96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; Decca 483 4080 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)
Notwithstanding the virtues of the Kempe or Mackerras recordings (also both Decca) you really need the full authenticity of Czech forces – as here – for the Mass. Produced in the Rudolfinum it comes with Janácek’s rhapsody after Gogol and ghoulish narrative poem (akin to those by Dvorák), and the popular Sinfonietta, done only three months before Belohlávek died – a glorious account with its stirring brass – 25 players! – reverberating over woodwind squeals in the Prague hall. The Czech leader is both plaintive and seductive in Fiddler’s Child, with divided strings a listening bonus. The soundstage separation effects are equally dramatic in the Mass – lovely upper voices of Prague’s Phil. Chorus and two fine soloists; a spacious and dignified account. In (vii) we hear the 1975 Rieger-Kloss organ in full bloom, briefly too as Taras Bulba ends. CB
Sound Quality: 95%
Hi-Fi News Lab Report
The Taras Bulba (trks 14, 15, 16) look suspiciously like PCM downsamples from DSD [black trace] but the remainder are the real deal – genuine 96kHz renderings that use the available dynamic range to magnificent, dramatic effect. PM
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