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Reviews: Ballet Favorites - Kunzel

Reviews: 3

Review by eleeathome November 19, 2004 (4 of 15 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This sacd does not have height channel like previouse releases did. The sound is poor. The package also changes from jewel case to normal case. Telarc products look cheap and engineers are lazy.

Don't recommend.

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Review by Daland November 27, 2004 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
These are rather uneven performances of highlights from the great ballet scores. The orchestral playing is of a relatively high standard, but the sonics leave much to be desired. You have to turn up the volume considerably to obtain a satisfactory spatial effect. Erich Kunzel is no Arthur Fiedler, he hardly ever brings verve and sparkle to these delightful scores. Even the two bonus tracks by Offenbach fail to catch fire. (Just wait for "Gaité parisienne" in the Living Stereo series, where the Boston Pops Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler really sweeps you off your feet - I happen to own the SACD version released last year by BMG Hong Kong).
Kunzel is at his best in the more lyrical pieces (Minkus, Nutcracker) and in Khachaturian's Sabre Dance (apparently recorded at a higher level, with better use of the rear channels). Surely, the Cincinnati Orchestra sounds better in the hands of Paavo Järvi.

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Review by DSD February 22, 2011 (4 of 13 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Producer: Robert Woods
Engineer: Jack Renner

Fantastic performances of some of my favorite ballet selections of all time! Unlike the previous two reviewers I find the sound of reference quality, very realistic and with near-perfect timbre.

Daland said "You have to turn up the volume considerably to obtain a satisfactory spatial effect." I agree as this is true of ALL recordings with realistic dynamic range not just Telarc's. Volume needs to be turned up to REALISTIC levels for the soundstage and all the great spatial effects to be revealed.

Daland I do agree that Paavo Järvi's Cincinnati Orchestra recordings usually sound slightly superior to the Cincinnati Pops SACDs, however I believe this is because the Järvi recordings use less microphones.

One can never go wrong with a Woods/Renner production nor Telarc's DSD recordings. It hurts that they have abandoned the SACD format, it hurts a lot!

Eleeathome like many other labels Telarc went from the small-hinge Super jewel case back to regular jewel cases when the switch was make to large-hinge Super jewel cases and the small-hinge ones were no longer available to purchase. I LOVED the small-hinge Super jewel cases and personally think it was a bonehead stupid idea to redesign them with larger hinges. This stupid move I am sure caused a lot of labels to leave SACD as they had to throw away and redesign the bottom insert to fit in the larger-hinge case. Many of them just let the SACDs go out of print rather than designing new bottom inlay cards.

There are actually 18 selections of this SACD, corrections sent to Zeus:
1. Dukas: Fanfare to La Peri
2. Chopin: Grand Valse Brilliante from Les Sylphides
3. Delibes: Waltz from Coppelia
4. Delibes: Cortege de Bacchus from Sylvia
5. Minkus: Grand Pas De Deux from Don Quixote
6. Tchaikovsky: Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker
7. Khachaturian: Sabre Dance from Gayane
8. Adam: Grand Pas de Deux from Giselle
9. Shostakovich: Polka from The Golden Age
10. Falla: Spanish Dance from La Vida Breve
11. Pugni: Finale from Pas de Quatre
12. Gliere: Russian Sailor's Dance from The Red Poppy
13. Tchaikovsky: Waltz from Swan Lake
14. Kabalevsky: Galop from The Comedians
15. Stravinsky: Finale from The Firebird
16. Tchaikovsky: Garland Waltz from Sleeping Beauty
17, Offenbach: Galop from La Parisienne
18. Offenbach: Can-Can from Orpheus in the Underworld

From the very first notes of Dukas' Fanfare to La Peri one is aware they are in for a sonic treat! I highly recommend this wonderful SACD, not Telarc's finest but close so it gets 4 1/2 stars!

The bass is not as warm as the best Telarc SACDs which is evident especially comparing the Finale from the Firebird with the complete suite Stravinsky: Petrouchka, Firebird Suite etc - Järvi recorded two years earlier in 2002 in the same hall also by the Woods/Renner team. However the nether regions are still more realistic than most other recordings, if not the equal of the above mentioned Järvi which is one of the finest sounding SACDs yet!

I hope this is helpful and I am sad that the last two reviews might have scared anyone away from this wonderful SACD. Since starting this review yesterday I have listened to this wonderful SACD four times, twice though Sennheiser headphones and twice though speakers as I was in such shock that anyone, anywhere, at anytime could think this this SACD is less than perfect sonically or musically or that the performances were less than ideal. I have owned the SACD since it came out almost seven years ago and play it at least a half dozen times per year, this is the most I have every played a recording in a 24 hour period.

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