Genuine excitement and emotion throughout!
C. J. Weigand | 12/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I happened onto this disk and debated awhile before giving it a listen. I'm glad I did. This is truly one of the best overall performances of these pieces that I've yet encountered. The accepted standard for Bolero, until now, has been Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. That performance comes in at 15 minutes (15:02) and is very smooth and polished throughout. In contrast, my preference has been Neville Marriner's version with the Dresden State Orchestra at just under 14-1/2 minutes (14:25). It is a performance that is fresh and clean and outstanding in every way.
Muti's performance, on the other hand, is a relatively slow 17 minutes (17:09), more in keeping with Ravel's original wishes. It's fully charged with emotion. Plus, every nuance of the orchestra comes through clearly. And the imagery conveyed by this playing is almost overwhelming.
In other words, fast with Marriner works, and slow with Muti also works. Average with Dutoit is, well, average, like everyone else. Very nice, but also forgettable. This performance by Muti, however, is one you'll remember and come back to again and again.
The Liszt piece on this disk, Les Preludes, is similarly outstanding. It is the one tone poem among so much trash that Listz wrote that resonates with everyone who listens to it. The performance here is exemplary and is simply not to be missed.
As for the 1812 overture, I was a bit skeptical. But it, too, works well. In fact, it's the first time I've heard a rendition of Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture without a chorus or real cannons that wasn't disappointing. While it can't begin to compare with Jarvi's magnificant performance with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, it's slightly faster pace and superb playing contribute to a dramatic appeal that can't be ignored.
In short, the miniscule cost of this CD is more than worth the price of admission."
Unhurried,exact and poignant performances by Muti
KerrLines | Baltimore,MD | 09/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This cd, recorded live from 1982-83 without a doubt contains the freshest and most poignant performances of three master works that I have heard in a long time.Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra combine to create relaxed,unhurried and exacting performances of Ravel's Bolero,Liszt's Les Preludes and Tchaikowsky's 1812 Overture.There are two points that I want to stress on this recording that make it outstanding; first, the sound on this disc is full,robust and "speaker pounding".There is great spacial quality due to the "live" recording aspect, and not in some studio where everything has been tweaked and "fixed" to sound correct;and second, after hearing these works so many times ad infinitum under other batons, Muti's interpretations are not frenetic,but graceful,not rushed,yet still lush,vibrant and quite emotional.For the price you simply cannot go wrong with Muti and the Philadelphia."