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Thread: For Sale: Antonin Dvořák – Symphony No 9 in E minor Op 95,

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    Default For Sale: Antonin Dvořák – Symphony No 9 in E minor Op 95,

    Antonin Dvořák – Symphony No 9 in E minor Op 95,
    As you have never before heard it. As it should be heard.

    Presumably, like me, you already have a CD of the Symphony No 9 by Antonin Dvořák.
    However, I doubt that you listen to it very often.
    There are literally hundreds of different recordings. Some, where the playing is excellent. Some, where the recording is excellent. Some, where both playing and recording are excellent. There are others where both playing and recording are totally unacceptable.
    However, whenever I listen to one particular recording it is like hearing the piece for the first time - every time.
    There are no dramatic changes of tempo, no extremes of any sort, just a perfect performance and a perfect recording. It is like looking at a painting after restoration.
    It is profoundly Czech, why would it not be? It is played by a Czech Orchestra and conducted by a true, Czech giant.
    Once, whilst travelling on tour with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra in the UK I was asked what BRNO signified, was it perhaps the British Railways Northern Orchestra? And that was a serious suggestion.
    To the English ear it is a strange sounding name, Brno. Probably not many appreciate that Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, the capital of Moravia. It is just a short journey north of Vienna, in fact nearer to Vienna than to Prague. Now we have all heard of Prague.
    The Brno Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the largest in Europe. It is one of only three orchestras ever to have played for the Pope - now he’s fussy.
    I once heard the Czech Philharmonic performing Dvořák’s Stabat Matter in Prague. The following evening I heard the same work performed by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra in Brno. To my surprise I enjoyed the second performance more than the first. The conductor, Antonio Ross Marba, directed both performances, so a difference in style wasn’t the reason. The Czech Philharmonic is of course a wonderful Orchestra, one of the greatest in the world; the point is that the Brno Orchestra should be considered in the same category.
    The Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, with their principal conductor, Jiři Waldhans gave a performance of Dvořák’s 9th Symphony in the Royal Festival Hall on the 22nd October 1966. If was a live, public performance on the very first tour of the UK by the orchestra. The concert was also recorded and the recording technique employed was CNSTR. What is that? Certified, natural, sound, technique recording; (more below).
    The string section, on that historic occasion, constituted of: 16 first violins, 16 second, 16 violas, 16 cellos and 8 double basses, with a normal compliment of woodwind, brass and percussion. A full, Symphony Orchestra indeed.

    The opening pp bars of the first movement set the scene, controlled and electrifying. Then the French Horns brief comment followed by the woodwind, responding with heart-rending clarity, as if drifting across a calm lake.
    The calm is then broken by a snapped announcement from the strings, followed by a crisp triplet on the timpani – the unmistakable sound of wood striking skin, of that there is no doubt. (It seems that capturing that particular sound creates difficulty for many CD publishers, not so here).
    The short strings, followed by timpani, phrase is repeated several times then followed by the deep, rich sound of the basses and cellos all - 24 of them, their rosined bows exciting the strings of their instruments to produce a sound that is precisely reproduced on the recording. Then several more short statements from each of the sections of the orchestra before the introduction leads to the first theme.
    Waldhans draws beauty, drama, elegance and most of all nuances from the highly skilled team under his command.
    The elegiac second movement emphasises the nostalgia of the composer for his homeland.
    The staccato opening of the third movement reminds us that we are sitting in the Royal Festival Hall, perhaps the centre of the 5th row from the front. If we close our eyes for a moment we could easily be mislead into believing that to be the case. By now the professionalism of the orchestra has been clearly established. Once again the attack of the timpani resonates in uncanny realism.
    The full dynamic range is wholly due to the direction of the conductor since no adjustments were made to the level during the recording process. The only electronic alterations made to the recording at all were to remove any extraneous noises, even then providing that the music was unaffected. The end result is a unique experience. A truly, natural, acoustic, mirror image of the glorious sound of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra in a realistic representation of the sound that evening in the Royal Festival Hall.



    Contd.


    The programme included a little know masterpiece.

    Jan Novák Philharmonic Dances (18:28)

    Jan Novak was the only pupil of Bohuslav Martinu and, being tutored by such a distinct master, Novak could not fail but be influenced by the individualism of the newly re-discovered genius.

    The Philharmonic Dances were written for large orchestra. By good fortune the orchestra fulfilled the composers requirements.

    The first movement, Allegro, opens with the side drum dictating a staccato beat, which is then taken up by the strings and horns in counterpoint announcing the two themes which hop around amongst all the sections of the orchestra.
    The development becomes slightly grotesque but reverts to sanity intermittently.
    By contrast the second movement, moderato, is gentle and lyrical. The hurdy-gurdy imitation of the central passage leads to the first, short example of syncopation, almost a trademark of Novak.
    The final movement, vivace, as with the first movement opens with the side drum and quickly settles to syncopated rhythms that grow, utilising all the facilities available in the orchestra.
    The composition is full of melodies, colourful orchestration and all the diverse sounds are captured on this recording with remarkable clarity.

    Out of deference to their host country two very English pieces by Frederick Delius were chosen to close the concert.
    One might expect that Irmelin and Koanga from La Calinda need to be performed by a British ensemble to achieve a musical picture of the English countryside. Here the Czechoslovaks, as they were at the time of concert, undertake the task and achieve perfection.

    The CD described above is the first CD ever to carry the CNSTR approval. It is also the first to be published by www.orchestralconcertcds.com A visit to the site will give you the opportunity to judge the sound quality, from sound samples of the CDs currently available.


    CNSTR

    Category: Sound Recording
    Subcategory: Sound Recording Technique
    Industry Standard

    CNSTR, the acronym for Certified Natural Sound Technique Recording, is a newly introduced, (September 2008), standard for the commercial recording industry, directed in particular at manufacturers of classical music CDs.
    It is a voluntary code of practice for CD publishers, however, the addition of the CNSTR logo, to published CDs, provides assurance, for the purchaser, that the recording was undertaken to conform to a minimum standard.
    There has been an ever-growing, general consensus of opinion that recordings of classical music are being over engineered, resulting in a sound quality that is not entirely relevant to the original.

    CNSTR has been expressed in layman terms since it is a reference intended for the public.

    With the rapid advance in acoustic technology the majority of recording studios have, in an endeavor to keep breast of the times, introduced ever more complex equipment and procedures into the sound recording process. A trend which has resulted in an ever increasing difference between natural and recorded sound.

    In the majority of recordings of symphony orchestras a considerable number of microphones is employed, positioned at stratigic points amongst the players.
    The sound, picked up by the microphones, is fed to a control panel where an engineer constantly adjusts the level in an endeavor to establish what he considers the composer intended in the score.

    The engineer is undertaking to correct the directions of the conductor who, from a musical point of view, is better qualified to perform the task.

    With CNSTR only two microphones are utilized. The task of the recording engineer is to establish the best postions for the microphones so that: 1. They faithfully capture the full spectrum of the orchestra and simulate a left and right image that would be heard sitting in an optimum position in the auditorium. 2. Prior to the recording the engineer should establish the maximum level of sound likely to be produced by the ensemble. The level controls being set to that postion and no corrections or alterations being made during the performance.
    Following completion of the recording process any extraneous noises, tape hiss or coughing should be removed. There the process terminates, the resultant recorded sound being a Natural Sound, by virtue of the fact that it has not been transformed in any way electronically. Multiple reproductions, CDs, of the recording can then be produced without any additional electronic process.

    CD producers who voluntarily adhere to the criteria are permitted to add the logo CNSTR to their CDs.

    Examples of recordings made, using CNSTR, can be heard by going to the foot of the webpage: http://www.orchestralconcertcds.com/info/cnstr.html
    There, you will find, sound samples of:
    Solo instrument - RFH Organ,
    Trio - piano violin and cello
    Chamber orchestra
    Symphony Orchestra
    Enlarged Symphony Orchestra
    Opera, in a live performance.

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    perhaps i can give that a listen.

    i prefer:
    kubelik/chicago
    reiner/chicago
    szell/cleveland

    dj

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    Senior Member nickgray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by david johnson View Post
    i prefer:
    kubelik/chicago
    reiner/chicago
    szell/cleveland
    Dorati and Solti here. Also, an honorable mention goes to Fricsay and Harnoncourt... um... and Kubelik
    Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur.

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    I think you make too many assumptions, I am very familiar with the symphony and listen almost daily.

    I recently did hear this recording and while it is very good and remarkably czech indeed I still prefer Solti with CSO. It is more vicious in the vicious parts yet still sweet and delicate. There is only one small recording 'mistake' in the timpani during the scherzo but it can be ignored.

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    what assumptions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by emiellucifuge View Post
    I think you make too many assumptions, I am very familiar with the symphony and listen almost daily.

    I recently did hear this recording and while it is very good and remarkably czech indeed I still prefer Solti with CSO. It is more vicious in the vicious parts yet still sweet and delicate. There is only one small recording 'mistake' in the timpani during the scherzo but it can be ignored.
    Hello,

    I'd be very interest to know how you came to hear the recording I referred to, since I have no recollection of supplying you with a copy.

    Ciao
    Geoffrey

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    Quote Originally Posted by david johnson View Post
    perhaps i can give that a listen.

    i prefer:
    kubelik/chicago
    reiner/chicago
    szell/cleveland

    dj
    Helo David,

    I'm sure you will be pleased to know that shipping the CD to the USA is charged at the same rate as to Europe, i.e. £3.

    I must tell you that before I had the necessary equipment and programs to edit the original tape I had a master created by a professional company, the end result sounded like a CD, so I procured all that was necessary and undertook the work myself, avoiding all the compressing and adding reverberation etc. The CD as is today is virtually a copy of the tape with a few coughs removed and a very small amount of tape hiss reduction. the musical content has not been modified.

    Regards,
    Geoffrey

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    [QUOTE=geoffrey terry;65614]Antonin Dvořák – Symphony No 9 in E minor Op 95,
    As you have never before heard it. As it should be heard.

    You may have heard innumerable and Brno with Waldhans; yet listen to three more and then absorb - 1) Leonard Bernstein with New York Philahrmonic (honours repeat in the first movement); 2) So does Carlo Maria Giulini with the Los Angeles Philharmonic burt does not have the zest of the Nw York players; 3) Rudolf Kempe with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Three other great performances are Czech/Karel Ancerl; Kubelik/Berlin; Zubin Mehta/Los Angeles. Karajan and Solti with Berlin and Chicago are good but they lose out on the repeat and spirit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tahnak View Post

    You may have heard innumerable and Brno with Waldhans; yet listen to three more and then absorb - 1) Leonard Bernstein with New York Philahrmonic (honours repeat in the first movement); 2) So does Carlo Maria Giulini with the Los Angeles Philharmonic burt does not have the zest of the Nw York players; 3) Rudolf Kempe with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Three other great performances are Czech/Karel Ancerl; Kubelik/Berlin; Zubin Mehta/Los Angeles. Karajan and Solti with Berlin and Chicago are good but they lose out on the repeat and spirit.
    With great respect to you, I think you may missed the main point of Geoffrey Terry's involvement here. He is not really debating the merits of different recordings of Dvorak's New World Symphony from a purely musical/interpretation viewpoint. He is instead pushing to sell CD recordings by a new Czech company with which he would appear to be involved commercially. The recordings are based on a highly minimalist recording technique called "Certified Natural Sound Technique Recording" (CNSTR) which hardly anyone in the world of recording accepts, or has even heard of. The very few recordings available which use this so-called "technique" are based on a few live concerts given in the UK some 40-50 years ago, by orchestras and conductors which hardly roll off the tongue.

    If you would like to delve further into all this look no further than HERE, which is a thread in a forum dedicated to music recording procedures that I stumbled across. It took me 10 minutes of Googling/Yahoo to find out I needed to know about all this subject. The CNSTR "technique" - which I stress is hardly known in the recording industry - simply involves dangling a couple of well-placed microphones, setting the maximum record level, and removing any coughs and sneezes. The snag is that it can give rise to very wide dynamic range which doesn't always translate into good results in a home listening environment, and hence why most modern recording procedures do a certain amount of "normalising" etc. There was a thread here on T-C late last year exploring some of these issues.It would appear that the general consensus of opinion about CNSTR is that it's pretty naff.

    I would have guessed as much without reading any of this internet-based material as I smelled a rat right from the off as soon as I spotted the sales pitch stuff. The main point to note is that this guy Terry is mainly out to promote a recording technique on CDs in which he has a direct pecuniary interest.

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    Hello Toccata,
    Smelly rat here!
    Just to let you know that I have read your provocation and will get back to you very soon.
    This guy Terry.

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    Hello Tahnak,
    I did commence my piece with,
    There are literally hundreds of different recordings. Some, where the playing is excellent. Some, where the recording is excellent. Some, where both playing and recording are excellent. There are others where both playing and recording are totally unacceptable.
    All the combinations you mention fall within the very positive category.
    I am giving a personal preference, it may be that if you heard the recording I refer to you could agree with my observations. However, since you have not, it is difficult for you to be objective.
    Regards
    Geoffrey.
    PS. I've been around a long time I even knew Karel Ancerl, and Václav Neumann personally.

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    I'm fond of the "Terry" sound and suspect he's unlikely to end up sunning himself on a beach in the Bahamas by selling specialist classical music CDs @ £10 a shot. And why the fuss about which forum this thread's in? If it's in the wrong forum a mod can quietly move it.

    The CNSTR project's fascinating and overdue. There's too much tinkering with classical music CDs by computer nerds employed by record labels, who then have the cheek to claim they're genuine recordings, or fail to mention their nerdery on the sleeve notes.

    No they're not genuine recordings. They're computer-aided sounds which started off as genuine recordings before being eviscerated by the nerd with his box of tricks. The nerds, when exposed, may become tremendously excited - see this thread.

    So thanks Geoffrey for taking the trouble to publicise this new CD. You deserve every success. But I wouldn't book that Bahamas flight just yet. Maybe a weekend in Bognor.

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    What a jolly fellow, Hello purple 99,

    Thank you for your kind words, I remember supplying you with this actual CD and I am very pleased that you apparently were satisfied with the result.

    Beware, I suspect that you will be investigated. There are those who are very nervous concerning CNSTR.

    I wish you a very pleasant day. Now isn't that nice to be polite to one another and see things in bright colours instead of black.

    Kind regards
    Geoffrey

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    Quote Originally Posted by purple99 View Post
    . . . If it's in the wrong forum a mod can quietly move it.
    Great suggestion ... so moved

    With that we also add: Any classified advertising must remain within this specific forum area. It matters not whom is doing the advertising whether it be an individual, or a company large or small, known or unknown ... nor does itmatter if the individual or company has sold one CD, millions of CD's or never sold anything ... advertising is just that - advertising, which is why this thread was relocated.
    Last edited by Krummhorn; Aug-06-2009 at 15:46.
    Kh
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    I doubt this version could top Rafael Kubelik's take on Dvorak's 9th. I haven't heard a performance yet that came close to his perfection.

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