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Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, July 2009

…excellent production values allied to superb orchestral playing…RLPO is currently in fine form. I suspect local concert-goers in the North West of England have known that it has been playing as well as this for many years. But it is the presence of a charismatic young conductor and a Naxos recording contract which has helped spread its name internationally. All of the orchestral sections play with power and accuracy—the strings bringing off the tricky passage work in the John Williams selections with aplomb. The brass are clearly having a ball—the sound is full and powerful and the horns in particular roister away to stunning effect—listen to the roof-raising counter-melodies they play at the climax of the Mission Impossible Suite on track 3.

The orchestra has decamped from its home at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool to record this album at St George’s Hall in Blackburn—volume 1 in this series was recorded in Liverpool. This provides the engineers with a far more resonant and fuller acoustic to work with, successfully in the main, which suits the full-blooded nature of many film scores well. The lower end resonance this allows is immediately apparent right at the start of track 1. Just a few seconds in listen to the huge sound generated by the extra 5th string on the low double basses…The production has emphasised the ‘cinematic’ feel by providing a very wide sound-stage left to right and a huge dynamic range. This is the kind of spectacular engineering that was never found only a few years back on any but the most premium priced of labels so congratulations to all those involved—not the most natural sounding disc Naxos have produced but one of the most dynamic…Hear it to enjoy the quality of British orchestral playing that is now the norm throughout the country caught in excellent and opulent sound.

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