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Classical - Released November 11, 2016 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released November 11, 2016 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released February 10, 2010 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released March 31, 2009 | Living Stereo

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Artur Rubinstein's classic performances of Chopin's piano concertos for RCA were digitally remastered for this 1986 reissue, and the transfer from the analog tapes is clean, while the pianist's presence and clarity are enhanced in the mix. Rubinstein's performances of the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, with Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and the New Symphony Orchestra of London, and the Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, with Alfred Wallenstein and the Symphony of the Air are perfectly delightful, if old-fashioned renditions, with a feeling of Romantic ardor and sentimentality held in check by the pianist's refined sense of proportions and elegance. Of course, with many excellent recordings available, this disc will be desired most by connoisseurs of historic recordings, but less so by fans of contemporary artists in all-digital recordings. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 23, 2007 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released January 23, 2007 | Living Stereo

The hybrid SACD format is ideal for reissuing RCA Red Seal's early two- and three-channel stereo recordings, and Charles Münch's vibrant recordings of Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor, "Unfinished," and the Symphony No. 9 in C major, "The Great," especially benefit from this state-of-the-art technology. Recorded in 1955 and 1958, respectively, these performances with the phenomenal Boston Symphony Orchestra sound magnificent with the spacious separation and the close simulation of a real orchestral environment made possible by DSD and multichannel remastering. Beyond the superb audio quality, these recordings are fascinating documents of Münch's elegant interpretations of Schubert. Known mostly as a conductor of the French Romantic repertoire, Münch was less closely associated with the Austro-Germanic symphonic literature, so his Schubert might seem a little outside the tradition, especially because of his lighter-than-air touch, elegant phrasing, fleet tempos, and utter avoidance of hysteria or bombast. The "Unfinished" is enjoyable for its refined dynamics and delicate sonorities, especially in the woodwinds; while "The Great" practically takes flight on its buoyant rhythms and seems quite propulsive in the Finale. This is the first time these performances have been paired in RCA's Living Stereo series, and the affordable reissue price puts this terrific matchup well within reach of classical beginners and budget-conscious connoisseurs. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 23, 2007 | Living Stereo

Even if you've already heard enough excellent recordings of Don Quixote or Don Juan, this RCA Living Stereo coupling with Fritz Reiner leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is highly recommended. Setting aside the Chicago's superlative musicianship and RCA's staggering sound, the sheer authority of Reiner's technically impeccable conducting all by itself would be enough to make the difference. Reiner truly believes in Strauss' music, and his almost shockingly confident direction is palpable. And while other cello soloists with more star power have taken on the role of Quixote, none have played it with more conviction. Interestingly, Reiner used different orchestral set-ups for each piece. In the 1954 Don Juan, Reiner divided the violins with the firsts on the left and the seconds on the right. In the 1959 Don Quixote, he adopted the modern manner of placing all the violins on the left. It is merely one sign of the excellence of RCA's Living Stereo sound that this change is immediately apparent. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 23, 2007 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released February 7, 2006 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released February 7, 2006 | Living Stereo

While by no means bad performances, the performances on Pops Caviar -- Russian Orchestral Fireworks are by no means good performances, either. They have, like Nietzsche's übermensch, transcended concepts like good and bad because they are, from conception to execution, pops performances, specifically, Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler performances. For listeners who don't immediately recall the series of pops recordings Fiedler made for RCA in the '50s and '60s with the Boston Symphony Orchestra re-named the Boston Pops Orchestra, the difference between the BSO and the BPO is not one of quality -- good, bad, or mediocre -- but of brow -- high, middle, or low. As the BPO demonstrates here in works by Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, and Khachaturian, this difference means the difference between clean, full strings and sweet, lush strings; between warmly characterful winds and colorfully blended winds; between clear, strong brass and big, bold brass; and, especially, between suave, polished percussion and gargantuan, bludgeoning percussion. In other words, the quality of the playing is still first-rate, but the quality is aimed at what used to be called a middle-brow audience, an audience that knew what it liked and what it liked was loud, colorful, and a bit sexy. Fiedler is a more than capable conductor who leads performances notable more for their excitement than for their subtly: listen to the brilliant balances in Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture or the driven tempos in Borodin's Polovetsian Dances. These are the performances to get if you're looking for excitement and thrills, but if you're looking for performances with as much excitement but more subtlety, try Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra's recordings on Philips. Gergiev believes in the quality of Borodin's gloriously lyrical melodies and Rimsky-Korsakov's incandescent colors, and his recordings are as thrilling as performances as they are compelling as interpretations. RCA's remastering of the original living stereo sound reproduces the flash of the LPs, but lacks some of the depth. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 7, 2006 | Living Stereo

RCA's Living Stereo LPs of the 1950s represent something akin to the moon shots of the following decade: technological achievements that have still not been equaled, almost 50 years later in the case of this 1958 recording. They were engineering accomplishments above all, and they evoke an era when good old American know-how was widely admired. The photo of Virgil Fox on the cover of this album fits the concept; he seems almost scientific in his frameless eyeglasses. And this music shows off the RCA sound at its very best. The organ, too, is American; it is the Aeolian-Skinner instrument at Riverside Church in New York, a sonic spectacular that merited its own section of the liner notes (the original text of which is reproduced in the booklet). Not a glimmer of sound issuing forth from its pipes escaped the reach of producer John Pfeiffer and his equipment (not even what sounds like a truck driving past the church at one point). It is quite characteristically 1950s-American of the notes to complain of the paucity of great organ music written "while the pipe-organ was in its most vigorous stage of development technically," and what happens musically is that the Baroque selections are amped-up to meet the specifications. Fox's Bach is very appealing in its sheer towering sound, but a bit overdone in its too-varied articulation (as if the music were being earnestly explained to us), accelerandos, multi-octave doublings, and big, 1950s-movie moments of sentiment. As we get closer to our own time, things improve; a Canon in B minor by Robert Schumann has a whiz-kid impatience that Fox catches nicely, and the famous Pomp and Circumstance march by Edward Elgar (the one played for graduations and weddings) is included as a bonus track; it was recorded during the original session but never released. With the Toccata from the Symphony No. 5 for organ in F minor, Op. 42, and with Henri Mulet's Thou Art the Rock, which were written with extreme organs in mind, things really get rocking. Invite your friends over, fire up your Super Audio CD player, and pump up the volume. You'll shake not only your house, but the whole damn zip code. Maybe it all was, like the Apollo space program (which at its height consumed 4.4 percent of the entire national budget of the United States), all a bit too much. But if you're in search of five-star sound with which to challenge good speakers or headphones, here it is -- and give the reissue team an extra asterisk for a superb CD transfer. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 7, 2006 | Living Stereo

This is not exactly the Mario Lanza "best-of" album its title might imply; it consists of recordings made during the last 18 months of the great crossover tenor's life, when he was beginning to suffer serious effects from the health problems that killed him in the fall of 1959. Still, it's hard to hear much of an effect from those problems -- a diminution of sheer vocal power in the selections from Rudolf Friml's musical The Vagabond King that make up the second half of the disc, perhaps, but no loss of the singer's broad, generous lyric impulse. Lanza was an operatic star who never quite got the chance to be an opera star. He took the lead role in the biopic The Great Caruso and sang Italian songs like those heard on the first half of the disc, but substance abuse brought him down just as he was preparing a sustained effort to reach the operatic stage. It's hard to imagine a career like his flourishing in the present day: there's plenty of crossover music, certainly, but no place in the pop world for a singer with a big Italian voice. After you hear this album, you'll feel that's a shame. The Neapolitan songs that open the disc are period pieces; a few of them have cheesy wordless backing choruses and odd arrangements with extended harmonies, drawn from the language of musical comedy, that don't quite fit. Still, they're nothing less than irresistible. On the Vagabond King selections, a few unreleased tracks from soprano Judith Raskin are added to make a rough outline of the whole show. The opening "Drinking Song" may cause one to wish that Lanza hadn't been so quick to affirm that "a flagon of wine will do." But sample the "Nocturne" and see if you don't agree that it's one of the great love serenades on records. RCA's Living Stereo sound was a major engineering accomplishment in the beginning, and the SACD remastering here is stupendous -- as good as it gets. Every bit of orchestral detail is there in total clarity. Check this album out and learn why an operatic singer was once at the top of the pop charts. © Rovi Staff /TiVo
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Classical - Released February 3, 2006 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released February 3, 2006 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released February 3, 2006 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released February 3, 2006 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released July 26, 2005 | Living Stereo