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Discussion: Berlioz: Requiem - Spano

Posts: 8

Post by jdaniel@jps.net August 29, 2004 (1 of 8)
I disagree here. At first I thought portions in the Spano surround were a little low-voltage, but now I believe this to be because everything has room to breath, and it takes some expectational adjustment. I, too, re-listened to the Shaw, Davis, and Bernstein, and they are exciting, but I believe some of the excitement is simply derived from the confused cacaphony of 2 channel sound of these other recordings--something not evident on the surround of course. The off-stage trumpets in the surround are exactly the way one would hear them live--distant and not so imposing. The untangled percussion, (tymps and bass drums), further give an initial impression of low-voltage, too. I've found this to be the most "musical" performance I've heard, esp. in the very thickly-textured writing; it just took some adjustment. Don't tell my that gong-hit in the end of the Lacrymosa didn't overwhelm you! : ) Otherwise quiet sections are extremely poetic. This is the most satisying Requiem I've heard. Ironically, I was disappointed in the Spano VW Sea Symphony as compared to the Handley/Liverpool.

Post by Luukas September 22, 2014 (2 of 8)
This is awful. My own favorite is Sir Colin Davis' recording (LSO Live) with Barry Banks (tenor), London Symphony Chorus, London Philharmonic Chorus & London Symphony Orchestra. Do you agree?

Post by Chris from Lafayette September 24, 2014 (3 of 8)
Luukas said:

This is awful. My own favorite is Sir Colin Davis' recording (LSO Live) with Barry Banks (tenor), London Symphony Chorus, London Philharmonic Chorus & London Symphony Orchestra. Do you agree?

Luukas - I mostly agree with you. I didn't know that my bud, jdaniel, was so fond of the Spano recording. When I had it, I couldn't stand the sense of Telarc's multiple microphoning being so obvious and unmistakable, so I didn't keep it for long before jettisoning it. I do like the Davis / LSO Live recording in certain ways (particularly for its capture of the sound within the vast sense of space that Berlioz seemed to have in mind), but there are penalties to be paid for this in the resultant looseness of ensemble in parts of the work. (The coordination of the instruments would no doubt have been better managed in a slightly drier acoustic, although it's remarkable how well Davis and the LSO players do under the circumstances.) However, for certain qualities, such as the mighty deluge sound in certain sections - where you think that the roof might fall in! - the Davis/ LSO Live can certainly be overwhelming. My other favorites are the earlier Davis (originally Philips, now on Pentatone) and Munch/BSO (three channels only, unfortunately). There are a couple of plain old CD's (such as the Levine/BPO recording on DG) which are magnificent, but which unfortunately did not receive the hi-rez, multi-channel treatment they deserved. Too bad!

Post by Fitzcaraldo215 September 25, 2014 (4 of 8)
I think the Spano is one of the dullest and most disappointing readings of this work. It is a spectacular recording, demo quality in Mch. But, if I want to listen to the work in Mch, I am quite happy with the Norrington, though I am usually no fan of his. The sound is of high quality, though not as obviously spectacular as the Spano in surround effects. But, it conveys the sense of space of a large venue quite well.

I think the old quad era Colin Davis remastered on Pentatone RQR SACD is an even more moving and deeply felt interpretation, but the sonics are quite datedly inferior.

Post by Chris from Lafayette September 25, 2014 (5 of 8)
Fitzcaraldo215 said:

I think the Soano is one of the dullest and most disappointing readings of this work. It is a spectacular recording, demo quality in Mch. But, if I want to listen to the work in Mch, I am quite happy with the Norrington, though I am usually no fan of his. The sound is of high quality, though not as obviously spectacular as the Spano in surround effects. But, it conveys the sense of space of a large venue quite well.

I think the old quad era Colin Davis remastered on Pentatone RQR SACD is an even more moving and deeply felt interpretation, but the sonics are quite datedly inferior.

Yeah, I'm sure it's recorded well, but unfortunately, the Snorrington performance is a non-starter for me, since it's disfigured by the conductor's revelation that a sackcloth and ashes approach to vibrato is the only valid road to musical truth. ;-)

As far as Berlioz Requiems are concerned, I guess I'm still waiting for THE ONE. ;-)

BTW, have you heard the Davis / LSO Live? At the very least, it's certainly interesting.

Post by Fitzcaraldo215 September 25, 2014 (6 of 8)
Chris from Lafayette said:

Yeah, I'm sure it's recorded well, but unfortunately, the Snorrington performance is a non-starter for me, since it's disfigured by the conductor's revelation that a sackcloth and ashes approach to vibrato is the only valid road to musical truth. ;-)

As far as Berlioz Requiems are concerned, I guess I'm still waiting for THE ONE. ;-)

BTW, have you heard the Davis / LSO Live? At the very least, it's certainly interesting.

No, I have not heard the Davis/LSO Live as yet, as I am usually not a fan of their sonics. But, I will consider it.

In general, I agree about Norrington. But, for some reason, his approach works for me on this Berlioz Requiem.

The very best I ever heard was live, of course, about 5 years ago with Dutoit and the Philadelphia Orchestra. I thought I was in heaven.

Post by nucaleena September 25, 2014 (7 of 8)
Fitzcaraldo215 said:

I think the Spano is one of the dullest and most disappointing readings of this work....if I want to listen to the work in Mch, I am quite happy with the Norrington....the old Davis is....a moving and deeply felt interpretation, but the sonics are quite datedly inferior.

Fitz, I agree with every single word of your post but would also throw the Davis LSO Live into the equation.

Post by Fitzcaraldo215 September 26, 2014 (8 of 8)
nucaleena said:

Fitz, I agree with every single word of your post but would also throw the Davis LSO Live into the equation.

Thanks. I have the Davis/LSO and I will give it a listen this weekend. Davis's Berlioz has always been top notch in the past.

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