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Anatole Fistoulari & Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam / Tchaikovsky Swan Lake, Op.20 - Highlights 'Swan Lake', one of the greatest musical masterpieces of all time, is brought to life through the chance encounter of Fistoulari, the god of ballet, and the renowned Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The miraculous Decca sound captured by Kenneth Wilkinson and Gordon Parry is recreated through SACD/CD hybridization,  effectively preserving this masterpiece for all of posterity.

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Decca masterpiece collection vol.2

The reissue of this Decca masterpiece series by ESOTERIC has attracted a lot of attention, both for its uncompromising commitment to recreating the original master sound, and for using hybrid Super Audio CD (SACD) technology to improve sound quality. This series marks the first hybrid SACD release of two selections that have been mainstays of the catalog since their initial release on LP, until the present digital age of CD. These new audio versions were created from Decca's original analog master tapes, converted to 96kHz / 24bit PCM and finally to DSD master.

The historic masterpiece of Anatole Fistoulari, the ultimate ballet conductor of the 20th century

Anatole Fistoulari (August 20, 1907 - August 21, 1995) was born in Kiev, and today is known as one of the greatest ballet conductors of the 20th century. His baton wielded a sound imbued with a rich sense of color, characterized by a lively, driving pulse. Most of all, his performances generated an atmosphere full of beauty and elegance. Particularly through the recordings of these performances, Fistoulari's genius is highly regarded by music fans all over the world.

In his lifetime Fistoulari recorded a considerable number of works, including accompaniments for arias and concertos, as well as full ballets. Among the works he conducted, this particular version of "Swan Lake", recorded with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1961, is the luminous masterpiece that secured Fistoulari’s legacy within the annals of classical recordings. The original album contains 13 numbers selected from the complete ballet, and is the only recording Fistoulari ever made with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. This album is also popular in Japan and has seldom disappeared from the catalog, with reissues consistently being released since it first appeared on LP.

Super Audio CD/CD hybridization achieves the ultimate sound recreating the full and extremelyrich sound of the Concertgebouw

1961 is the year Bernard Haitink was appointed chief conductor of Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, a post that he would share with Eugen Jochum. In February of the same year, Decca held a stereo session in which Mahler's Symphony No.4, conducted by Georg Solti (regard as the finest performance and recording) and this excerpt of “Swan Lake” were both recorded.Though Decca made a number of recordings during the monophonic era, these two recordings in 1961 mark the first that Decca performed in stereo.

However, during Haitink's time with the Concertgebouw most of the recordings were done by Philips; thus until the 1980s these two recordings were among the few stereo recordings of the Concertgebouw made by Decca. Kenneth Wilkinson and Gordon Parry, two renowned sound engineers that were the driving force behind the Decca sound, worked under famed producer Ray Minshull to create this recording. They carefully and vividly recorded each characteristic sound of the Concertgebouw, such as the charming woodwinds, the brilliant and gorgeous brass, and above all, the richly tinged sound of the string section. These recordings are nothing short of miraculous masterpieces!

As with past ESOTERIC projects, the entire SACD hybridization process was uncompromising in its efforts, from selecting the master recording tapes to the final DSD mastering. Carefully tuned, top-grade equipment from ESOTERIC, such as the D/A converter and the rubidium clock generator, were used for the DSD mastering. MEXCEL cables were used for the signal transfer system to fully convert the original and lively sound of Decca's master to hybrid SACD.
Title and track list
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (184-1893)
Swan Lake, Op.20 - Highlights
1 Introduction (Moderato assai)
Act I
2 No.1: Scène (Allegro giusto)
3 No.2: Valse
4 No.8: Danse des coupes (Tempo di polacca)
Act II
5 No.10: Scène (Modeato)
6 No.11: Scène (Allegro moderato)
7 No.13d: Danses des cygnes (Allegro moderato)
8 No.13e: Pas d'action (Andante)
9 No.20: Dabse hongroise (Czardas: Moderato assai)
10 No.5b: Pas de deux (Tempo di valse - Andante - Tempo di valse - Allegro molto vivace)
11 No.24: Scène (Allegro)
Act IV
12 No.27: Danse des petits cygnes (Moderato)
13 No.29: Scène final (Andante - Allegro agitato)
Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam
Conducted by Anatole Fistoulari
Producer: Ray Minshull
Engineer: Gordon Parry, Kenneth Wilkinson
Location: Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
Recording date: 22 & 23 Feb. 1961
Producer: Motoaki Ohmachi (ESOTERIC COMPANY)
Mastering Engineer: Kazuie Sugimoto (JVC Mastering Center)
■ Product ID: ESSD-90019
■ Format: SA-CD/CD Hybrid
■ Label: Decca
■ DSD mastering / SA-CD layer: Stereo / CD layer: ADD
■ Deluxe Digipak packaging