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Old January 10th, 2021, 8:22 PM
ATL ATL is offline
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Wow. Where to begin?
I have 5 recordings of the Saint-Saens. I decided to dig out my other TELARC version, which is RPO/Badea w/Murray as soloist, for a listen. About 10-11 years newer than the Ormandy. The orch was recorded in London, and the organ in Florida. Normally I would shy away from such things. But I re-listened to it tonight, and have to say I might put it 1st or 2nd in my list of the S-S. It comes in 1st-Place as far as the descending scale from 16' C (32 Hz) to 32' low-C (16 Hz) at the end of the finale. I listened to it with mains muted and unmuted, and it is clear as a bell. Louder and clearer than any of my 5 versions. The recording itself is far and beyond better than the Ormandy 10 years prior as far as sonics and performance. I'm sure recording techniques & equipment improved between 1980 and 1990. It is also the most deliberate (slow) of my 5 versions. A full 2 minutes slower than the Ormandy. Out of my 5 versions, Ormandy takes the first half the fastest, while the RPO/Badea takes it slowest. And it works better. The 5th version I have, not already mentioned in this thread, is LPO recorded in Royal Festival Hall, London (LPO Label - 2014). Unfortunately, it is recorded live in concert and is a little disappointing in the bass department. The second-half of the symphony is also the fastest out of my 5, making it feel very rushed.
I know what you mean about the SFSO version, and believe the DSO on Dorian is a little better. (The Dorian also includes the Jongen Concertante, making it the better all-around option IMO. But it may be better sonically as well.)
Speaking of the Dorian, there's another must-have demo-CD recorded in the Dallas symphony hall if you don't have it. "Pomp & Pipes" with Dallas Wind Symphony conducted by Fennell. It's on Reference Recordings (1994). It is band and organ, and I cannot even listen to it at normal levels for the bass energy from bass drum and organ pedals. I'm pretty sure the facade pipes in that organ are 32-feet. See below.
And, speaking of Crystal Cathedral, I had the 2 direct-to-disc recordings Virgil Fox made there in the late-70's/early-80's. I don't think I still have them, but of course have the CDs now.
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