Delibes: Sylvia and Coppelia Suites

Album review
Delibes: Sylvia and Coppelia Suites


Sylvia and Coppelia Suites

Label: Reference
Media: CD
Genre: Classical

For 30 years, “Professor” Keith Johnson and Reference Recordings have provided audiophiles with orchestral spectaculars to challenge high-end systems. This new CD of two perennially popular ballet favorites could be their best yet. The sense of individual instruments, or groups of instruments—say, four French horns— occupying their own space, is uncanny. The scaling of those instruments is utterly believable: compare solo piccolo on band 6 to solo flute on track 20, for example. There’s loads of detail. The buzzing of the alto sax’s reed is lip-tingling, and it’s tempting to try to count the number of “jingles” on the tambourine. Formidable low-end information is tectonic but precise—listen for the lightly struck bass drum in “March and Procession of Bacchus” from Sylvia. Remarkably, although this recording was made at Marin County’s Skywalker Sound, we get the sense of sitting in the best seat of a real hall. The music is confectionary stuff, to be sure, but a paragon of its kind, led by a conductor known for this repertoire on both sides of the Atlantic. In short: an instant audiophile classic. 

More Info

  • primary artist, San Francisco Ballet Orchestra
  • conductor, Martin West
  • CD

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