Surround Franck - Symphony in D Minor, Stravinsky - Petrouchka - Pierre Monteux (1959,1961, 2005) SACD-R multichannel music

Categories: Classical Music Surround Music
Franck - Symphony in D Minor, Stravinsky - Petrouchka - Pierre Monteux (1959,1961, 2005) SACD-R
Artist: Franck | Album: Symphony in D Minor, Stravinsky - Petrouchka - Pierre Monteux | Released: 1959,1961, 2005 | Quality: SACD-R ( DST 2.0, 5.0 2,8224 MHz ) | Label: US - Living Stereo | Catalog #: 82876-67897-2 | Genre: Classical Music

From a still unfinished review of the latest batch of RCA Living Stereo SACD reissues, this disc comes out a clear winner (much like the Munch recording of the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony before that). It is astonishing to listen to a 1961 recording (with the CSO) and be completely enveloped with acoustic felicity… and that’s not yet mentioning a white-hot performance that has, arguably, not been bettered yet. The coupling is worthy, too: From the conductor who led the premiere, you get a driving, pulsating Petrouchka performance with the BSO – and the sound is nearly as good as well – rivaling many recordings made in the decades since.

Two classic Living Stereo recordings that were originally each limited to a single LP, but it does seem a bit surprising to find them as hi-res disc mates. The connection is obviously that Monteux conducted both recordings, though with 2 different orchestras. Ah, this was back in those sunny days when our major symphony orchestras were recording frequently. And for U.S. record labels too.
Monteux had been conducting the famous Franck symphony almost since he started on the podium – only a few years after the composer had premiered the work. Monteux’s 78s of the Symphony with the San Francisco Symphony were standards in that era. This stereo taping happened in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall in 1961, with the Stravinsky recorded in Boston in l959.
The Franck work, a textbook example of his cyclical theme construction, seemed at least some years ago to serve as the introduction to the classical symphony for many 1st-time classical listeners. I remember as a young man tapesponding (like emails today only with a tape recorder & little 3-inch reels of tape you sent back & forth in the mail) with a fellow audio buff elsewhere in the country. He was very excited on one tape about the new record he was digging by “Cesear Frank and His Symphony!”
I compared a Classic Records vinyl reissue of the Franck with the SACD. It was a huge improvement over the 2-channel SACD mix, displaying more clarity & depth of soundstage. But the 3-channel SACD brought the hi-res optical disc ahead of the LP. However, the disc is marred by being crudely lopped off at the conclusion well before the ambience dies away. Could it be the last foot or 2 of the master tape (they’re always stored tails out) became damaged or completely lost in recent years? The LP doesn’t suffer from this.
The BSO Petrouchka recording was a revelation in 3-channel SACD. Never have I heard such precise spatial location of all the soloists & instrumental groupings. Stravinsky’s scoring is often very chamber-music-like, which helps. The sad tale of Petrouchka is so clearly discerned in the very programmatic score that you can almost visualize the poor little fellow in your mind’s eye.
John Sunier
Cesar Franck (1822-1890)

Symphony in D Minor

1. Lento
2. Allegro
3. Allegro Non Troppo

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)


Scene I: The Shrove-Tide Fair
4. Vivace
5. The Magic Trick
6. Russian Dance

7. Scene II: Petrouchka's Room

Scene III: The Moor's Room
8. Feroce Stringendo
9. Dance Of The Ballerina
10. Valse

Scene IV: The Fair Toward Evening
11. Con Moto
12. Wet Nurses' Dance
13. Peasant With Bear
14. Gypsies
15. Dance Of The Coachmen
16. Masqueraders
17. Scuffle
18. Death Of Petrouchka
19. Petrouchka's Ghost

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