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Janacek: Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba - Ančerl

Janacek: Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba - Ančerl

Columbia x Tower Records  TWSA-1053

Stereo Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Janacek: Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba
Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms

Czech Philharmonic Chorus
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Karel Ančerl (conductor)

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2 of 2 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

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Comment by Tony Reif - February 8, 2019 (1 of 9)

If you love Janacek you'll want to hear the Sinfonietta and Taras Bulba in high-res, because these are the reference performances of these wonderful pieces, against which all others are measured. David Hurwitz extols their many virtues at Classics Today, and even opines that the Sinfonietta is the best-SOUNDING recording ever. Since then we've had, for one, the Gardner/Bergen SACDs, and these 1961 recordings could never approach their clarity and impact in, for example, the magnificent finale of Taras (a piece Gardner conducts particularly well). But taken on their own terms they are certainly effective enough to do justice to Ancerl's commanding yet humane vision and the glorious playing of the CPO. Compared to the Ancerl Edition remaster, the Sinfonietta is much brighter and reveals quite a lot more detail; it feels truer to the master tape. This is a gripping, edge-of-your seat experience, whereas the CD sounds toned-down, more comfortable - but these are wild, pagan, mythic works, and the sound here works for them. If they had been recorded a couple of years later they would likely have been less etched, more refined and spacious, like the great work the same engineer, Miroslav Kulhan, did on the Shostakovich 1 in 1964. His recording of the Symphony of Psalms, from 1966, is not quite on that level, but it's good, and the performance is very much worth hearing. Still, I would have preferred some Martinu...

Comment by hiredfox - February 17, 2019 (2 of 9)

Hi Tony

Where did you buy it?

John

Comment by Tony Reif - February 18, 2019 (3 of 9)

From Tower, through Buyee. Here's how it works. Go to tower.jp, search on Janacek Ancerl SACD, copy the catalog # (TWSA-1053 in this case), then click on the Buyee link at the top of the page, go to the Buyee website and search on the cat# to find the item. Now you can purchase it from Buyee. Once Buyee receives your order from Tower they will notify you so that you can pay them for overseas shipping via EMS or another option. Make sure you choose their "light" shipping service, which is free.

Comment by hiredfox - February 19, 2019 (4 of 9)

Thanks Tony.

Those old Supraphon LP's from the Czech Republic were simply outstanding and often far superior to the standard UK pressings of the day. I don't have this one but "Ma Vlast" is a regularly spun favourite of this household.

OK, even SACD doesn't reproduce the atmosphere and emotion of performance as convincingly as that conveyed by good vinyl pressings but from your comments this disc may be the next best thing.

Comment by hiredfox - February 25, 2019 (5 of 9)

I was able to order the disc through CDJapan who use a proxy service to source from outside their usual supplier list. At least they do it all in English. I couldn't make head nor tail of the Buyee link as a non-Japanese speaking numb-skull!

Cost including all charges was £24 and this is a good alternative sourcing route for those wishing to buy.

Comment by Tony Reif - March 2, 2019 (6 of 9)

If you use Chrome to translate the various web pages it's pretty clear.

Comment by hiredfox - April 6, 2019 (7 of 9)

Spot on assessment and recommendation Tony, one of the best SACD transfers out there and a worthy reproduction of the vinyl sound. Huge three dimensional soundstage and dynamic range to match. Not cheap 'though, price coupled with import duty charges make this a luxury lunatic fringe purchase but thoroughly recommendable.

Comment by Tony Reif - April 6, 2019 (8 of 9)

Hey John, glad to hear it sounds so good through your speakers - I always wonder how well my impressions listening through the Stax 009s will correlate. As for price, these Tower Supraphons are quite a lot less expensive than new DG SHM-SACDs, and if you order through Buyee you don't pay for shipping from Tower or any handling/packing charge (if you choose Buyee's "light" option). Btw 3 more Ancerls are being released on April 10, including Stravinsky (Rite, Petruchka) and Barok's Concerto for Orchestra along with Dvorak's Hussite Overture and Night on Bare Mountain. All engineered by Frantisek Burda rather than Miroslav Kulhan, who recorded these pieces and who was IMO the better engineer. I've ordered them anyway and will report back.

Comment by hiredfox - April 7, 2019 (9 of 9)

Tony, I have Summit X electrostatic hybrids with huge Krell power behind them and believe me the brass fanfare that opens Taras Bulba shattered my ear-drums with their sonic intensity, just as uncomfortable as the real thing but hugely enjoyable.