A spectacular SACD reinvention but perhaps a tad expensive
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 05/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Here is the reinvented SACD version of Paul Paray's collection of overtures by Suppe and Auber that the new Penguin Guide listed as one of the 100 most captivating recordings now available to the public.
The playing by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is virtuosic almost to a fault in this recording, with a string tone and sheen that transcends what people normally heard in Detroit's Orchestra Hall in the late 1950s (site of the Auber overtures; the Suppe overtures were recorded at Detroit Cass Tech High School, same venue as the magnificent Paray/DSO Berlioz "Fantastique" Symphony from 1959.)
I live in Michigan and heard the DSO both in horrid Ford Auditorium and Old Orchestra Hall (and "new" Orchestra Hall) and I never heard the orchestra sound this good. Perhaps this is one of the advantages of DSD streaming in the SACD process, that the band actually sounds better than it did in reality?
The music on this collection consists of high spirited overtures, most less than 7 minutes duration, given all out guns blazing hell bent for leather interpretations by the flamboyant Frenchman and his orchestra. Performances of "The Beautiful Galatea" and "Poet and Peasant" overtures, in particular, silence any possible criticism. The Penguin Guide went overboard on the lesser known Auber overtures, saying they would never again be performed as well as they are here.
Whether that's true or not, this CD is a marvelous collection of exciting music in an excellent three-channel recording (no surround sound as is typical for Mercury). This collection will get you humming, tapping your toe, and coming out of your chair as soon as you light this candle in your living room, where the sound will fill your venue, however cavernous it may be.
My only complaint is the $19 list price seems excessive for a nearly half-century old reissue, regardless of the fantastic reproduction in modern SACD sound. This is more expensive than other Mercury Living Presence reissues and more expensive than the Paray-Detroit Berlioz recording I spoke of earlier, which in my view is far more substantial music and done just as well as this.
A list price of $14 would have made this a five star selection. As it is, the music is worth five stars so if you can get it used from an Amazon vendor or new from an Amazon provider for $14, consider yourself the buyer of a five star recording."