Saturday, March 03, 2007

Kansas City Symphony: The New Recording is Available

The long awaited new CD from the Kansas City Symphony is here. I have had the chance to listen to it over the last several days and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

At first I was highly disappointed in the constricted sound. But playing the disc on my computer with the JBL Creature speakers and then on my iPod with the Klipsch IGroove showed that is was my now 3rd rate CD player that is the problem. These better systems revealed good clean sound that shows the colorful orchestration in the Double Concerto to advantage, especially the water fountain and torn paper in the evocative second movement "A Flowering Sacrifice". The orchestra sounded 1st rate, and much better than in the horrid sonics of the Lyric Theatre. The works were recorded over at Yardley Hall in Overland Park, KS. Hardly world class but better than the Lyric.

Just an aside, the Lyric is a beautiful, grand old building saddled with horrible sound. The Orchestra level is worthless, especially under the balcony. The balcony is better, but the seats are so small and crowded. Which is better, sardine packaging with ok sound, or room with lousy sound and poor visuals of the orchestra. Please hurry with the new Concert Hall!!

I remain slightly mixed about the Double Concerto as I did when I first heard it live. Evocative, interesting but a bit long. The recording misses (of course) the interesting visual drama between the soloists and the effective "torn colored paper, scattered like falling petals". As I have heard it at least 5-6 times now, it has not outstayed its welcome. Well worth exploring. "Formosa Seasons" is shorter, more concentrated and less ambitious. Relying less on color (scored for Violin and strings) the Seasons lets you enjoy Chin's lyrical, communicative style.

All in all, an impressive debut on disc for Stern and the KCS.

Chin Double Concerto and Fomosa Seasons

The above has online purchase options. I recommend ArchivMusic for great prices and fantastic service.

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