SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

GEORGE GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue; Concerto in F; An American in Paris; Var. on “I Got Rhythm; Cuban Overture – Earl Wild, piano/ Boston Pops Orch./ Arthur Fiedler – RCA Red Seal Living Stereo

Sparkling and fully-packed Gershwin collection in three-channel sound as originally recorded.

Published on June 30, 2005

GEORGE GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue; Concerto in F; An American in Paris; Var. on “I Got Rhythm; Cuban Overture – Earl Wild, piano/ Boston Pops Orch./ Arthur Fiedler – RCA Red Seal Living Stereo

GEORGE GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue; Concerto in F; An American in Paris; Variations on “I Got Rhythm;” Cuban Overture – Earl Wild, piano/Boston Pops Orch./ Arthur Fiedler – RCA Red Seal Living Stereo multichannel (3-channel front only) SACD 82876-61393-2, 79:22 ****:

A fully-packed hi-res program originally recorded on three-track tapes in 1959 and 1961.  The original performances were spread out on two separate LPs, and even the later CD transfers omitted the Cuban Overture which is here restored.  The stereo mix is also included on this SACD, but as with all the Living Stereo SACD series, there is no signal on the surround channels.  All three of the works involving the piano benefit from the three-channel reproduction, playing Wild’s piano solidly in the center of the soundstage and extending the orchestral soundstage both left to right and in depth.

All of these selections have been standards of Gershwin performances
ever since they were first issued on vinyl. Wild has a great feel for
the Gershwin idiom and swings it more than do many other concert
pianists. The Concerto in F – in my estimation Gershwin’s finest work
aside from Porgy and Bess -  is a gripping and thrilling musical
ride for its entire half-hour length. Everything is audiophile-level
sonically.  Perhaps mint editions of the original LPs on the
finest turntable could surpass some of the qualities of  “air” and
natural realism in these recordings, but to my ears the addition of the
center channel  fills out the orchestral picture more fully than
any two-channel vinyl could achieve (if you have three well-matched
front speakers).

—John Sunier




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