Falla: The Three-Cornered Hat
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe Suite No. 2, Alborada del Gracioso
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
Price range: $28-161, mean $56 on popsike
Comments: I've posted blogs on a couple of Carlo Maria Giulini's Columbia SAX recordings, and in general, I would say that they are excellent. This album is no exception. Starting with the beautiful, tranquil scenic cover taken by Brian Dagleish (credited at the lower right hand corner). They just don't make album covers like this anymore (though I don't mean for this statement to discredit contemporary classical record labels -- Hyperion, Chandos, Harmonia Mundi, just to name a few -- that really put an emphasis on high production value). The selection of repertoire is very entertaining, none other than Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat and two of Ravel's great orchestral works, Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloe and Alborada del Gracioso. All of them are given exciting, energetic performances ... this is truly fun and enjoyable music that really can showcase the color and power of the orchestra. The sound is glorious, truly doing justice to the performances. Dynamic range is very wide. Bass is quite powerful. Just take the opening bars and the Final Dance of The Three-Cornered Hat. Wow, can you really hear the impact of the percussion! With the lone exception of the very final bars of the Daphnis et Chloe Suite which my Denon DL-110 just could not perfectly handle, there was a remarkable clarity to the recording. Again, as with many of these fine Columbia SAX recordings, you can appreciate the recording hall acoustics.
The beauty of all this is that this is a relatively affordable SAX. It's also reasonably common, so I think if you just stay patient, you can snatch up a copy without breaking the bank. I have not heard any later pressings to be able to tell you if they are competitive with the turquoise/silver. This record easily is the Album of the Day.