Review by gonzostick June 8, 2009 (16 of 24 found this review helpful)
|This recording is a technical DISASTER! BEWARE!!!
I am wondering if these other two men who listened to this SACD, really listened to it in SURROUND. I am SO disappointed!!! Daphnis et Chloe is one of the greatest of orchestral masterpieces, and it has SO needed a recent recording in DSD.
To save you some reading, the mix-down encoded for SACD by Classic Sound Limited, UK, is completely MESSED UP. The orchestra and performers, who should be spread between the front two channels, are on the left rear and left front channels. The hall ambience, which should be in the REAR two channels, is in the right front and right rear channels. HOW, you may ask? Some incompetent idiot did not listen to the Master as it was being pressed. NO QUALITY CONTROL, or worse still, NO ONE at the Chicago Symphony bothered to really listen to the product they are selling. THIS IS SHAMEFUL and a huge WASTE of their money and MINE!!!
Sure, it sounds fine in SACD stereo, and everything is where it should be, but I will have something to say about Haitink's Daphnis below. Also, the bass response, unless it is due to the hall's acoustics, is ANEMIC!!!
About the performance... Remember, the end of the Daphnis ballet is supposed to be an orgy in honor of the great god Pan. Here, the performance is so tepid, I wish someone had mixed some Viagra in Haitink's Metamucil. The peformance PLODS. Listen to the fire of Munch with Boston Symphony and hear how a FRENCH conductor understands this music has to have sweep, virtuosity, and total drunkenness... AND SEX!!! YES, SEX!!! These people sound like they are having tea and brioches, NOT at an orgy... The biggest shame is that, while one of the greatest of virtuoso orchestras is on tap, they are NOT challenged to play at that level.
While the CSO plays splendidly, Haitink is BORING!!! The Poulenc Gloria has NO bounce. It is just as polite as the Daphnis...
Also, the Dutoit recording on DECCA RBCD is just as dull. Yes, the sound is beautiful, but the spirit of the music is NOT there, and it most certainly is NOT here... Even Boulez, in his CBS and DG RBCD performances, often accused of being clinical, gets his orchestras to play this music with great sweep and blazing white heat...
MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT... I am going to write to the CSO, who sold me this turkey and ask for my money back... or at least (impossible in my view) a repressing of what is now a 30-dollar drink coaster... STAY AWAY FROM THIS TURKEY!!! Haitink is DEAD in LIFE!!!
Ravel and Poulenc live on in better hands, but Haitink is UNDEAD!!!
PS: I just went back and relistened to the Munch/Boston SO performance on Living Stereo SACD. Even in TWO channels, this performance gets ALL the notes and the sweep and spirit of the performance. Get THAT one, if you want one of the best performances of Daphnis. If you want surround, do not buy this unless CSO Resound remasters and represses it. The worst thing is that they actually have a donor who underwrites these discs, and NO ONE really listened to the surround version of this mess. Never mind that Haitink pedantically gets every note of the score but completely misses the MUSIC!!!
PPS: Yes, I love this music very much, and I know the work, VERY well, having studied the score for years, and yes, I am a professional orchestra conductor with 42 years of experience on the podium.
PPPS: What is really missing in these performances? PASSION. There is absolutely NO PASSION. That is a shame. Everyone is so proficient at what they do, they sound BORED. If I want to revisit this lack of passion, I could save the 30 dollars and call my ex-wife... UGH!!!
PPPPS: I called the CSO to alert them to the technical problem in this disc, and talked to the person in charge of their CSO Resound recording program. My report was met with skepticism, and I was then given an extensive list of the qualifications of the personnel who put the release together, followed by all the reasons why I should NOT be hearing what I was hearing with their defective disc. His reaction should have been to ask me to send him the disc, to prove what I am saying. That is simple customer service, but that is NOT the case here. He told me to contact the store where I bought it, the same employer as his own, the Chicago Symphony Store, and they MIGHT give me store credit. I then called my bank and had them reverse the charge on the CSO Store. So, BUYER BEWARE!!! Find some other place to buy SACD's, this is corporate idiocy at it worst. Never mind the dull performance... I guess it matches the administration...
PPPPPS: (Yes, enough, already!!!) I just read, in the discussion thread about this release, that someone else has received another copy of this disc that has defective channel assignments in the Surround SACD layer. I did not think my ears were lying to me... and my system is calibrated for balance and the SACDs are playing straight from the player to the 6-channel preamp to the power amps. The audio path is analog direct...
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