BERLIOZ: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14. TCHAIKOVSKY: Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a.
Cleveland Orch/Lorin Maazel, cond.
TELARC SACD 60650 ) (2 channel) TT: 69:27

TCHAIKOVSKY: 1812 Overture, Op. 49. Capriccio Italien, Op. 45. Cossak Dance from Mazeppa. GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue. An American in Paris.
Eugene List, pianist; Cincinnati Symphony Orch/Erich Kunzel, cond.
TELARC SACD 60646) (2 channel) TT: 69:19

COPLAND: Appalachian Spring Suite. Fanfare for the Common Man. Rodeo excerpts. HINDEMITH: Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber.
Atlanta Symphony Orch/Louis Lane, cond. (Copland); Robert Shaw, cond. (Hindemith)
TELARC SACD 60648 ) (2 channel) TT: 64:38

Telarc is releasing some of their famous earlier recordings in SACD format; three were reviewed previously on this site (REVIEW). Now here are three more releases, all sonic block-busters for the label, in generous super-quality remasterings. Maazel's fine Fantastique is complemented by the Nutcracker Suite, Kunzel's famous 1812Overture includes the two Gershwin works, and Louis Lane's Copland collection generously includes Robert Shaw's Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis. These disks are full-price, and have all been processed utilizing Direct Stream Digital (DSD) technology which enables the sound of master recordings to be exactly duplicated. Let it be understood that although these are SACDs, they are not surround sound. You will hear music only from left and right front speakers. As Telarc did not record three-channel (the third being the center channel) there is none. If you play these disks on your SACD player you will hear high-quality SACD playback; if you play them on a regular CD player you will hear the alternate regular CD sound.

On all of these sound quality is of demonstration quality although on all of them more hall sound would have been welcome except for Maazel's Nutcracker which was recorded in Cleveland's Masonic Auditorium April 6, 1981, and has a richer sound than the Fantastique which was recorded in Severance Hall May 10, 1982. Kunzel's 1978 1812 Overture is known primarily for its overdone cannon, which resound here more vividly than ever before, which doesn't help the lacklustre performance—although it is superior to the conductor's second version (made 1998-99) which included a chorus as well. The late Robert Shaw recorded the Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis in November 1980, a year before Louis Lane's fine Copland recordings were made — but surely they were not made in Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis as stated in the credits.

R.E.B. (November 2004)