Review by Chris March 8, 2004 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
|This recording was actually the very first SACD that I bought,more than three years ago.And after reading the raving review of Volodos's most recent Tchaikowsky concerto also on Sony and with the same orchestra,I found no reviews here as yet, of this one, only equally raving views on Amazon .com.The reason I have witheld my thoughts on this one is that I was initially disappointed with it.
But let me start with Volodos's playing.It is nothing short of stunning,no complaints there. The same goes for the Berlin Philarmonic they are very good as usual.But the actual recording is much more troublesome IMO.
This SACD has beeen mastered from a 24 bit PCM master.The sleeve doesn't actually say if it was done at the standard 44,1 ,48 or 96khz sampling rates.
The piano itself has been pretty well recorded ,but not exceptionally so,and the orchestra at times sounds both, a touch hard and, unnatural. Massed strings lack both body and sweetness.What I hear in contrast to the very positive reviews soundwise, at Amazon .com is a pretty ordinary CD ,lacking in transparence and all too often sounding unatmospheric and opaque in the orchestral parts. The piano swamps the orchestra when both are playing at forte levels or louder.And although there are a couple of quite impressive climaxes in the last movement where you get to hear a bit of the reverberation of the Philarmonie in Berlin, most of it, seems to take place in the digital "Void", I so dislike about far too many, ordinary CDs.
Comparisons with the two LPs I have of this work makes Sonys engineering even more embarrassing.
Both Askenazy on RCA and Tamas Vasary on DGG have been better served by their respective recording teams back in the seventies, IMO.And the orchestras have been much better recorded too.
I must say though, the fillers on Volodos's disc ,solo pieces by Rachmaninoff,sound quite good.
And his way of playing them is of course, again, masterly.
I wish I could award half stars here .Two stars for sound quality may seem a bit harsh,but I can't really stretch to three,there's simply too much that's not been done right IMO.
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