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The Redux remastering is superb. As a performance this one has been an A-list keeper since it's release on golden age vinyl in 1956 stereo. (Plus a mono edition ... that's how new stereo was in those days) Though derived from original analogue sources few will complain about this edition. Soloist is Steven Staryk, a top-notch Canadian violinist whom Sir Thomas recruited to be Concertmaster of the Royal Philharmonic (Beecham's own hand-picked orchestra during his lifetime). My own ears tell me that nobody since Staryk has come close to equaling his high-flying fiddle work. Since I have never found documentation of exactly what fiddle Staryk was playing during this era, I cannot say what I think the physical instrument might have contributed to Staryk's beautiful music-making. The RPO does so well and is captured so well that only the best of surround sound recordings might dare to challenge this one as a benchmark. That of course would assume the surround sound challenge involves a world-class orchestra with a Concertmaster or other soloist plus a conductor, gifted enough and hard-working enough to pose any threat of being real competition. Herbert von Karajan in Berlin does a very good job in this music, though he is so different from the musicians on this Redux release that, as the old saying goes, 'Comparisons would be odious.' Just listen to the magical occasion at hand here, and let everyone else fade into the background for three-quarters of an hour. If you want to relish more of Staryk's uniquely persuasive solo work, check out his fiddling as Beecham's soloist for the golden age stereo release of Strauss' Ein Heldenleben. I believe Staryk has also released concerto recordings of Shostakovich and Prokofiev. Perhaps any attentive listener cannot avoid a wave of regret that Maestro Staryk was not asked to record a whole lot more of the extant fiddle repertoire. Thanks to all involved for making this special bechmark reading available in the best possible contemporary sonics.
This beautiful performance focuses on orchestral texture and clarity. Every detail comes through. The recording is absolutely amazing. The percussion has clean sharp transients, the brass has a beautiful forceful edge, the strings are present but not harsh, and most of all the harp parts are crystal clear. The dynamic range of this recording is very impressive. It is stunning how much information EMI captured in 1958!
Title: Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade symphonic suite
Artist(s): Sir Thomas Beecham Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Soloist, Violin – Steven Staryk
Recording Info: Recorded by EMI Records 1958
1 The Sea And Sinbad's Ship 10:04
2 The Story Of The Kalender Prince 12:02
3 The Young Prince And The Young Princess 10:42
4 The Festival Of Baghdad - The Sea - The Ship Goes To Pieces On A Rock Surmounted By A Bronze Warrior 12:51
Total Time: 45:41