Roberto Citroni | Melbourne, Australia | 05/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What confounds me is that this recording hardly ever gets a mention in the popular reviews. Quite simply this is the most beautiful and inspired performance and recording of "The Fountains of Rome" that I have heard (and I've heard many). Forget Karajan's (and the rest for that matter) if this piece of wonderful music means anything to you - the New Philharmonia's performance of this demanding piece under Freccia is so engaging and exhilirating, running the gamut from the delicate subtlety of the "Valle Giulia at Dawn" to the bombastic majesty of "Trevi at Midday" that comparisons are very revealing. The sound quality is first rate thanks to the brilliant original engineering rendering a remarkable soundstage and Chesky's fine transfer.
If I hadn't stumbled across this recording on an LP (which sounds gorgeous!) as part of an RCA boxed set from the sixties which was found in an op-shop recently, then sadly I'd still be listening to versions that do not do the music justice.
A great budget re-issue on the Eloquence label of a Decca LSO recording under Kertesz from 1969 is enjoyable.
"The Pines" are also wonderful and almost all of the above applies.
"The Festivals" are well done but too ponderous and slow for my liking. For the definitive recording of this listen to Mazel conducting the Cleveland Orchestra (if you're game enough to!).
The Fountains alone are worth the price of this disc - an exceptional achievement."