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Symphonie Fantastique Munch
Boston Symphony 

Review by Gigi Krop
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Symphonie Fantastique  Munch/Boston Symphony

LP/CD Stock Number: JMCXR-0001


  Most people remember the CES shows for the new equipment and innovative technology, but there is also plenty of wonderful music. The Alexis Park Hotel always has a special section reserved for the sale and purchase of hi-quality CD's. It is a music- lover's dream, where one can find exotic CD's from all the small recording companies. I picked this CD up from the masters of the remastered recording, the people at JVC XRCD. The original recording was made on April 9, 1962 at Symphony Hall in Boston with the Boston Symphony conducted by Charles Munch. New master tapes were made at BMG/RCA studio in New York played on a restored Ampex 300-3 tube amplifier deck and digitally remastered at JVC Mastering Center in Yokohama Japan.

So there I was at the CES show with a brand new CD; what's a woman to do, but use it as a demo disc. The first room I walked into was displaying a prototype of the Graybeard speakers with McCormick electronics and a Linn Sondek CD player. I waited until the music stopped and I handed the equipment maestro my new CD. He gave me a questionable look, "What have we here?" he asked. "Please play the last track, Dream of a Witches' Sabbath." Well the room was full of people and the maestro looked concerned, what could a ditsy blond know about music or hi-end equipment...

But he took a chance and slipped it into the Sondek. The music washed over and around the listeners, filling the senses and tingling the skin. It sounded like the Linn Sondek and the Graybeard speakers were built and designed to play this particular cut on this particular CD. The dynamics were incredible, the highs and lows effortless. A tower of sound was followed by a second of silence. The tubular bells pierced through the room, the brass blasted us out of our chairs, the violins sang of sweetness and beauty followed by the deep tight bass and percussion. What incredible space and energy. It was almost a religious experience; no one in that room moved a muscle for 9.16 minutes. The music stopped and for a moment everyone sat in overwhelmed silence and then a sea of voices called out, "What was that CD, where can I get that CD?" JoAnn of Magna Cables said, "I want that CD." I just looked at the equipment maestro and smiled, "It's a JVC XRCD you can get it in the lobby."

Next I walked into a large room displaying the Accopella Audio Arts Campaniele speakers with Audio Aero Capital electronics. These were strange looking speakers but the person running the room was very gracious. He played the last track of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, but it just didn't sound the same; the speakers had a restricted horn sound that limited the dynamics of this beautifully recorded CD. I walked into another room with a huge CAT JL2 amplifier, SL1 preamp, Audio Aero CD and the Essence Sound Products Grand Slam Speakers. The music of Berlioz filled the enormous demo room. The bass sounded alive and spunky yet delicate and sweet; the highs were dynamic, the mids were accurate and silky smooth; the music was wonderful. The owner of CAT, Ken Stevens, came over to me. "Hi, what CD is that? What magazine did you say you wrote for?" I replied, "Oh that's Symphonie Fantastique on JVC XRCD, you can get it in the lobby of the Alexis Park Hotel. " Well, Ken headed towards the Alexis Park Hotel and I, I got a little respect.

Yes, the other tracks of this CD are equally rewarding and the entire Berlioz symphony is fantastic. If you want to get some respect, impress your friends with your audio system or simply want to enjoy the music, I suggest that you take this recording for a test drive.


Enjoyment: 90

Sound Quality: 92












































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