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Reviews: Respighi: Roman Trilogy - Ashkenazy

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Reviews: 5

Site review by Castor May 24, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

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Site review by Polly Nomial June 18, 2008
Performance:   Sonics:  
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

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Review by Geohominid May 19, 2007 (12 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
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Review by dc September 5, 2007 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
IMO the sound for the Roman Trilogy is pretty much the same as that for the Chruch Windows CD. The style of music is, of course, very different which could explain why some feel it works less well. In the Roman Trilogy Ashkenazy doesn't present an impressionistic view of the music but aligns it with Stravinksy's Rite of Spring, Prokfiev's Sythian Suite, Bartok's Mandarin and Honnegger's Pacific. It works well, too, especially with the up-front recording with the strings shaving your ears off, brass bashing your skull and timpani punching your stomach. I personally find this sound wildly exciting but some may well feel differently. It's very much like the sound you find with Dorati on Mercury, Levine on DG, Solti on Decca and Svetlanov on Melodiya. Ashkenazy lets rip in the finale to the Epiphany but the coda is as good as any, with the whirling string figures at the end given as much weight and prominence as on Ormandy's old recording. This is the record to accompany BBC's "Rome" - gaudy, loud and totally uninhibited. The only problem are the birds. An old chestnut this. I can't tell an ostrich from a dodo but they sound to me like chicks hatching rather than the singing of the nightingale Oscar Wilde had in mind. Even Karajan's blackbird sounds better :-D

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Review by DSD April 2, 2011 (2 of 20 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I reviewed the companion SACD to this back in June 16, 2009 Respighi: Church Windows etc. - Ashkenazy so it is time to critically look at this one. Both were recorded by the same engineers at the same sessions in March 2004 and April 2005. The Respighi: Roman Trilogy - Ashkenazy was released in 2005 and Respighi: Church Windows etc. - Ashkenazy in 2006. It is my feeling that perhaps some equalization and other post-production work was performed on the later recording which may explain its better low frequency performance and more realistic sound. I am usually against the use of equalization and post-production but these two SACDs may prove that its use can improve a less than perfect recording.

This review is of the 2 channel stereo high resolution DSD program and if you listen in multichannel be aware that some have claimed this a sonic disaster especially the center channel with just ambiance at a very low level and bass-light as well. I take bass-light revelations seriously so perhaps this recording is ONLY for 2 channel stereo music lovers and that may be an explanation on why Exton has given up multichannel and now records in 2 channel stereo only.

I just finished playing both of Exton's Respighi SACDs and this one is nearly as good in two channel stereo as Respighi: Church Windows etc. - Ashkenazy which is one of my very favorite SACDs. The orchestra does has deep bass in 2 channel stereo but the deep organ notes in The Pines Near a Catacomb are recessed and lacking in weight which leads me to believe the organ was not mic'ed separately or the mics were in the wrong spot to pick up the deep organ notes with force in this movement. Not only is the deep bass of the orchestra there in 2 channel stereo but it has a wonderful analog warmth to both the deep and mid bass. The Violin tone was not thin as reported in the multi-channel program, but nice and smooth.

Ashkenazy does grunt a couple of times during first movement of Pines of Rome, it doesn't distract from the performance.

The performances are a little slower than the Fritz Reiner on RCA Living Stereo Respighi: Pines of Rome, Fountains of Rome, Debussy: La Mer - Reiner, but to my ears that makes them more exciting and grander! These are romantic versions of Respighi's visions painted on vast landscapes. Big very Roman sounding sonic portraits, I liked the performances so much better than Reiner's I sold it. I now have the Roman Trilogy with a grand, grand Roman Festivals that I was afraid to buy because of the poor reviews.

I am so thrilled with this SACD, especially since the sonics turned out to be nearly as wonderful as my other Respighi Exton SACD Respighi: Church Windows etc. - Ashkenazy .

On March 26, 2011 during my six hours of listening to BIS 24/44.1kHz recordings at eClassical.com I compared this to the new Respighi: Roman Trilogy - Neschling and this one has considerably deeper bass than the BIS and I like it better overall, both sonically and musically. I know it's not a totally fair comparison, however the streaming audio at eClassical.com is among the finest I've heard and does give a good impression on how much bass a recording has and how well it is engineered. What you hear is close to what you will download, the 24/44.1kHz will of course sound more realistic. And in case it does not eClassical.com is unique in offering a satisfaction guarantee.

I have a preference for recordings made in concert halls however this one was made in the Studio of the Holland Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and it is very realistic. They are the finest performances I have ever owned of these marvelous works and I carefully recommend this only if you listen in 2 channel stereo.

* Review is of the 2 channel stereo high resolution DSD layer.

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