Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1by Artur Rubinstein
Artur Rubinstein's elegant 1954 recording of Brahms' "Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor" with Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is a bona fide classic from the earliest days of stereo; this sumptuous album has been available for decades and has earned a permanent place in RCA's catalog. It reappears here in the SACD format and sounds cleaner and more detailed than ever before; yet the advanced technology only goes so far and this disc may disappoint audiophiles. Because RCA has carefully preserved its Living Stereo master tapes, it is relatively easy to reproduce them through DSD and render a terrific ADD version. However, the original two-channel tracks have not been altered for multichannel systems, so the sound comes only from the front channels on the left and right. In essence, this is glorified stereo with remarkable presence -- one feels quite close to Rubinstein, and the CSO seems only feet away -- but there is no additional surround sound depth. For the sake of authenticity, this is just as well, and Rubinstein and Reiner at least are not misrepresented through creative engineering. One may regret, however, that this SACD has no bonus tracks and find that it offers less value than other titles in the line.
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