Ten stars for Crespin/Ansermet; ZERO for the remastering!
villegem | canada | 07/18/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Of course ten stars for Crespin/Ansermet but really the remastering is a shame and a scam. For one who knows the work of recording engineer James Lock, both on LPs and then first ADRM CD issue of this recording [on JBL large studio monitors], it is telling that no one at Decca in 2006 dared to put his name and claim responsibility for this remastering: yes the noises that plagued the original recording are subdued, muted -at least in the high frequencies- but to borrow to the vocabulary of wine tasting, "les finales sont brulantes", burning finales... Where a crisp fortissimo was soaring, a clear distortion and projection overwhelms and zings the listener ears. Why? Because reverb was added, not to recreate what was there originally but to make it sound "modern" like the crap of classical recordings from the 1990s that followed years of true living presence. The trademark of 1990s recording is the dilution of dynamics. The industry flogging of inefficient speakers (around 90dB/w/m) prompted a change in recording focus since real dynamics would be impossible to reproduce and potentially damaging to the equipments as amplifiers would distort: as a result the orchestra became a sound mass far away down there on stage while the acoustics of the hall took over. A blurred soup! Now Ansermet orchestra sounds like in a fishbowl and sadly the precision offered by higher sampling is overshadowed by this warmish coloration and reverb. Ms Crespin was no voice challenged singer and did not need that treatment worthy of a pop label. Truly a shame: anyone seeking to really hear Crespin in this legendary recording should seek second hand, the LP or the first ADRM 1980s CD from Decca."
Régine Crespin: Ave Atque Vale
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Another of the inordinately gifted and celebrated sopranos of our day is gone. Régine Crespin died at age 80 but thankfully she left a significant number of superb recordings that will serve of reminders of her legacy. For this listener one of her finest moments (and there were countless of those moments) is this recording of Maurice Ravel's 'Shéhérazade' coupled with Hector Berlioz' 'Nuits d'été' in collaboration with Ernest Ansermet and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. And though the treasured and much played original LP version of this magical musical experience is full of wear, this CD is an updated re-mastering that gratefully preserves (if not enhances) the original.
Régine Crespin may have been best known in the opera houses of the world as an interpreter of the 'big' roles of operatic drama: she had a big voice that soared over the largest orchestras and a stage presence that commanded attention. But her recitals of songs, whether with piano or orchestra, revealed an artist of incredible communication. To say that her sound and her enunciation were perfectly 'French' would be too obvious. But despite the many fine sopranos and mezzo sopranos who have sung and recorded these two ethereal song cycles, Crespin tops them all. She soars on the long lines and caresses the intimate ones. One of the finest moments of recording history is her rendition of 'Le Spectre de la rose' from the Nuits d'été: her closing lines float in the night air and she whispers in her deep near husky sound the farewell of love. It is magic.
Régine Crespin was an artist of sensitivity, breathtaking vocal effects and one who knew when to step offstage to spend the remainder of her luminous career teaching younger singer her craft. She will be missed, but for those who treasure her memory, this recording is a must. Grady Harp, July 07"
Dr. Philip Cokkinos | Athens, Greece | 05/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Technically speaking, this remastering seemed OK to my unprofessional ears. This is an interesting collection (pieces recorded between 1963 and 1967) of several French songs and melodies. Many are very good (Absence, Sur les Lagunes, Asie), but the treasure here is "Le Spectre de la Rose". Words fail me: Crespin sings it with the voice of a siren, spinning long lines of achingly seductive sound, soaring then pianissimo, exemplary diction, long breath control, heartbreakingly palpable melancholy. Seven minutes of sheer beauty, and you will want to hear this song again and again. It alone is worth the price of the CD. Indescribably beautiful and highly, absolutely recommended."