SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

FELIX MENDELSSOHN: Symphony No. 3 in A minor, “Scottish” – Vienna Philharmonic/ Gustavo Dudamel – vinyl

VIVA vinyl!

Published on August 15, 2012

FELIX MENDELSSOHN: Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 “Scottish” - Vienna Philharmonic/ Gustavo Dudamel – live recording -  DGG Charity vinyl LP ****:

“…the proceeds from the sale of this exclusive vinyl release will go towards the purchase of new instruments for Núcleo San Vicente, part of Venezuela’s  music education programme El Sistema.”

This performance marks the first Vienna Philharmonic LP-only release in over two decades. It is quite special. “If God had an ‘official orchestra’ it would be the Vienna Philharmonic”. So I was told over fifty years ago; now I understand. I have heard the VPO at several concert halls in the Eastern US, but never until now in the fabled acoustic of the Musikverein Golden Hall, their “home court”.

The 33 1/3 RPM recording of the VPO, conducted by the Venezuelan wunderkind LA Philharmonic Music Director, Gustavo Dudamel, presents the impeccable sound and musicality of the orchestra guided by the lyricism and passion of the conductor.  Recorded live in the Golden Hall by DGG in 2011, DGG tonmeisters remember well how to celebrate the glory of vinyl.

The Mendelssohn Third was the last completed of his five “mature” symphonies. Inspired by Mendelssohn’s trip to Edinburgh in 1829, it was finally introduced at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in 1842. The symphony is in four movements: It contains a “Fingal’s cave”-like opening movement, a buoyant scherzo, a lovely adagio with episodic march-like character and a finale which Mendelssohn referred to as Allegro guerriero (a warlike allegro). Dudamel takes the measure of this music with passion and precision and the great orchestra seems to be having a rollicking good time. The 180gr. vinyl pressing runs just under forty minutes and is on sale at several on-line resources in the US. This is a gorgeous representation of the Vienna Philharmonic. Lovely music, extremely well played. As noted, the proceeds will help fund El Sistema, whose most celebrated alumnus is Gustavo Dudamel.

Dust off your turntables (if you still have them), check out the current roster of phono cartridges and styli (if you haven’t tended to your turntable in a while), and enjoy the special musical experience of listening to “God’s orchestra” on vinyl— with sound as you usually haven’t heard (or felt) on a standard CD.

Ronald Legum




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