Friday, March 30, 2012

The ultimate synthesis

For some people only live recordings (as opposed to studio concoctions) do justice to a composer's work. The odd mistake that cannot be re-recorded is a small price to pay for the experience of a whole piece delivered in one musical chunk. Barenboim's recording of Saint-Saens' third (organ) symphony for Deutsche Grammophon (474 612-2) undermines this notion. It is entirely synthetic, with the organ part recorded separately and later mixed with the wonderful Chicago Symphony Orchestra. But the effect achieved in the final movement is quite extraordinary. It is hard not to be swept along with the power of it. Does it matter it's not 'real'? Not when it's this good - and at £3.99 from Amazon, what's not to like.

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