THE CD to take along when testing audio components!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In spite of the lack of complete works, or perhaps because of it, this magical music by (among others) Jerry Schwartz and the magnificent Seattle Symphony Orchestra rates five stars in anyone's book! I found myself quite mesmerized and focussed on this music; it is most decidedly NOT fare for cocktail party background noise! The Seattle Symphony, reknowned for standout first chair artists, percussion and brass, have provided us with two selections rivaling anything you've ever heard. This CD, now 10 years old, is still my standard for testing new audio components; the depth and virtuosity of great orchestras, ensembles and musicians is captured in so many musical nuances that any audio system or component reproducing them all is truly challenged. "Entry of the Gods into Valhalla," a standout in dramatic composition, provides a rich range of tonal variations and sound intensities that make it alone worth the proce of the CD. Following, the "Death of Tybalt" selection from "Romeo and Juliet" uses the talents of SSO to again transport us musically to a spatial disorientation, so absorbing is the simple beauty of the rendition. Other standouts include Prelúdio "Modinha," The fourth movement from Beethoven's Quartet for Strings no 9 in C major, Opus 59 no 3 "Razumovsky," and Karg-Elert's Fugue, Canzona and Epilog for Organ, Opus 85 no 3. The music becomes fast-paced in several places, whimsical in none, dramatic in some, and ranges from skim milk to heavy cream in intensity. Popular selections from across the artistic and composition spectrum take center stage in full orchestra regalia, or chamber music simplicity and complexity. I'm not sure why the selections that comprise this sampler were chosen, but I find that the many pieces, by various composers, combine to weave a complete musical tapestry where one would expect to find abrupt and disjointed hodgepodge. It is one of the few samplers I could recommend, and it truly is a standout. The listener will not be disappointed; there is enough substantive music in this one sampler to equate in intensity to a whole evening at the symphony!"