A must have for lovers of French Orchestral music
Alan Majeska | Bad Axe, MI, USA | 04/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Paul Paray is one of the best interpreters of French orchestral music whose stereo recordings are gathered together in this budget priced box, and offer terrific value to the consumer: great recordings/ performances AND sound, at a low price. First off, this item is highly recommended.
There may be some listeners who have favorite recordings of certain works in this set, such as the Saint Saens ORGAN Symphony, the Ravel TOMBEAU DE COUPERIN (Paray strikes me as rather too fast in the Forlane movement, and other parts), or CARMEN Suites. But it is great to have all this music in one set, and Paray is not inferior to anyone in this music. There are several rare works here, including Paray's own MASS. And there is Bizet's rarely heard LA PATRIE Overture, and Thomas Overtures to RAYMOND and MIGNON; Herold's ZAMPA; and Saint Saens' Bacchanale from SAMSON ET DALILA. The Detroit Symphony of the late 1950s/early 60s plays wonderfully, sounding as good as many more prestigious "big name" orchestras.
Of course other listeners have favorites and may not agree with my perception, but I enjoyed this set alot, and will continue to return to it in the future. That's saying alot for one who's a committed fan of Karl Bohm (1894-1981), Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985), Carl Schuricht (1880-1967) and Bruno Walter (1876-1962). The "French" sound and style Paray drew from the Detroit Symphony is much different from Bohm, Ormandy, Schuricht, or Walter, but is most enjoyable. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!"
FRENCH MUSIC BY THE FRENCH MASTER
L. E. Roberts | Escondido, CA | 04/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you did not grow up in the late fifties or early sixties listening to classical music, then you may not have been exposed to the Mercury Living Presence phenomenon. A record company experimenting with some of the techniques now used in live recording who made incredible master tapes, before other companies (possibly except for Deutsche Grammaphone) had even dreamed of these ways. They also had a stable of incredible artists, of whom Paul Paray stands out as one of the finest.
Most of the afficianidos of the that era were total fans of the German and Hungarian conductors. Don't get me wrong, I have every recording I can get of George Szell, Otto Klemperer, et al., but Paul Paray was an absolute master. It isn't on this album, but his Symphonie Fantastique blows away ever other recording I have heard, including all four of the Colin Davis recordings. As for the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony, no one else even comes close. Dynamics, quality of sound, plus Szell's (he was the master of it, if not the only practictioner) gift of hearing every single instrument should be enough, but there is also the incomparable artistry of Marcel Dupre on the organ (the man who pulled the stops for Saint-Saens in the premier performance, and no mean composer himself).
The rest of the disks are up to the standard set by the Saint-Saens #3: Paray is a Maestro who understands French orchestral music. I do not suggest that a German, English, American, or any other conductor cannot play French orchestral music superlatively well. It is just that Paray plays it the same way that a man capable of fathering 20+ children plays Bach better than a celibate monk would. The passion, the clarity (aside from the incredible engineering) make this an album for any collector who loves French orchestral music. Anyone listening can tell that Maestro Paray LOVES this music.
I would recommend this album for anyone who loves to get involved with their music. It is great!"