DVD Audio

Jazz on a Summer’s Day

Jazz on a Summer’s Day

Halcyon days.

I was born too late. This is the only reasonable conclusion that I can reach. I missed the classic era of motorcars. I missed the opportunity to buy Manhattan real estate dirt cheap. And worst of all, I missed the 1950s jazz scene.
Yes, I know that some of the decade’s music is available in higher fidelity than ever before (evidence the Music Matters Blue Note reissues). And yes, I know that there is some excellent new jazz being composed and performed. But oh, to have been present at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival! Sadly, at that point I was just a twinkle in my parents’ eyes.
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The Silver and the Black

The Silver and the Black

Before I grabbed my wife’s aging Powerbook, complete with Norwegian keyboard that I struggle to understand, and settled down to write, I first put on a record, followed by another, and then another. Of course when I say record, I mean a good, old-fashioned LP and not a shiny, silver digital disc. I chose vinyl over the more convenient CD because it’s what I fancied listening to. I like the covers, I love the sound, and I adore the way it looks, spinning away on whatever turntable happens to be around. read more…

Software Review.

No, not the latest digital audio editor, but looks at new DVD-A, DVD-V, and SACD releases you may want to check out. read more…

Russian State Symphony (Yablonsky) – ‘Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake’  A DVD-Audio review by Chris Salocks

Russian State Symphony (Yablonsky) – ‘Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake’ A DVD-Audio review by Chris Salocks

This recent Yablonsky/Russian State Symphony Naxos release of ‘Swan Lake’ is welcome, providing a real (and generally superior) alternative to the Abravanel/Utah Symphony performance. And although this Naxos DVD-Audio recording was released at about the same time as the Silverline Classics DVD-Audio reissue of the Abravanel/Utah Symphony performance, I’m devoting most of this review to the Yablonsky recording, but with frequent cross-references to the Abravanel. read more…

Neil Young – ‘On the Beach’  A DVD-Audio review by Patrick Cleasby

Neil Young – ‘On the Beach’ A DVD-Audio review by Patrick Cleasby

Neil Young’s quest for a digital medium that is adequate as an archive for his ageing tape store seems to have finally found its end. His enthusiasm for the DVD-Audio format has thus far produced the idiosyncratic 5.1 mix for ‘Harvest’, and the more naturalistic use of rears for ambience on ‘Road Rock Vol.1’ and ‘Greendale’ (see review), but here we have the first fruits of his digital stereo archive project. On the 13th April, Rhino are releasing 24-bit 176.4kHz stereo only DVD-Audio discs of three of the missing four Young albums which appeared on CD for the first time last year – ‘On the Beach’, ‘American Stars ‘n Bars’, and ‘Hawks and Doves’. The fourth, ‘Re*Act*or’, has been delayed as according to Robin Hurley, “…some changes were needed for the screen content.” It is currently scheduled for US release on the 5th of May according to the Rhino website. In the UK and Europe Warner Music have decided on a different tack, preferring to defer the release of the titles until all four are ready, with release dates set as 17th May for Europe and 31st May for the UK, as long as ‘Re*Act*or’ suffers no further delays.

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Blood, Sweat and Tears – ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears 3’ An SACD review by Nicholas D. Satullo

If someone asked me who Mobile Fidelity are, I would probably say something like this: They used to make high quality vinyl LPs and Redbook CDs (even turning them into gold discs, literally), and perform some analog mastering tricks that I never really cared to learn, just so long as I subjectively thought the disc sounded better than a true comparator – the non-MoFi disc, as it were. read more…

Academy of St. James (Pini) – ‘Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos’ A DVD-Audio review by Chris Salocks

To some listeners, this release of the Brandenburg concertos will seem like a throwback to those innocent days before the ascendancy of the Historically Informed Performance (HIP) movement, which now dominates so much of recorded music – especially of the baroque and classic eras. read more…

Burkard Schliessmann – ‘Chopin: Ballades’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Fellow composer Robert Schumann once described Frйdйric Chopin’s piano works as “cannons camouflaged with flowers”. With their debut multichannel Super Audio Compact Disc, Bayer Records of Germany gives us a performance by Burkard Schliessmann of Chopin’s ‘Ballades’ which presents those extremes as facets of the unified artistic force of a composer who, despite his extensive fame, is still clearly underrated. read more…

Porcupine Tree – ‘In Absentia’ A DVD-Audio review by Patrick Cleasby

The name Porcupine Tree may not mean much to you now, but trust me, by the end of the year, it will. In an inspired move DTS Entertainment have taken an act that is still relatively underground on both sides of the Atlantic, albeit with a large and devoted following, and transformed their latest album into a stunning DVD-Audio disc using the best surround talent money can buy – just like Steely Dan’s superb ‘Everything Must Go’ DVD-Audio, this mix was created by Elliot Scheiner, and mastered by Darcy Proper. read more…

Kjell Fageus – ‘Brahms: Clarinet Trios’  An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Kjell Fageus – ‘Brahms: Clarinet Trios’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

One of the hardest difficulties encountered in recordings of the late Brahms chamber works with clarinet is that of finding a soloist with the right temperament. Intense, virtuosic solo stars such as Richard Stolzman are very impressive, but sometimes their individuality is a roadblock to the necessary interaction with the other performers. On the other hand, an orchestral player too used to being restricted by the boundaries of large group playing can come off as not sympathetic enough to the constantly shifting moods of such pieces as the Clarinet Trio, Op.114 and the Clarinet Quintet, Op.115. Or else, he or she too plays the role of haughty star. Swedish clarinetist Kjell Fageus is well situated, however, having a declared preference for small ensemble playing, and his ability to communicate without dominating makes this release enjoyable. read more…

Coro Della Radio Svizzera, I Barocchisti (Fasolis) – ‘Handel: Messiah’  A DVD-Audio review by Martin Fendt

Coro Della Radio Svizzera, I Barocchisti (Fasolis) – ‘Handel: Messiah’ A DVD-Audio review by Martin Fendt

A new Handel’s Messiah release may not at first seem to be the most ground breaking of developments, especially there are numerous versions of this celebrated oratorio in existence, albeit many of them only “highlights”. However, this latest one from Arts Music seems to raise the bar considerably in technical terms over all others. For the first time ever, here we have the whole 2Ѕ hour marathon recorded from scratch onto one DVD-Audio disc in 96kHz, 24-bit PCM with no compression or equalisation used at any stage during production. Not only that, but with no less than twenty-four channels at the original recording, the engineers have captured the sound of the performers in a fresh and seamless manner. read more…

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (Schwarz) – ‘Hovhaness: Mysterious Mountains’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Like the late Lou Harrison, Alan Hovhaness was an American composer of the twentieth century who turned his back on the dominant ‘academic serialism’ school and created a personal style that joined eastern and western musical styles and philosophies. read more…

Neil Young and Crazy Horse – ‘Greendale’ A DVD-Audio review by Cai Campbell

Neil Young is probably second only to David Bowie in his chameleon-like ability to adopt a new persona for whatever project he might be indulging himself at the moment. Over the past decade or so, Neil’s focus seems to have settled on doing what he does best: playing emotionally charged blues-based electric folk-rock. read more…

Roxy Music – ‘Avalon’ An SACD review by Patrick Cleasby

I’d like to make it perfectly clear that this will not be a particularly objective review of the music that makes up ‘Avalon’. I have already owned this album three times over the last twenty years, firstly as a Compact Cassette, closely followed by a first-generation Compact Disc, which was only recently replaced by the HDCD re-master. read more…

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