The clearest window into this masterpiece...
chillysalsa | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 01/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here, JVC have applied the "XRCD" technology which uses proprietary 20-bit remastering directly on the original tapes. The result is a recording that sounds smooth, immediate, and tactile. There is very little of the 'digital harshness' that can be associated with some DDD recordings (like on cheaper music labels which have put out this recording). The performance itself is a real jem (JVC take the time to carefully select what they will spend the time to re-master). The speed and tone are really spot-on for this work. One last word - if you're looking for a digital, super-clean, sterilized sounding playback, you will be dissappointed. This recording is packed full of non-instrument noises. Yes, you can hear some page-turning. Someone coughs at one point. But there-in lies the magic - there is an atmosphere, and 'air' on the disc. You can pinpoint who flipped a page. You can tell which musician coughed. It sounds like a REAL orchestra, in a REAL hall, --- not a bunch passion-less robots playing back a 'perfect reproduction, floating in empty space'. Truly a reference recording."
A Ferocious Beethoven "Eroica," Sounding Better than Ever
T. Beers | Arlington, Virginia United States | 01/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe because he was French and such a fabulous conductor of French music, but Charles Munch never got the respect he deserved as a conductor of German music. That said, Munch actually was born in Alsace (which was under German occupation then and until World War I), and throughout his career he championed German music that most of his French contemporaries avoided like the plague (Brahms, for example). And Munch got his real start as a musician by playing First Violin in the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra under no less a conducting giant than the legendary Wilhelm Furtwaengler .... not a bad way to learn the German repertory! Notwithstanding this pedigree, Munch's Beethoven sounds more like the Beethoven of Furtwaengler's great rival Toscanini: tempi are quick, articulation is brilliant, accents are strong, and rhythms are sharply projected. Certainly, this is a very distinguished "Eroica," and very exciting to hear in JVC's remastered XRCD format. The original (stereo) recording dates from 1957 and Lp issues tended to sound exceedingly flat and harsh, qualities which were perpetuated in the CD transfer RCA/BMG released about 10-12 years ago (no longer available). JVC's XRCD process has completely recast the sonic image of this performance, yielding a soundstage of real depth and richness but one that nevertheless retains some of that nervous edginess all Munch's Boston recordings project. (All in all, not a bad sound for Beethoven!). The Boston orchestra plays superlatively well for its much-loved conductor, and Munch and BSO fans shouldn't hesitate to own this gem now sounding better than ever. But anyone who loves exciting Beethoven playing will probably enjoy this disc. Note that you don't need special equipment to play JVC XRCD discs, but the better your equipment, the more you'll be impressed by what JVC engineers have accomplished here and in other RCA Boston and Chicago Symphony masters from the period (1950's/early 1960s). Certainly, XRCD discs cost more. But in my opinion, they're worth every penny!"