"I love this ballet & performance, and have had the LP for years, so I was thrilled when it finally came out on CD. But what a disappointment -- they have butchered the CD. There is a loss of frequency on both the high & low end, with the lush strings from the LP being muffled throughout. Plus, they dynamic range is less than the LP. (And BTW, I'm not one of those "back to LP" types -- I prefer CDs). Unfortunately, this is not worth the money. Stick with the LP."
Only flaw I found was the sound quality
Eric S. Kim | Southern California | 03/09/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Khachaturian's Gayne Ballet (in its 1942 original version, not the 1962 revised version) is wonderful and fulfilling. The selections from "Spartacus" are a pleasurable feast for the ears, and the Masquerade & Russian Fantasy are flawless through the baton of Loris Tjeknavorian. The tempi are precise, the orchestral emotion is outstanding, and the sound quality is awfully unsatisfactory. I mean, seriously, the BMF transfer is weakly done. Half of the tracks are frail in volume, and the bass sound is heard incorrectly. All in all, if you want a complete version of Khachaturian's Gayne and the Masquerade suite, then this is the 2-CD set for you. Otherwise, you better find a more recommendable recording...if there are still any out there."
A dreadful sonic abortion......
Hannibal | Los Angeles, CA USA | 11/23/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I certainly don't want to be guilty of "piling on", but RCA is guilty of a felonious assault by issuing this set. - It simply defies belief that the same record company responsible for the magnificent SACD "Living Stereo" series of reissued RCA recordings is the same one which has issued this sonic disaster! - One understands that John Newton and Soundmirror were not responsible for this atrocity, but the engineers who were responsible should hang their heads in shame and find another field of work.
Khachaturian may have composed some "junk" in his time, but a lot of this is quite good (particularly in this fine performance) and sonically it deserves at least a decent transfer from the original tapes. Three stars for the music, zero stars for the engineering. GET TO WORK, RCA!"
The best complete version
philvscott | Marrickville, New South Wales Australia | 06/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is not the Gayaneh Suites, but the complete (1942) version of Khachaturian's folk ballet. I've never liked the later "even more complete" version, recorded by USSR Radio and TV Large Symphony Orchestra under Kakhidze. Khachaturian's rewrite didn't add anything but a lot of connecting music between the dances which are all here, unadorned, in Tjeknavorian's recording. I have the original RCA LPs from the late 70s and they sound quite OK so I'm a little disappointed in BMG's CD transfer. It's toppy and harsh. For some reason BMG in particular seem to think their low and mid-price labels should feature bright, toppy sonics so they'll sound exciting on cheap equipment. If that's the case, they don't know much about classical collectors- and this complete performance is definitely a collectors' item. There are many fine and more natural sounding CDs of the ballet suites, including Khachaturian's own with the Vienna Philharmonic on Decca Legends, recorded some sixteen years earlier, and I'm also fond of Svetlanov's milder rendition on Chant du Monde. However, the best ever performance of music from Gayaneh was recorded, also in the 60s, by Deutche Grammophon, featuring the Leningrad Philharmonic conducted by Rozhdestvensky. It turns up every so often; the last incarnation was in a cheap two-fer where it was harnessed to a performance of Scheherezade you probably don't need. 4 stars for this excellent and only performance of the best complete version of Gayaneh, but a star is missing due to the ghetto-blaster reproduction."
Best out there for now
Slovakophile | 03/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, this recording does sound a little "off" thanks to RCA's questionable job at remastering the original vinyl recordings. However, I still prefer this recording (75% of Gayaneh's original music) over the one issued by Vox (complete 2nd version) with Kakhidze and the USSR Large Symphony Orchestra.
The melodies used in the original version are much more appealing and Tjeknavorian and the Philharmonia Orchestra really seem to enjoy themselves. In contrast, Kakhidze and the Russian orchestra seem to rush through some of the dances giving the impression that they just want to get through the recording session as quickly as possible. It doesn't help that Khachaturian's editing of the original score for the 2nd version meant that some of the catchy folk-dance melodies in the 1st version were replaced with more "symphonic" pieces. Thus the Vox disc is only worthwhile if you're an avid collector of Khachaturian's music or want to study the differences between the 1st and 2nd versions of Gayaneh.
For now, this reissued recording by RCA is a lot better than nothing and I enjoy it warts and all."