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Audio Mixer: Michael Bishop .
Liner Note Author: Richard E. Rodda.
Recording information: Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH (04/10/2003/05/11/2003).
Director: Timothy J. Northcut.
Editor: Todd Brown.
Arranger: Erich Kunzel .
Given Telarc's usual preference for film and popular music from Cincinnati, it's a pleasure to report that Erich Kunzel has been turned loose on a brace of short classical pieces this time. Quality material, too -- with an emphasis upon sonic spectaculars like The Pines of the Appian Way from Respighi's The Pines of Rome, Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, and Fetes from Debussy's Nocturnes but also subtler things like Nimrod from Elgar's Enigma Variations and Vaughan Williams' Greensleeves fantasia. That said, it's not a pleasure to report that Kunzel's renditions are mostly on the tepid side -- underplayed, restrained. The extroverted numbers are short on the very quality of pizzazz that such pieces suggest, and even the more sensitive pieces
come off as matter-of-fact run-throughs. Kunzel's concept of Berlioz's Roman Carnival overture is especially leaden, like Otto Klemperer without the latter's implacable authority. On some of the selections, the Cincinnati Pops is reinforced by the College Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati Brass Choir, which produces an especially hefty brass sound in the Grand March from Verdi's Aida. Yet Telarc's surround setup is rather conservative, as it usually is for Cincinnati Pops offerings, reserving the rear channels for hall ambience. It might have been more fun if, say, the engineers had recorded the brass in Fanfare for the Common Man antiphonally as Copland has suggested (which has been done before in DVD-A with striking results). ~ Richard S. Ginell