2004-12-07 13:55:13 UTC
my computer, then the SACD surround version on my main system.
My view of the work has completely changed. Up to now, I found it a tediously
overlong and appallingly uninteresting/boring work. Gergiev's highly imaginative
conducting brings the work alive, without in any way being self-indulgent or
arbitrarily twisting the music to suit the conductor's mood at the moment.
After listening, I checked the reviews on Amazon. (HighFidelityReview has not
reviewed it.) The opinions are all over the place, varying from "boring" and
"overwrought" to "among the very best." I lean to the latter. The music
"unfolds" as I like it to, languorous or excited where appropriate, without ever
seeming "held back" or "rushed." The constant forward momentum is never lost,
regardless of the tempo of the moment. Very reminiscent of Stokowski at his
best, though a teensy bit less "romantic."
I haven't heard the Mackerras version, which DH likes so much. However, I
disagree that "Mackerras has never made a bad record." Perhaps DH hasn't heard
Mackerras rush through the Mozart symphonies as if he had something
more-important to do elsewhere.
I should warn audiophiles (of which I am one) that the SACD surround version is
the sonically weirdest recording I have _ever_ heard. It's very Furtwanglerish
(???!!!), varying passage-by-passage, with no overall consistency whatever. Some
passages are extremely lifelike and realistic, of almost reach-out-and-touch
quality -- while others (notably massed violins) sound -- literally -- if they
were recorded in a meat locker, with added reverb. (One of the Amazon reviewers
says "there seems [sic] to be some sound problems with that recording which I
don't quite understand.")
One Amazon reviewer commented that the sound was rather dull and lacking in HF
definition. This is what I heard on my computer speakers (Monsoon 2000), but it
was not true on my main system (Apogee Divas). The loudest passages were congest
ed (which is common for most recordings), but the lack of hardness, shrillness,
and unnatural brightness was notable.