussion are weighty and thrusting. The buildup to the climactic moment with blazing cannons is exhilarating, and the finale, with the chorus soaring over the bells, is pure goose-bump music. Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin is represented here with a Polonaise and a Waltz. Mr. Kunzel swaggers through this dance music; it's festive and brilliant, though short on detail Italian holiday One of the highlights is the Capriccio Italien. These memories of Tchaikovsky's Italian holiday are colorful and well-paced. A magnificent brass chorale opens the work, and the orchestra evokes the varied moods and charming dance tunes with a range of expression. Marche Slave is sometimes played like a dirge, but Mr. Kunzel emphasizes its folk-like idiom, and keeps the tempo brisk. His conducting is incisive and dramatic, balancing the high-spirited fife-and-drum music with the stirring Russian national anthem. Festival Coronation March is splendidly grandiose; and the "Cossack Dance" from Tchaikovksy's opera, Mazeppa is impressive for the sheer virtuosity of the playing."
Poor sound quality, shallow orchestra
toady44 | Stevenson Ranch, CA United States | 02/02/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I had high hopes of hearing the marvelous 1812 overture in DVD Audio, with the bells, cannons, and full orchestra that CAN make the 1812 overture an incredible music experience.This DVD-Audio falls completely flat. From the second I began listening, I figured SOMETHING had to be wrong with my system. I checked my connections. I checked to make sure that it was actually running in DVD-Audio mode in my DVD - AUDIO player. I played another DVD-Audio, which sounded incredible! It wasn't the setting. Lo and behold, it wasn't my system. It's this DVD! THe problems are as follows:1) The sound level is too low.
2) THe orchestra is way too thin - there is no immediacy.
3) The only thing that is full, is the low bass for the bass drum, which overpowers the whole orchestra somehow.
4) The surround sound is almost inaudible and worthless.
5) The orchestra itself is lifeless and dull.Again, I tell you, this is the 1812 overture! At the end, you are supposed to be virtually swept off your feet with the majesty of the bells, cannons, and FULL ORCHESTRA blasting in glorious cacophony! But on this performance, you're left yawning.And the "warning" about making sure you need to check your audio level when the cannons go off because they're too loud, what a bunch of tripe!! It's simply not the case. They're not loud. They don't even sound like cannons; instead, they sound like pistol fire. This DVD is an EXTREME DISAPPOINTMENT.."
Is there someone conducting?
A Classical Music Fan | Hull, QUÉ Canada | 11/21/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I think the whole orchestra was sleeping during the recording of this 1812. There is absolutely no life in this music. I bought this version because the sound was supposed to be great... I was so disapointed! The sound is not even good!If you don't have Antal Dorati's version of the 1812 (on Mercury), buy it! This is the 1812 to buy! If you already own it, you will not find a better recording, with hi-fi sound, lively and fast conducting, and heavy metal cannons in bonus!"