This disc is a remaster of a recordings made in 1959. The Saint Saens symphony was a speciality of Munch and over the years I have owned three versions by him, all notably exciting. There was a Fontana label 10 inch mono LP with the NYPO and a Columbia mono recording before this one, recorded in stereo, with the Boston orchestra.
Over the years I have owned a number of alternative recordings in the belief or hope that a newer recording would have better sound and an exciting performance to match. This has proved not to be the case and Munch still reigns supreme. The question now remains, which of the three purchasing options is best and why?
Initially there was a Red Seal issue which definitely does not have the openness of sound of the Living Stereo version. However its couplings of the Poulenc organ concerto and Franck's Chasseur Maudit are invaluable for being the most exciting ever of the Franck and a particularly good Poulenc. The disc therefore remains desirable for collectors.
There is also the SACD version of the Living Stereo disc bought a little while ago, which was very disappointing after checking via A/B comparisons, and subsequently it was passed on to a friend without any regrets. The symphony was the least attractive of the three pieces in its SACD form and seemed inferior to the Living Stereo copy. Other reviewers have also complained of left/right channel reversal in part of the final movement, a feature that I did not notice.
I have studied various reviewers' comments in some detail about the pluses and minuses of the SACD and Living Stereo versions and, with my own experience, have to agree with those who advise staying with the Living Stereo version. This remains a very attractive purchasing option and has generous couplings of Ibert's Escales and Debussy's La mer.
Generally one would not choose a Munch recording expecting sensitive subtleties of interpretation. Munch is more about the broader canvas, excitement, drive and thrills. He had an orchestra that could deliver these and that is what we get on this disc.
There is now this XRCD remastered option engineered by JVC from the original 3 track tapes and delivered in enhanced stereo from 24 bit processing. Enormous care has been taken to maximise the sound as a result of meticulous quality control throughout the manufacturing stages. There are no couplings and the disc is very expensive so does it work and is it worthwhile?
The answer to both questions will be 'yes' for collectors who value this performance/recording above all others. This extra audio quality is similar to the improvement of the 'Living Stereo' version over the Red Seal. This time the XRCD delivers a similar improvement over the 'Living Stereo' and is probably the definitive possible improvement. The lack of couplings is not the issue if the focus is on the symphony.
I would suggest that the disc's longevity in the catalogues is testament to its considerable appeal and would therefore advise that it should be seriously as a strong purchase option. As to which purchase otpion is the best choice, all three offer different attractions as described above. This XRCD option undoubtedly offers the best sound - the organ entry in the last movement being remarkably thrilling even though it is expected!
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : いいえ
- 製品サイズ : 12.7 x 15.24 x 1.27 cm; 137.78 g
- メーカー : Jmc / Xrcd
- EAN : 0693692100228, 0422143955892
- レーベル : Jmc / Xrcd
- ASIN : B00005NTOS
- ディスク枚数 : 1