Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A moving, truly historic performance
John L. Anderson | Lynchburg, VA United States | 02/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded in 1964, Ormandy, the Philadelphians and Richard Tucker were all at the zenith of their powers. This is an "old-fashioned" rendering of the Requiem, i.e., a non-period instruments recording (thank God), that instead underscores the power, muscle and raw emotions that run throughout the composition. The sound is magnificent, thanks to Sony's SACD technology -- when Tucker or any of the soloists (Lucine Amara, Maureen Forrester and George London) or the chorus are singing, it's as though you're sitting right on the stage with them. This is a magnificent recording! Buy it and enjoy.!"
Golden Age heart with SACD Golden Age sonic details for Verd
Dan Fee | Berkeley, CA USA | 07/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps the best sacd version of them all so far that I have kept in my fav shelves is (in my opinion) this remastered Ormandy/Philadelphia version on sacd, in stereo only, from Sony.
Despite its age (1964), and despite having only two channels to present, this recording now achieves something like historic status as an example of how good master tapes from the stereo golden age could be. Thanks to sacd remastering, we can now be confident that we had never heard everything before that the tapes actually recorded. Tip your hat to the exemplary stereo engineering, the sound stage of this older master tape is now incredibly accurate, full-range, and present. One hears, not only each and every player/singer, individually, small group sectioned, and massed in very large forces, one also hears the resonance of the venue. None of this detail is forced, artificial, or in any way a detraction from the music.
Yes, Ormandy can be faulted, maybe, for being rather direct in his Verdi; but that wears simple and well on repeated hearings. Ormandy is never uninvolved or mauling the phrase with applications of musical ego, strong-arming his way into Verdi from outside the music.
The four soloists would have been rather regarded as very solid, but not especially flashy, Verdi singers in their day. Richard Tucker helped hold down the Verdi wing at the New York Met, and ditto for bass-baritone George London (who also sang great Wagner Wotan's). Canada's blessedly rich and intelligent Maureen Forrester certainly had all that the requiem demands, and my guess is that onstage she would have given Aida a run for her money as the female lead, if or when she ever did Amneris. The USA's Lucine Amara would have been considered just a tad light in voice for the typical heft, and soaring Verdian soprano drama believed to be inherent in her part.
Not to worry. No matter how any individual solo voice might have raised minor questions on its own, the four together are simply superb. In retrospect, and rather triumphing in comparison to what is supposed to pass for an archetypal Verdi voice in the Hanoncourt set, these folks are gorgeous. And so in tune with one another as a quartet.
Richard Tucker's passing Italianate mannerisms of attack and enunciation only add spice, and the center of his voice is pure shining steel chrome. George London makes for a convincing witness to the death of death in the Last Judgment, as well as always blending at the bottom of everything else in the most wise and consistent manner. Thanks to the incredible sacd stereo you get a sense of the burnished wood and depth in London's voice that did come through on LP's, but not at all like this. I have been in love with Maureen Forrester's voice ever since I first heard it on Bruno Walter's regular LP version of the Mahler Second Symphony. Then, very later in her public career, I happened to catch her as visiting artist with the Harvard-Radcliffe student orchestra. It was the 1970's. She still had a lot of voice left, and her intelligence and artistry were undimmed, yet aged into something else in musical person, falling on the ear like the best cured special ports fall on your taste buds and bloom in your nose. Lucine Amara didn't last all that long, looking back on it, but here she stands up and gives without reticence, sounding youthful and smart and silvery. Amara doesn't try to get heft into her voice by pushing it, and that says more than you might think if you were not actually listening to her in this recording.
Orchestra and chorus complete the generous cast. There is a sensuous feel and a presence to all their singing and playing that has not been heard until now, in this sacd stereo capture. Nothing in the sound audibly compresses, even when the music is very loud. Nothing in the sound threatens to leave the room, even when the music is very soft.
I cannot hear what has long been waiting for us on this master tape without wondering just what recorded treasures the other, old Columbia master tapes might be. The mystery is not what awaits us in these old masters, but why Sony has been so slow to bother with their back catalogue. What we do have so far, the Bruno Walter Brahms 4 and Beethoven 6, has not yet been surpassed, either as performance or even as sound. Wake up, Sony. Get a clue.
I plan to check out the newish sacd Bosch-led set, soon. Meanwhile, I think it quite safe to highly, highly, highly recommend this set, too. Whatever else you may have, or even end up getting, if you can play sacd, this set will make you marvel, and then some. Too bad Harnoncourt couldn't fly so high, even with the help of the renowned Vienna Philharmonic (who are certainly no slouches). Highly, highly, highly recommended."
Wonderful, but not multichannel
John H. Kilbourne | New York, NY United States | 01/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This a review mostly from the point of view of sound: A nice sense of ambience, but in (mere) stereo, a disappointment, since the Dies Irae would be one of the world's great multichannel experiences. This plays better on DSP derived multichannel than it does in SACD stereo, in my view. Also, not a hybrid, so requires a SACD player to play - a CD player won't play it. The bass drum in the Dies Irae is not as deep and overwhelming as it is on the Phillips label under the magnificent Gergiev, with Bocelli. If you want a Dies Irae to scare you with the true WRATH of God, the Phillips is for you. But then, with this Sony, you don't have to put up with Bocelli!"