Monday, April 10, 2006

Audiophilia: Naxos' Brahms Symphony No. 1 / Marin Alsop SACD

BRAHMS: Symphony No. 1 in C Minor; Tragic Overture; Academic Festival Overture - London Philharmonic Orchestra/Marin Alsop - multichannel SACD - Naxos.

see: Audiophile Audition's review

Audiophile Audition loved this SACD both for Marin Alsop's direction of the London Philharmonic and for its audiophile recording quality.

I am a Brahms neophyte and haven't had enough time to really absorb the performance yet, so I can't comment on that aspect of the disc. I will update this review when I've properly considered the performance.

I can however strongly disagree with Audiophile Audition's glowing review of the audio qualities of the recording. The recording may be excellent, but I find the recording technique to be very unsatisfying. The microphones seem to be placed so far from the orchestra that the overall impression is rather broad and almost completely lacking in detail. Certain instruments are clearly to the rear or far sides of the orchestra and as a result come through only in distant, muddled tones.

I don't have many full orchestra recordings to compare this to, but Naxos' approach on this disc is very disappointing. Naxos apparently has a reputation for poor recording quality which this disc was supposed to refute. It's possible that I just prefer more closely-mic'ed recordings or small ensembles, so take this with a grain of salt.

Performance: tbd
Recording: Not Recommended


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