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View Poll Results: How do you rate the City of Prague Philharmonic's playing?

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Thread: What is your opinion of the City of Prague Philharmonic?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Gordontrek's Avatar
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    Default What is your opinion of the City of Prague Philharmonic?

    The City of Prague Philharmonic under Nic Raine has recorded an astounding amount of film music. Often they are the only orchestra to have re-recorded a classic soundtrack. If you have even a remote interest in film music chances are you've run across this group.
    I own several of their albums, and listen to others frequently online. I have to say, though, that I find them to be the least impressive "mainstream" orchestra of any that I've heard. They have a shrill brass section which, along with their woodwinds, often has terrible intonation. This isn't to say that nothing they ever do is good- some of it actually isn't half bad- but generally, I find their performing standard to be quite disappointing. Here are some examples:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZzYIym689U
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PThUL_CaeA

    The first is plagued with poor intonation and laggy tempo, while the second is full of poor woodwind playing and only slightly-better brass playing. Their horns and high woodwinds especially are often the culprits.
    Now check out the same pieces played by Erich Kunzel's Cincinnati Pops:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45KAjt7v4t4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLwCYSlGcZo

    Not even close. In fact, every time I've compared these two orchestras (which are perhaps the two most prolific recorders of film music) on recordings of the same piece, the Cincinnati Pops just blows them out of the water every time.
    I have other examples of their lackluster playing, and other Cincinnati Pops recordings to compare if anyone wants them.

    What's your opinion of the CPP? Personally, while I find their playing to be sub-standard compared to other orchestras, I'm willing to grin and bear it, because again, they're often the only modern orchestra to have re-recorded many classic film scores.
    Last edited by Gordontrek; Aug-14-2017 at 00:42.
    "May God have mercy on my enemies, because I won't." - George S. Patton

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    Senior Member Antiquarian's Avatar
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    I think they are o.k. I have their James Bond set, that has a lot of music difficult to find anywhere else, but my assessment is pretty close to your own. It's hard to beat that Telarc sound!
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    Senior Member geralmar's Avatar
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    I don't want to be too harsh on the City of Prague Orchestra-- they have capably recorded some otherwise prohibitively expensive or impossible to find movie music-- so I will just say that as long as they aren't pressed too hard they are perfectly respectable. If a real test is wanted, however, I suggest comparing their recording of Henry Mancini's Lifeforce Theme ("Space and Beyond"/Silva Screen) with the Cincinnati Pops version ("Star Tracks II"/Telarc). The Prague orchestra sounds tentative against Cincinnati. However, both orchestras sound like mud compared to the razor-sharp playing of the London Symphony Orchestra in the original soundtrack recording (Varese-Sarabande). The London Symphony is a true movie soundtrack orchestra. The other two, besides being inferior orchestras, sound exactly like symphony orchestras trying to play movie music-- too "inhibited" and proper. (Interestingly, the next best recording after the London Symphony is the unnamed orchestra conducted by Richard Haymen in a Mancini collection on an old Naxos CD). All my own opinions, of course.

    The London Symphony:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gIbhpGcRlm0
    Last edited by geralmar; May-31-2018 at 03:36.

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    At best, their okay. For me, anyway. There have been a number of recordings where I feel that they're not really feeling the energy of the piece, or they're making blatant mistakes when it comes to getting the rhythm of some parts right. I've never been a fan of the acoustic quality of the recordings either, because I feel like the orchestra sounds a little too 'fat'. If you can get their recordings cheaply, they're good to listen back to once a year or so. I do have their recording of Rozsa's "El Cid" and I'm very impressed with it so it's not all bad. But, generally I'm not too impressed.

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