Vienna: Music of the Strauss family and Carl Maria von Weber – Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Fritz Reiner, conductor – JVC xrcd

by | Sep 1, 2005 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

Vienna — Music of the Strauss family and Carl Maria von Weber –
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner, conductor – JVC XRCD24
JM-XR24025 – 49 min. *****:

When it comes to JVC’s always excellent XRCD 24 RCA Living Stereo
series, the question is not whether you need this disc – it’s pretty
much whether you’re willing to part with the thirty or so dollars it’s
likely to cost you. Do you take a chance that maybe RCA will release
the same material – usually with generous fillers – on SACD, maybe in
three-channel sound, and probably for about ten bucks? When it comes to
Fritz Reiner and the CSO, I tend to lose all fiscal responsibility and
clumsily clutch at my wallet, rushing to get the cash out as quickly as
possible; hearing this superb XRCD 24 only serves to reassure me
that I made the correct decision! This disc is stunning in every way
possible, and sounds as close to the vinyl as any digital disc I’ve
heard yet.

Listening to this disc caused quite a firestorm of activity for me – I
spent the next hour or so afterward pulling out other XRCD’s and RCA
SACDs, listening, comparing and contrasting an assortment of titles.
While I’m still mightily impressed with the SACDs, the XRCDs are no
slouch either – the orchestral image is rock-solid, with a wide and
deep soundstage, there’s barely a trace of any hiss, and orchestral
climaxes have tremendous dynamic impact. I got every bit the rush of
excitement and satisfaction from my XRCD listening experience that I
generally get from the SACDs – this disc made me re-examine my overall
philosophy with regard to SACD vs XRCD. [On my equipment xrcds don’t match the fidelity of most SACDs, however the new K2HDs often do…Ed.]

One minor quibble – for a while, JVC had been printing the liner notes
on XRCDs in English, which was great! Now, we’re back to everything in
Japanese. Who really cares – especially once the music starts playing!
Do you need this disc? Yes, if you’re a total Reiner junkie like I am –
and with the current, sorry state of classical music marketing (and
recorded music, in general), the prudent (and safe) thing to do is to
throw caution to the wind and get this disc – you won’t be sorry! Very
highly recommended.

— Tom Gibbs  

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