"I would normally give this CD 4 stars. But since some people unjustly gave it just 1 star, I had to give it five to balanced it out. At my hand I have two saxophone concerto CDs to compare side-by-side. The first one is from EMI, with John Harle (Sax) and Neville Marriner conducting St. Martin in the Fields. The second one is this Naxos offering, and both CDs have the Ibert, Debussy and Glazunov pieces.
One would assume the EMI disc has to be better because it features the more famous soloist, orchestra and conductor and it is released by a major label. The truth can't be further from that. Naxos wins hands down. I have listened to the EMI disc so many times and always found it boring. That's why I never bought another classical saxophone CD, while at the same time I collected at about 25 different horn concertos. Then I listened to this Naxos disc's clips online and instantly knew Sohre Rahbari is a much better soloist.
The only word I can use to describe the EMI disc is boring. The Naxos disc gives these pieces a more interesting intepretation, because Rahbari's phrasing makes better musical sense. Also, Rahbari also produces a more beutiful tone from her instrument. As an avid jazz listener I know it when the tone from a sax sounds right, and Harle's tone definitely is not right.
As for recording quality, both are pretty good. My system has a very good digital source (Benchmark DAC1) and decent speakers costing over $1000. I also use extremely hi-end headphones (AKG K501 and K1000) to listen for inner details. All the amplification is class A tube equipment. I just don't see how any one can criticize the Naxos CD for poor sound quality. Clarity and sptialness is quite good, and there is no treble sibilance commonly associated with poor digital recordings. The saxophone's tone was beautifully recorded. The Naxos CD sounds slightly better than the EMI. I hope people who commented on its poor sound didn't just listen to it on distorted computer speakers or cheapo earbuds."
Right in the middle.
Kevin Norton | Morehead, KY USA | 07/27/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have definitely heard worse performances in my life, but I have definitely heard better as well. This album has its moments of greatness, but, unfortunately, most of those are on Scaramouche. The rest of the pieces, especially the Glazounov, are done so-so; they're all right, but not great. Also, on a personal note, I'm not too fond of the full orchestra version of Debussy's Rhapsodie.As for the fan from Korea who basically attacked saxophone players, I suggest that you listen to either "Saxophone Colors" by Eugene Rosseau or "Le Patron of the Saxophone" by Marcel Mule, then try reviewing again."
Not a bad CD, there are worst.
Jacob K. Thomas | Southfield, MI USA | 03/03/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I don't feel this record is that bad. I also would like to know how many people out there know a real classical saxophone sound? Rahbari isn't that bad of a player. Here recording of the Milhaud doesn't have that many problems. She plays each movement with good technique, and sound. Here take on the Glazounov is one of the best I have in my collection. She tries her best to put her stamp on the piece, and doesn't fall that short. She doesn't match the tempo's exactly, but this is her take. Throughout this disc her dynmanic contrast aren't that good. Now, her recording of the Debussy is very strange, because its not the normal orchestral recording. I don't like it very much. Here Ibert recording is very average. The cadenza needed some work. She like many saxophonist, just took the second cadenza, instead of the harder one. Her Old Castle track is worthless. Its a waste of the orchestras time to put such a recording on there. Finally, the Japanesse saxophone piece. It's miss labeled, and its a shame it is, because Nyo Noda is getting robbed. Its an ok disc to have for hearing some of the standard orchestral saxophone pieces, even the Old Castle."
Wasn't THAT bad....
Jacob K. Thomas | 03/03/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Other reviewers have given only 1 star, and I think that is a little unjust. Sohre is technically compotent...my main problem is that there seems to be little musical interpretation--the Glazunov, really a lovely concerto, seems to be lacking the emotion you feel in other recordings. I think the real case here is that you have a decent, not great, saxophonist in Sohre Rahbari, that was able to (apparently) convince her brother and his orchestra to record a CD of sax concertos with her that is now being pawned off as a highly legitimate recording. Not bad, but you can find better recordings out there...."