"Sensationally recorded. The best-sounding Ring on CD to date, bar none" Gramophone
“Vivid performances . . . and first-rate recorded sound
make for a thoroughly enjoyable hour of listening.” (Gramophone: Ned Rorem Symphonies - Josť Serebrier/BSO)
does what surround sound should: supply ambient, atmospheric information from the rear of the hall without in any
way 'pulling' the frontal image. … It is a first-rate example of how multi-channel recording can provide
a more lifelike experience." (Gramophone: Sibelius/Sinding Violin Concerti - Engeset/BSO)
recordings of Stokowski’s technicolor spectaculars . . . outstanding
performances by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, brilliantly recorded
in sound if anything even more spectacular and more cleanly focused than that on the discs from Chandos and DG.”
(Gramophone: Mussorgsky-Stokowski Transcriptions - Josť Serebrier/BSO)
In addition to the GRAMMY nominations listed above, Phil also edited one of this year's GRAMMY nominations
for Best Classical Album (William Bolcom's 'Songs of Innocence and Experience'), Best Choral Performance ('Songs of Innocence and Experience'), and Best Orchestral Performance (Mussorgsky/Stokowski transcriptions with Josť Serebrier
and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra).
MUSSORGSKY-STOKOWSKI: Pictures at an Exhibition; Entr'acte from Khovanshchina; Night on Bare Mountain; Symphonic
Synthesis of Boris Godunov; TCHAIKOVSKY-STOKOWSKI: Humoresque; Solitude; STOKOWSKI: Traditional Slavic Christmas Music - Bournemouth
Symphony Orchestra/ Josť Serebrier - Naxos Multichannel SACD 6.110101, 76:47 *****:
Several of the classical
labels have been issuing a new CD version of an album and then a couple weeks or months later the enhanced SACD version.
I haven't looked forward to the hi-res release quite as much as with this Naxos disc. I even mentioned in my original review
- which you should read first - that this must be on the list for future SACD release (I hadn't been informed yet that it
was). I already gave it five stars in the standard CD version since the sonics were so spectacular, but if I hadn't
already selected a Multichannel Disc of the Month, this one would also be it in its SACD iteration.
It didn't win a
Grammy Wednesday night but it should have. The engineer was Phil Rowlands - keep that name in mind. I don't know the finer
points or aspects of Stokowski's arrangements which Josť Serebrier retained in these recordings and what he modified or eliminated
as being musically gauche or corny. I just know they have a cumulative effect in raising the excitement level of these classics.
There have been a number of transcriptions of The Great Gate of Kiev finale of Pictures - including as part of the entire
Pictures played by the amazing guitarist Yamaguchi. In fact just a few weeks ago the pianist and organist in our church did
a smashing duo transcription of the Great Gate as the Postlude! Well, the Mussorgsky-Stokowski-Serebrier version bests
them all! The added bells in the orchestral onslaught are especially nice.
It takes some effort to surpass the
excellent sound on the CD level, but the increased transparency, impact, and sense of being in the auditorium with the orchestra
on the multichannel SACD are unmatched. Hearing the entire disc again made me realize the primary item of interest for me
is not the Pictures but the rarely-heard Symphonic Synthesis of Boris Godunov. It's in the vein of those "Opera Without
Words" collections, but so much more integrated and reworked into an effective symphonic composition. Made me want to get
out my video DVD of the complete Boris, which I have never watched beginning to end, and perhaps I won't fall asleep on it
this time... Don't miss this super-audiophile masterpiece - whether you are SACD-capable or not!