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  Living Stereo
  Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe - Munch
  Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe (complete)

Boston Symphony Orchestra
Charles Munch (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 10 show all

Reviews: 5 show all

Review by Ivymike November 19, 2005 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Another shaded dog that demands deep pockets in its original, vinyl format.

This piece was recorded on 23 and 24 January, 1955 in Symphony Hall, Boston by engineer Leslie Chase. I owned the original Living Stereo red book CD from the 1990's and never could quite figure out what all the fuss regarding the quality of the recording was about. I found the sound distant and odd, as though struggling to break through some unseen, unheard hi-fi barrier. The soundstage was big and billowy, pleasing in an immediate way but less so after even a short sitting. Dynamics were impressive; I remember being startled at one point.

Years later I read an article in a hi-fi magazine that suggested that the 1/4", 2-track 30 ips master tape had been transferred using the wrong playback equalization. Another source suggested that a 15 ips protection copy of the master tape had been used for the transfer and not the master itself. In any case the idea was forwarded that something was wrong with the transfer.

I purchased this SACD reluctantly. The sound is a world away from the orignal red book CD. The sound is much "freer", if I may coin word, and no longer seems strangled. Tape hiss is more audible on this release as well. Both of these would indicate that the suggestion that the incorrect playback EQ was used on the original release was probably correct. The soundstage is still big and wide but now seems less billowy. The usual early RCA hole-in-the-middle effect is noticeable. Bass and dynamic range are both solid. There is some congestion during choral peaks that would indicate some tape overload but this is a minor and transient point.

A very satisfying perfomance finally given a decent sonic treatment. Well worth the $12.

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Review by thepilot October 18, 2004 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I have grown with this wonderful recording and I have all its different editions, in vinyl and CD. This SACD made my cry, it could have been recorded yesterday. It has tremendous dynamic range, astounding bass extension and treble air and clarity, and the soundstage dimensionality makes you think that this is a multichannel recording. Of course it was made in 1955, but hearing is believing, and you have to listen to this miraculous SACD. The transfer is a miracle of modern DSD A/D and the performance now sounds better than ever. All the other Daphnis' have to be judged by the standards this living stereo edition sets. I will cherish this disc for the rest of my life. Now I can give away the other recordings I have (about 15 different editions) and remain forever loyal to Munch's magic glow. This has to be rated 10 stars at least for sound quality and performance. WOW!

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Review by nickc January 27, 2005 (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Now this disc is truly amazing! I just have to repeat what the other two reviewers have said - it is almost beyond belief that is was recorded 50 years ago. To paraphrase a famous saying Daphnis could be called the greatest of the greatest of Ravel's works. Just listen to the opening 5 or so minutes and you are in aural ecstasy -you can hardly take a breath in the whole hour of the work.
Unbelievably this was the first time I had ever heard this performance, having "grown up" on Dutoit's St Eustache Decca performance. It seems to me that Munch gives the music more time to breathe than Dutoit's slightly quicker pace - and the music blossoms from it. I also have Karajan's classic Second Suite from the mid 60s which may be even more overwhelming from memory, but of course there is no chorus on that disc.
The sound is absolutely magnificent. I could not hear any hiss at all and, most importantly, the orchestra is captured with such amazing fidelity it just makes you want to take today's recording engineers and grab them by the throat...frankly it seems some of them have gone backwards in the last 50 years with their small-scale and distantly-miked productions. Indeed I prefer this recording to either of the Chailly Mahler SACDs released in the last year (and that is coming from a MC addict!).
One final word of advice - just buy it!

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Works: 1  

Maurice Ravel - Daphnis et Chloé, M. 57