Prokofiev - Alexander Nevsky, Mussorgsky - Ravel - Pictures at an Exhibition - Thomas Schippers, New York Philharmonic - 1962, 1965, 2003 (SACD-R, ISO)

Prokofiev – Alexander Nevsky, Mussorgsky – Ravel – Pictures at an Exhibition – Thomas Schippers, New York Philharmonic – 1962, 1965, 2003 (SACD-R, ISO)

Composer: Sergei Prokofiev, Modest Mussorgsky
Orchestra: New York Philharmonic
Conductor: Thomas Schippers
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1 SACD-R
Format: ISO
Bit Depth: 64(2.8 MHz/1 Bit)
Number of channels: 5.1, 2.0
Label: Sony
Size: 4.89 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes
Server: datafile

Prokofiev / Прокофьев : Alexander Nevsky Cantata / Александр Невский
Mussorgsky / Мусоргский – Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition / Картинки с выставки
Thomas Schippers / New York Philharmonic

Прокофьев: Александр Невский, кантата для меццо-сопрано, хора и оркестра, соч. 78
Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky, cantata for mezzo-soprano, chorus & orchestra, Op. 78:

01. Русь под игом монгольским – Russia Under the Mongolian Years
02. Песня об Александре Невском – Song About Alexander Nevsky
03. Крестоносцы во Пскове – The Crusaders in Pskov
04. Вставайте, люди русские – Arise, Ye Russian People
05. Ледовое побоище – The Battle On The Ice
06. Мертвое поле – The Field Of the Dead
07. Вьезд Александра во Псков – Alexander’s Entry into Pskov

Мусоргский: Картинки с выставки (оркестровка Равеля)
Mussorgsky-Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition

08. Прогулка – Promenade
09. Гном – Gnomus
10. Прогулка – Promenade
11. Старинный замок – Il vecchio castello
12. Прогулка – Promenade
13. Тюильрийский сад (Ссора детей после игры) – Tuileries
14. Быдло – Bydlo
15. Прогулка – Promenade
16. Балет невылупившихся птенцов – Ballet of the Chicks in Their Shells
17. Два еврея, богатый и бедный – Samuel Goldenburg and Schmuyle
18. Лимож. Рынок (Большая новость) – The Marketplace at Limoges
19. Катакомбы (Римская гробница) – Catacombae, sepulchrum romanum
20. С мертвыми на мертвом языке – Con mortuis in lingua mortua
21. Избушка на курьих ножках – The Hut on Fowl’s Legs
22. Богатырские ворота (в стольном городе во Киеве) – The Great Gate at Kiev

Thomas Schippers conducts the New York Philharmonic in two Russian showpieces.

Thomas Schippers had a sadly short career, but these recordings show his art at the best. The Nevsky is from 1962, while the Pictures is from 1965. The sources are not entirely clear, but both were likely 3-track recordings, and both have been redone in surround for this release. Please note that this ISO is a dual-layer disc.

Reviews from Classics Today (9 Performance / 8 Sound)

I don’t understand Sony. Thomas Schippers’ recording of Alexander Nevsky is terrific; it has enjoyed a reasonably large following over the years, and an excellent new transfer to CD would be welcome. So why, given the time and expense Sony seems willing to accept in remastering the performance for release as an SACD, does the label not simply release it as a multichannel/stereo hybrid so that the vast majority of folks who don’t own SACD players–or couldn’t care less–have the option of purchasing the disc and enjoying it too? It makes absolutely no sense.

That said, if you do have SACD capability you will enjoy these performances very much, both for the crack playing of the New York Philharmonic and for Schippers’ conducting, which among other things features a rip-roaring Battle on the Ice in the cantata and one of the grandest of all versions of The Great Gate of Kiev from Pictures at an Exhibition. The remastering focuses the sound a bit too much in the center channel, but it’s not anything as bad (for example) as Chandos’ first batch of SACDs (which sounded like mono!), and it’s head and shoulders above any sonics that these performances have enjoyed previously. It’s just a pity that the vast majority of music lovers have been denied the opportunity to get reacquainted with these well-loved readings in their latest form.

Review from Classic CD Review

Here’s another winner from Sony, Prokofiev’s cantata recorded Feb. 18, 1961, and Pictures recorded Jan. 11, 1965, all analog recordings made, fortunately, in the warmth of Manhattan Center. As with the Boulez Bartók, these were recorded in quad, with spectacular results. Richard King is listed as “sound mix engineer,” Woody Pornpitaksuk as “DSD Authoring Engineer,” a job I’ve never heard of before. Sound is splendid, with solid bass not suggested by LP issues of either of these performances. Schippers, then at the peak of his short-lived career, leads a magnificent performance of the Prokofiev and a virtuoso reading of Mussorgsky’s colorful trip through the gallery. Highly recommended – HOWEVER, this is a super audio multi-channel recording and can be played only on an SACD player. I don’t understand why Sony didn’t make this a hybrid SACD disk with high-quality stereo channels as well as multi-channel information. [PB note: there is a stereo SACD track – the disc was not a hybrid because it would not have fit on one SACD unless done as dual-layer]

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