Rimsky-Korsakov / Scheherazade / Dorati

More of the music of Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

Our Favorite Performance of Scheherazade – Ansermet with the Suisse Romande

One of the most dynamic Scheherazade”s on record. The brass really blasts through in this recording. 

Of course the question is how does this recording stack up to the famous Reiner. Well, I’ll tell you.

The Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra is not in the same league with the CSO, that’s well known. Dorati may be every bit as talented as Reiner, but he doesn’t have the players at his disposal capable of pulling off demanding material such as this.

But the orchestra acquits itself well here. The first violinist is quite good. That’s not the problem.

What lets the side down is the Mercury recording team, who fail to adequately present the weight of the orchestra in the lower midrange and below. One thing I noticed recently when playing an original LSC 2446 was how rich and powerful the sound was in the lower strings and in the brass relative to later pressings of the same title and other recordings of the work.

That opening movement of Scheherazade needs power down there and the Mercury simply doesn’t have enough of that power to qualify it as one of the top sounding Mercs.

What it does have is very good mids to upper mids and a lovely top end. The overall presentation is a little bright, mostly because it’s missing the counterbalancing weight down below.

So if you have a system that is maybe a little fat down there, or you can add something in the range of 100-500 cycles, this might just do the trick.

It’s a very good record as it stands. The Reiner, which is many hundreds of dollars more money, is just better. That’s why it brings the kind of prices it does.

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