Search - Camille Saint-Saens, Paul [composer] Dukas, Emmanuel Chabrier :: Fantastic Philadelphians

Fantastic Philadelphians
Camille Saint-Saens, Paul [composer] Dukas, Emmanuel Chabrier
Fantastic Philadelphians
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Classical
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1


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CD Reviews

Ormandy and Philadelphia Going Through the Motions
Interplanetary Funksmanship | Vanilla Suburbs, USA | 08/06/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"An Ormandy critic once wrote: "Ormandy was basically a good, reliable musician who cultivated an orchestral sound that served all music in the same routine, uniform way." While this statement is prima facie untrue, one wouldn't know it from listening to this latest entry in BMG's "High Performance" series (RCA's new audiophile series of recordings from the late 1960's through the late-'70's, early-'80's, akin to RCA's "Living Stereo" series of recordings from the 1950's - 1960's). Despite my ardor for the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy (please, God, gave us from Sawallisch!), during a period of time in the early 1970's, there were a number of his performances which I find fall below his usual high standards (especially the RCA Red Seal releases of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony [I much prefer the Columbia Masterworks 1959 recording] and Swan Lake excerpts). These recordings have the beautiful tonal sheen typical of the "Philadelphia Sound," but Ormandy's tempo is painfully dragging; it sounds as though he's on valium in these recordings. The Fantastic Philadelphians falls within the same company; These are showpieces, but I couldn't detect any of the fire that
Ormandy lent to other recordings from this era (particularly his 1968 recording of Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony and his 1973 recording of Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony). The sound is gorgeous, but the pacing so slow that it sounds as though Ormandy doesn't care about these pieces, as though he's just trying to get through the recording sessions. However, there is a glimpse of Ormandy's incendiary potential in the Russian Sailors' Dance and Hungarian Dance No. 5, but instead of a raging flame, all that's there is the pilot light. With all of the excellent unavailable Ormandy recordings out there, I do not understand why BMG chose to release this disc as their first Ormandy entry in the "High Performance" series. I would have much preferred to have seen them release his 1978 recording (the first digital recording made by RCA) of Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra or all of the Sibelius recordings languishing in BMG vaults (especially Symphony No. 7 [1975] and Tapiola [1976]) or his peerless recording of Dvorak's Eighth Symphony (1977). But, then again, BMG's neglect of Ormandy is documented and endemic. For example: BMG has released his recordings of Sibelius' First (1978) and Fifth (1975) Symphonies, both tremendously subtle and profound recordings, but not in North America. They are only out on their European "RCA Classical Navigator" series, and I had to order the CD from an online British store. Back to this disc: If what you want is to hear great classical showpieces, beautifully recorded and played, to hear as
background music, then buy this disc -- it is not without merit. But if you want to *actively* listen to these pieces, skip this one; Ormandy and the Philadelphians are on auto-pilot on this one."
Fanstastic? Oh yes! indeed!!
Moh Cheong Fong | Kuala Lumpur Malaysia | 12/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"No excessive motion, no exaggerated sound effect, just steadily well-balanced performance. This is the way Ormandy has always been towards his recording. Nevertheless, sound quality is superme, bold and full of layer.This album, seemingly designed to appetite the followers of "The Glorious Sound of Philadelphia" like the delighted dessert over the dinner. Amusing and joyful. Instead of giving you a blast of your mind, Ormandy let the music played just by the way it should sound. Simply enjoying and easy listening. Like the sun shine over the meadow.Personally, I enjoy every title in this CD. Highly recommend: Danse macabre, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, España, rhapsody for orchestra, Night on Bald Mountain & Ritual Fire Dance"
Gregory M. Zinkl | Chicago, IL | 03/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ormandy and the Philadelphians--who are truly fantastic in these performances--give the listener an aural and musical treat.Many of these performances are superlative, and the engineering is excellent. While Ormandy could let his players get a little sloppy when he was recording for RCA, such is not the case here.Danse Macabre is wonderfully well done, but the other Saint-Saens item, Bacchanale from Samson and Deliah, has one of the most overwhelming climaxes I've ever heard.Espana seems to be the one item that isn't totally successful, IMHO, but not unsatisfying either. On the other hand, the Sorcerer's Apprentice is very well done, as is the Night on Bald Mountain (although here a little more roughness is called for).The Philadelphia violas really let you luxuriate in the de Falla and the Gliere. And what a delight to have some other bon-bons, especially the Dances of the Comedians and Hours.Worth every penny!"