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Variations on a Rococo Theme/Andante Cantabile/Cello Concerto No. 1/Kol Nidrei Enhanced, Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, Hybrid SACD - DSD, September 11, 2001
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 11, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced, Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import
  • Label: Channel Classics Nl
  • ASIN: B00005K3PT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,656 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. SIMPSON on July 23, 2003
Format: Audio CD
First, the performances. They're very good, without being the best. Wisplewey's tone, whilst strong and clean, is not as warm as Rostropovich in the Tchaikovsky (on DG with the Dvorak concerto) nor as affectionate as Ma in the Saint Saens. The orchestra is somewhat teutonic, too, rather than gallic, and this tells, particularly in the Saint Saens, which can take that treatment, but which does give up a bit more to a sympathetic (not necessarily French) orchestra and conductor. The Bruch is lovely, very songful, but the Tchaikovsky Andante, whilst affecting is also a bit affected, with an almost lugubrious tempo (but with dry sound).
Overall there's a feeling of both engagament and cleanness - hard to pull off, with some marvellous cello playing, but it still left me feeling a bit short changed for real warmth.
The recording too is a mixed bag. I rarely use balance controls (and never tone) but I found the cello too right-of-centre for me in the Saint Saens. The recording the Decca engineers gave Lynn Harrell in this piece in the early 80's was just about perfect (and still sounds great). Adjusting the balance to get the middle and upper registers focussed towards centre (I prefer solo cello just marginally to centre left, where it can contrast with the violins) meant, however, that the lower registers drifted away off left. Those middle and upper registers are marvellously caught, with some stratospheric higher notes, but I was a bit disconcerted by the lower registers, not just because of the leftward drift, but because the recording became bass heavy in the last three works (and yes, I know that all four were recorded in the same place on the same day, - i can't explain it other than that my ears getting run in.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Excellent and warm recording of the Saint Saens concerto. Very well recorded with a warm but realistic sound of the cello. The Rococco variations are also excellent but not stellar. I would recommend this as the bst recording I have heard of the Saint Saens on SACD or CD (over readings by Du Pre, Starker and others).
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Format: Audio CD
I purchased this recording only recently, based on the enthusiastic recommendation by Andrew Quint in The Absolute Sound. It's very enjoyable, and I am sure I will listen to it many times over the next few years. The repertoire is tuneful, timbre-rich, and very expressive -- Romantic music for a most romantic instrument indeed! I have other Pieter Wispelwey discs and am a great admirer of his artistry.

That said, I doubt if this disc is the best representation of Mr. Wispelwey out there, or that it represents what Channel Classics recording and engineering is now capable of. (It was recorded in 2000, using a "24 Bit Prism/Genex" digital converter, which implies that it may not have originated as a DSD capture.) To my ears the sound is just a bit tubby and oversmooth -- qualities we may someday refer to "early hi-rez" or "early DSD." Certainly Channel Classics have shown with their later releases that they can produce cleaner, more detailed recordings without losing any of the three-dimensionality and continuity that DSD enables.

As to the performances, as enjoyable as they are, they fall slightly short of the greatest examples of these pieces on disc. Listening to the "Kol Nidrei," I remembered that I also own a reissue of Gregor Piatigorsky's 1947 Columbia recording with Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. So I pulled it out. It was not surprising to find that Piatigorsky evokes the emotion, the throbbing cantorial vocalization of the cello line with more assurance than Wispelwey -- it's probably cruel to compare the work of any living cellist with that of Piatigorsky in this piece!
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Format: Audio CD
SACD is the wave of the future in music recordings ... period. Buy this recording, pop it in your SACD player and sit back as multichannel stereo flows forth. The quality of the sound, the quality of the particular production, the quality of the recording all are excellent. With this particular recording, it's as though you're sitting in the middle of the recording booth, right there with the performers as they make the music. The warmth and immediacy of the sound is simply incredible. SACD will also make traditional CDs come back to life. Now, if only ...would make SACDs easier to find on the Web site with a hot link as they've done with the competing, but inferior, DVD-Audio.
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Format: Audio CD
The title says it all! This is currently my favorite disk. The playing is flawless. The sound quality in multichannel SACD mode is out of this world. The disk is hybrid so you can listen in your truck. The music is timeless. I could go on and on.....just buy it and listen because words do not do it justice. You will not regret buying this SACD.
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