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Reviews: Dvorak, Walton: Cello Concertos - Piatigorsky

Reviews: 6

Review by stvnharr February 15, 2005 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is my first of the second edition of the Living Stereo releases. I've had the Dvorak on XRCD for some time, and found it pretty well done. But the new sacd is a cut above. And it also includes the Walton Cello Concerto as well, while the XRCD only has the Dvorak. In fact I find this to be one of the finest of the Living Stereo sacds. You really get a feel for the passion in the playing of Gregor Piatigorsky.
Compared to the Maisky/Mehta sacd recording of Dvorak, this one is much preferred.

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Review by eric1403 April 11, 2005 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Sonically speaking the Dvorak piece is a great performance. The sound of the orchestra is very big, bright and forward, though sometimes at the expense of the soloist. Disappointing however is Piatigorsky's handling of this taxing piece of music. He certainly has his moments, but he often sounds uninspired and fatigued. To make things worse, there's quite a bit of off-key playing as well! Wait for the Rostropovich/Karajan performance instead, which is due for SACD release in the near future.

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Review by Ivymike July 29, 2005 (10 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
A wonderful SACD... I recently heard the Dvorak live and I found myself comparing that performance to that on this disc.

The sound is excellent, with a very wide soundstage that may surprise those not used to hi fi playback. The sense of depth is also fine. The RCA transfer issued in the 1990's was apparently mastered from a protection or safety dupe and suffered from a horrendous tape splice about seven minutes into the first movement; I used to cringe in anticipation of that evil edit and the change in timbre and lurch it caused in the soundfield. I'm glad to say that edit is not in evidence on this transfer. The sense of Piatigorsky being present is enhanced by the three-channel playback and this is the preferred listening mode if you have the proper equipment.

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Review by Coffee Kev October 18, 2005 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I had trepidation buying this disc based upon the above review. I almost didn't, but I finally gave in. My benchmark is Jacqueline Du Pre's unbelievably passionate performance amidst Sargent's very supportive conducting.

This disc has an equally passionate performance and it has a better balance. I heard no fatigue, but perhaps what one reviewer hears as fatigue another hears as sensitive meditation from a soloist who actually listens to the orchestra while he's playing! I'd have to say Piatigorksy's performance is just a different but equally valid emotion, like comparing gospel singing to Gregorian chant, both equally spiritual, but stylistically very different.

As far as sound goes, it's the best I've heard from Living Stereo and perhaps the best I've heard from my stereo period! The soloist to orchestra balance is just about perfectly even, which means the orchestra is considered an equal part by the engineers. I prefer that to the "I'm ready for my closeup now Mr De Mille" balance used by most producers in order to highlight the "STAR".

I respect the above reviewer, but I strongly urge you to spend the ten bucks and discover this gem for yourself.

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Review by boguspomp December 10, 2005 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is such a wonderful disk. I own all the Living Presence and Living Stereo RB-CD's that came out in the 90's and this was and still is 1 of the best. Beautifully played and tonally well balanced.

If you like the Dvorak Concerto you will love this SA-CD. Sound opened up even more on this release than it has been on the RBCD.

When you go to the "Wherehouse" you get 3 of the Living Stereo for 25 $. Thats money well spent.

Worth the money and highly recommended.

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Review by joheirba June 7, 2013 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This disc has a hole in its middle. Most discs do, but this one also has a hole in the middle of its sound. There's a beautiful orchestra, playing a wonderful music and then, after a minute or two, the cello comes in somewhere from behind the trombones. What a pity.

But the playing is delicious. In some way, after a first moment of surprise, the softer sound of the cello makes me listen more carefully. And its captivating. The tempi are rather slow, so you get all the time to enjoy all of the music and intonations. I love it this way and prefer this to the often heard display of technical virtuosity in which one can nearly imagine the metronome ticking in the background. At some moments, the playing gets too slow for the orchestra, yielding some rather long notes without variation, but the cello always manages to do something with the music. I always looked at Dvorak as a more virtuoso composer, but there's so much more in the music when it's played this way. When listening to Rostropovich with Giulini or to Fritz Reiner with the Chicago SO (also on sacd), my attention tends to flow away in the second, slower part, but such is not the case within this version. On the virtuoso side, Piatorgsky can get very speedy at moments, but only at places where it really suits the music.

For the rest, the sound is really top-quality. I think it would be very hard to recognize this disc as being analog within a blind test, except then for its quality some will say. The basses are very well defined, and there's a very rich differentiation between the different instruments within the high tones. I usually only listen to the stereo layer, because my center and surround boxes are very small, but this time I also checked the surround layer. The "hole" effect surely gets attenuated when listening to the surround layer (three channels only), but does not disappear completely. The cello still sound from somewhere within the orchestra. Moreover, with my small center box, the cello started travelling between the left and center boxes, so I'll personally stick with stereo layer. Because of all of this, I gave the multichannel sonics a slightly higher score than the stereo sonics, with a rather high score for both as the sonics are finally really very good. Also, keep in mind that your experience may be better if your center box has more quality.

So, apart from the "hole", this is a perfect disc !

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