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Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - Ančerl

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - Ančerl

Columbia x Tower Records  TWSA-1054

Stereo Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet - excerpts

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Karel Ančerl (conductor)

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Comment by Tony Reif - February 8, 2019 (1 of 3)

Romeo and Juliet (1959) is another Ancerl classic ("...what this recording has that no other even approaches is an expressionistic emotional intensity that raises the music to the level of Shakespeare’s tragedy. – David Hurwitz, Classics Today). Pictures (1968) is also really enjoyable, with plenty of character and the lovely rhythmic pointing that Ancerl is famous for getting from the CPO's winds. And the sound? Some historical allowances have to be made. I don't have the CDs to compare, but these Tower Ancerls are all DSD transfers from the master tapes, so this is as good as it's going to get. But R&J is somewhat coarse, not helped at climaxes by the way the micing allows the Rudolfinum's notorious resonance to overpower things (something the Supraphon engineers got under control only incrementally). On the plus side, it's a big, mostly well-balanced sound that's also capable of delicacy, and has a pretty coherent stereo image and some sense of depth and space. It's certainly much better than what the Russians were doing at the time. Pictures has better definition and more powerful bass, and just sounds more high-res. 78 minutes of pleasure!

Comment by STEVEN J DEMENA - May 9, 2019 (2 of 3)

Hi,
Did you compare the CD layer to the SACD layer?

Comment by Tony Reif - May 10, 2019 (3 of 3)

I just listened to the first two sections of Pictures at an Ex. The CD layer sounds quite good until you listen to the SACD layer. As you'd expect, it has more of everything that audiophiles value: ambiance, space, instrumental texture and detail, and (I think) better dynamics. It turns a good performance into one that gives real pleasure, that's sensuous and exciting. And that's with the CD layer being upconverted by my Marantz to DSD256. But you can't make up for what isn't there.