"...This pairing of suites from the composer’s ballets by the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, the first and still arguably best-standing ballet orchestra in the US, avoids both extremes. Under current music director Martin West, the orchestra revels in the immediacy of the music without ever losing sight of the overall narrative.
So too does the recorded acoustic avoid the trappings of a dance venue, where muffling the footfalls often takes precedence over richness in acoustical quality. Engineer Keith O Johnson’s results befit the label’s audiophile status, creating a sonic space that merges the immediacy of a dance hall with the vibrancy of a concert hall." — Ken Smith, Gramophone Magazine
"West does hold his own in the massive final apotheosis, aided by the always-formidable Reference Recordings bass drum. West is uniformly excellent in Coppélia...there is plenty of beautiful music-making here...
Johnson tilts the sonic spectrum to the low midrange and bass. The Reference Recordings bass drum has massive impact...The Reference strings are silky sweet, and I have never heard a triangle reproduced with such clarity and focus. The famous saxophone solo in the “Barcarole” must be heard to be believed...you are not likely to hear a better-recorded performance of these extended suites" — Arthur Lintgen Fanfare Magazine
"There are at least three compelling reasons to buy this recording. First, the music, suites drawn from Léo Delibes’ complete scores for the ballets Sylvia ... and Coppélia ..., is lively, colorful, and filled with charm...
"A second reason to acquire the CD is that Martin West and his San Francisco Ballet Orchestra do a bang-up job... West’s tempos [are] broader in some key movements, and hence more conducive to listening without visuals. As for the sound of the instruments on those classic recordings, one listen to the harsh violins in Fistoulari’s Sylvia will send you running to hear San Francisco’s silken strings.
Which leads us to the third reason for hitting the “buy” tab. This latest release from Bay Area’s Reference Recordings, captured over two days at Skywalker Sound by Grammy Award–winning recording engineer Keith O. Johnson and recordist Sean Royce Martin, is sensational. That’s SENSATIONAL.
Even in good old CD format, with all its digital limitations, the bass and midrange warmth of this recording are nothing short of spectacular. By comparison, timpani sound feeble on most other CDs, and certainly on the classic recordings referenced above. Sounds at the other end of the spectrum, especially those of triangles and cymbals, are captured with remarkable vibrancy and accuracy." — Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice
Labels: Delibes, Fanfare Magazine, Gramophone Magazine, Review, San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, San Francisco Classical Voice, Sylvia and Coppelia