RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: “Le Coq d’Or;” Capriccio Espagnol; Russian Easter Overture; BORODIN: Polvtsian Dances – London Symphony Orchestra/Antal Dorati: CHABRIER: Espana; Suite Pastorale; Fete Polonaise; Overture to Gwendoline etc.; ROUSSEL: Suite in F – Paray

by | Jun 24, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Suite from “Le Coq d’Or;” Capriccio Espagnol;
Russian Easter Overture; BORODIN: Polvtsian Dances from “Prince Igor” –
London Symphony Orchestra/Antal Dorati – Mercury Living Presence
multichannel (3-channel) SACD, 475 6194, 67:06 ****:

Here are some excitingly colorful interpretations of exotic Russian
symphony works – heard for the very first time the way they were
committed to tape back in 1956 in Walthamstow Town Hall in the UK – in
three-channel audio. The Capriccio and Russian Easter Overture have
been paired up on many recordings since LP days. These are among the
most invigorating of versions for sure. The four movements of the
Golden Cockerel Suite are Rimsky-Korsakov at his exotic orchestration
peak; it’s like watching one of those Hollywood oriental epics with,
say, John Wayne as Gengis Kahn perhaps?  There’s been plenty of
different versions of the tuneful Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor,
including the one in that Broadway musical borrowing Borodin’s music,
but this particular one has been my standby ever since I spun it on my
Thoren turntable thru my Newcomb integrated amp to my home-built corner
horn with EV drivers in it. Too bad the London Symphony Chorus couldn’t
be heard from the surround channels, but that wouldn’t jibe with the
purist three-channel approach in this series.

Now I’ve got two channels more than I then had!  The substantial
length of the program is identical to what was assembled on the
previous standard CD reissue of the Mercury masters, as are all of
these 3-channel SACDs in the series.  I should point out that if
you don’t have a center channel speaker that at least duplicates the
exact drivers for the mid and upper registers of your front left and
right speakers, and unless you have it located roughly in line with
your L & R speakers and not in an Isoceles triangle way on top of
your RPTV set, you can forget about bothering with the three-channel
option. The two-channel stereo version is excellent and still a huge
improvement over the CD reissues or the CD layer on these hybrid discs.

EMMANUEL CHABRIER: Espana; Suite Pastorale; Fete Polonaise; Overture
to Gwendoline; Danse Slave; Joyeuse Marche, Bourée Fantasque; ALBERT
ROUSSEL: Suite in F – Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Paul Paray – Mercury
Living Presence multichannel (3-channel) SACD 475 6183, 67:22 ****:

These original Mercuries were taped in l957 thru 1959 in Detroit on
3-track half-inch tape. Chabrier’s music is a delightful, extremely
French experience – full of enthusiasm, joyfulness and glorious
melodies. His most popular work, Espana, grew out of a trip to Spain
where he was fascinated with the flamenco he heard in cafes. It is a
precise French view of the exotic Spanish rhythms and melodies. The
other works are less blatant but of a similar happy and festive mood
with no sense of brooding or introspection. The three-movement Roussel
suite is only a bit more serious in nature but fits in well with the
Chabrier works. All are as colorfully orchestrated as Rimsky-Korsakov’s
works, and expertly delivered in the richness of the three-channel
frontal soundstaging provided by the Mercury engineers.

– John Sunier

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