Famous Davis recording remastered (Philips 50 series)
R. Lane | Tracy, CA USA | 04/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since there is no cover picture or description, I will enlighten you that this release is part of the well engineered Philips 50 series, featuring some of the best recordings made by Philips (formerly Phonogram) in its history. Not all of the releases, this one included, were made available in the USA. But Amazon has been gracious to feature it as a special import.The first CD version is still available (Amazon asin # B00000E34S, more reviews there).And special it is. The recordings come from the Colin Davis Berlioz cycle form the the 1970s. And they are some of the best of that cycle at that.The Requiem is brilliant. Without detracting from the obvious spectacle you get with such a large contingent of musicians, Davis never gets lost in the massiveness of the piece. Berlioz composition is both Grand (the full title is "Grande Messe des morts", or "Grand Mass for the Dead") and sublime, and Davis captures the sublime elements as few other conductors have ever done. The choruses (the London Symphony Chorus and the Wandsworth School Boys Choir) work together well, and the soloists are very fine. The TE Deum is also given a memorable rendition by the LSO and Davis.Sound is ever so important with a work as large as the Berlioz Requiem, and the Philips engineers, both the original recording engineers and the digital remastering engineers, deserve the bulk of the credit for this presentation. with such massive forces, engineers are challenged to give full efect to the sections that feature all of the forces and yet still capture the quite sections in a manner that makes them equally enjoyable in the home. With many recordings of the Requiem, you feel like you move from one position in the concert to another as the engineers try to "zoom in" to capture quieter moments and then "zoom out" get the full effect of the grand moments. With this recording, I feel like I never leave my seat, but I also never miss anything. I would give the Philips crew ten stars if allowed.Shame on Philips for not releasing this in the USA though."
A great performance, but I question the "improved" sound
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 07/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm sympathetic to the glowing review given below. I've lived with Colin Davis's classic Berlioz Requiem, so it was great to learn that there was a new remastering. Alas, the original tape source must not be in very good shape. The "Philips 50" series didn't do great things with Davis's Messiah, and the same holds ture here: climaxes still curnch, brass outbursts sting the ear, and the soundstage is boxy and restricted.
I'd go so far as to say that later Berlioz Requiems with great sound--from Levine, Shaw, and Ozawa--are so much more listenable that the Davis set is outdated. I don't know what kind of audio system anyone else has, but mine reveals major sonic improvements on many reissues, just not this one."