Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Brahms, Strauss, Stravinsky|
Josef Krips Conducts
Listen to Samples
Amber alert for missing opening to Firebird!
David B. Burgess | Dallas, TX United States | 09/10/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This would have been given 5 stars easily except for one thing. They leave off the opening of the Firebird Suite! They said there wasn't room on the CD! WHAT were they thinking?? They should have left some other piece off or made it a two CD set! I was just beside myself when I realized this!Make no mistake though, this is one of the finest readings of 3/4 of the Firebird. The Brahms is good also."
It depends on whose ox is gored...
Martin Selbrede | The Woodlands, Texas | 10/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The previous reviewer lamented the missing movements of Stravinsky's Firebird. At Testament's steep price per CD, I'm not entirely convinced that the omissions are worth doubling the price of the package. Then again, I bought this for the Strauss Rosenkavalier suite -- and might be singing a different tune if the engineers had done a fade-in 8 minutes into it to save some time!
Suites from the Rosenkavalier are often customized: Kempe goes one direction, Dorati another, Krips another path altogether -- each a completely different collage arranged to suit the artistic sense of the compiler (or simply to show off his favorite Strauss melodies to best effect). I've always been partial to the Krips version (in the old LP days), and digital remastering by Testament hasn't caused the old gal to lose her sheen any. The mystery of the great French horn section is solved in the CD booklet: Alan Civil evidently sat in the Philharmonia's horn section in the 1960s! Balances are excellent, even between crash cymbals and orchestra.
The previous reviewer was right: this is an excellent Firebird. Bar for bar, you'll find a more consistent interpretation with fewer odd turns, with in-your-face excitement where appropriate. It stands up well in comparison to other versions in my library (Gergiev/Kirov, Abbado/LSO, Rozhdestvensky/LSO, and Dohnanyi/VPO), which is impressive since the other versions are all digital recordings (while the Krips recordings are analog takes from 1965 -- or 1963, for the Brahms works, which are also world-class).
What surprised me is that the reviews accompanying the original release of these recordings were reportedly tepid. I don't know what they were thinking back then, but the EMI engineers captured some magic in that hall that is worth adding to your collections -- magic that hasn't been easy to replicate 40 years hence. I'd have probably given this 5 stars if Deutsche Grammophon engineers from today would have taken their best digital equipment, hopped into a time machine, and recorded the exact same performance. The de-hissing is very good, while the frequency response and EQ exhibit 1965 sensibilities. Testament decided the EMI engineers knew what sounded closest to the actual orchestra under their nose, and didn't tamper with it."