DVD Audio

Donald Fagen – ‘Kamakiriad’ A DVD-Audio review by Patrick Cleasby

Hot on the heels of the exemplary DVD-Audio version of the latest Steely Dan album ‘ Everything Must Go’, Warner Strategic Marketing are today releasing the DVD-Audio of Donald Fagen’s second solo album to the US market. read more…

Pennetier, Monte Carlo Philharmonic (Baudo) – ‘Beethoven: Piano Concertos No.1 and No.3’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

The producer and engineer of this Lyrinx SACD, Rene Gambini, sets aside a page in the booklet to mention his discovery of Brauner Microphones, citing their neutrality and precision, allied with a liveliness and warmth akin to prestigious vintage mikes. read more…

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (Jarvi) – ‘Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique Op.14’  An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (Jarvi) – ‘Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique Op.14’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Cincinnati’s Music Hall is a grand old sprawling building built over what was once the burial site for area paupers. Indeed, it has been pointed out that either accidentally or intentionally, the balcony support posts in the auditorium are vaguely reminiscent of long, thin bones, many of which had to be moved when it was built, as well as in later renovations. What more could you ask for in a recording of Berlioz’ nightmarish masterpiece ‘Symphonie Fantastique’? Well, better acoustics and a more unbuttoned performance, perhaps. read more…

Giorgio and Martin Cope – ‘Ambra, Honour and Glory’ A DVD-Audio review by Stuart M. Robinson

The MAWA label is a recent addition to the DVD-Audio family; based in Potsdam, MAWA Film und Medien is Germany’s largest provider of what they call “DVD entertainment” via distribution, licensing, authoring, technological development and their own record labels. read more…

Steely Dan – ‘Everything Must Go’ A DVD-Audio review by Patrick Cleasby

Steely Dan – ‘Everything Must Go’ A DVD-Audio review by Patrick Cleasby

When announcements earlier this year confirmed that a brand new Steely Dan studio album, ‘Everything Must Go’, was due this spring, seasoned Dan watchers were amazed. Having managed to produce seven masterpiece albums during the seventies, the following twenty years saw but a handful of albums from Becker and Fagen, and only one of those was a bona fide Steely Dan studio album. The news that the guys disappeared into the studio in late 2001 could therefore have resulted in a confident prediction of no new album until 2006. Nevertheless, here is the result of that year in the studio, have the venerable duo managed to surprise us as much with their music as with their schedule? read more…

Caroline Sageman – ‘Frederic Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35 4 Scherzos’  An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Caroline Sageman – ‘Frederic Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35 4 Scherzos’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

The finest artists rarely win the big international competitions. Caroline Sageman placed sixth in the International Chopin Piano Competition in 1990 (granted, she was only seventeen at the time). In the intervening years, I have not heard anything of the higher prizewinners – yet here is Sageman, emerging as a fully-formed, thoughtful artist of power and control. The competitions, with their decisions made by committee, have a tendency to settle on mainstream, flashy players who moderately please everyone and largely offend no one. A more probing artist can potentially be very off-putting. And so it is with Sageman. This recording is mightily impressive to anyone who can accept a more granitic, monumental view of this composer. No sign here of Chopin as neurotic, hearts-and-flowers romantic – Sageman seems intent on proving that Chopin’s genius extends to structural and harmonic innovations that almost two centuries later still have the power to shock. And here, they do. I remain a devotee of the emotional, impulsive school of Chopin playing typified by Alfred Cortot, but after hearing this towering recording, I wouldn’t want to be without it. It reveals some surprising new facets of Chopin’s diamonds. read more…

‘Rumor and Sigh’ A DVD-Audio review by Stuart M. Robinson

‘Rumor and Sigh’ A DVD-Audio review by Stuart M. Robinson

The first batch of long-awaited EMI DVD-Audio discs, released at the end of July, included one of the most talked-about and original albums of the early 1990s, Richard Thompson’s ‘Rumor and Sigh’, produced by the legendary Mitchell Froom. read more…

MDG Bring Loss-less Multi-channel to DVD-Video

MDG Bring Loss-less Multi-channel to DVD-Video

MDG are to release a DVD-Audio disc with loss-less, multi-channel DVD-Video compatible content. This groundbreaking move affords high-resolution audio for those with DVD-Audio players and owners of multi-channel DVD-Video machines.

The Orchester der Beethovenhalle Halle, Bonn (the location of the first Deutsche Bundestag), under conductor Marc Soustrot performs three important French impressionism orchestral works: Debussy’s ‘Prélude à l’après-midi d’une faune’ together with Ravel’s ‘Ma mère l’oye’ and ‘La valse’. The disc also includes the rarely performed symphonic fragments from Debussy’s ‘Le martyre de Saint Sébastien’.

Werner Dabringhaus of MDG spoke exclusively to High Fidelity Review:

“The performances were recorded in the natural acoustics of the Beethoven Halle in Bonn and we optimised the acoustics there by putting away all of the auditorium’s chairs (where the audience would usually sit) resulting in much better reflections from the wooden floor, which we then recorded separately as part of the disc’s surround ambiance.”

 

As has been the case with all previous MDG releases, the disc is presented using the company’s own ‘2+2+2’ recording scheme, which is compatible with stereo, conventional 3/2.1 multi-channel or an optimised 2+2+2 installation, complete with height channels. The DVD-Audio layer is presented as 96kHz 24-bit.

Werner explained:

“The orchestra was situated on the stage, and whilst listening to the disc you will clearly hear the original positions and dynamics of all instruments, including the original elevation of the wind and brass sections on their correspondent higher platforms.”

MDG were also careful not to alter the dynamic range of the music,

“…the first tracks have a very low dynamic in the score so you really hear the original dynamics of the orchestra and appreciate the big crescendos upon the disc, especially when you come to the ‘La Valse’ ending.”

Together with the loss-less MLP track, as is the case with most DVD-Audio discs and all MDG’s previous releases, ‘Debussy/ Ravel: Orchestral Works’ contains a backward-compatible Dolby Digital track so that the disc can be enjoyed in all DVD-Video players, but also included is a second, uncompressed loss-less layer containing six channels of 48kHz 20-bit PCM. This means that anyone with a DVD-Video player containing an integral multi-channel decoder (normally used for Dolby Digital or DTS playback) can enjoy the title without the need for lossy compression.

Werner is clearly excited by this unusual and innovative move;

“Now you are no longer condemned to inferior Dolby Digital fidelity when using a DVD-Video player. Uff – what a difference.”

 

For those with multi-channel DVD-Video players, simply pressing the ‘audio’ button on the remote control will switch from the lossy Dolby Digital track to the loss-less PCM.

“With this new playback option, we achieve the widest possible compatibility from DVD-Audio, which now can be replayed on every DVD-Audio and DVD-Video player, or even every SACD/DVD-Video player (be it in stereo, 5.1 or in 2+2+2) in the best quality linear PCM the platform is able to provide.”

‘Debussy/ Ravel: Orchestral Works’ has a running time of sixty-four minutes and is catalogue number MDG 937 1099-5. The DVD-Audio version will be available soon and the performances can also be ordered as a two-channel 44.1kHz 16-bit Compact Disc, MDG 337 1099-2.

Debussy Ravel: Orchestral Works

Debussy/ Ravel: Orchestral Works, catalogue number MDG 937 1099-5

David Becker Tribune – ‘Germerica’  A DVD-Audio review by Stuart M. Robinson

David Becker Tribune – ‘Germerica’ A DVD-Audio review by Stuart M. Robinson

Released by 5.1 Entertainment’s Silverline group, ‘Germerica’ is the first DVD-Audio disc to hail from accomplished contemporary jazz guitarist David Becker and his band, the David Becker Tribune.

The David Becker Tribune has been acclaimed worldwide, largely because of their exemplary live performances and also because of the talents of individual members who are amongst the finest exponents of original, contemporary jazz around today. They’ve played the world over, from London’s Barbican Centre to the Jazz Philharmonie in St. Petersburg. You can learn more at: http://www.davidbeckertribune.com/ read more…

Blue Man Group – ‘Audio’ A DVD-Audio review by Nigel Pond

Blue Man Group – ‘Audio’ A DVD-Audio review by Nigel Pond

Most people have probably never heard of The Blue Man group by name, but most will have seen them on television without realising it. They were the blue-faced characters in the TV commercials for Intel’s Pentium III processors. But BMG is much more than three blue Roman numerals – it is a group of individuals (around 30) which combines performance art, music and musical invention. BMG has a critically acclaimed theatrical production ranging from contemporary theatre, to percussive music, art, science and vaudeville. read more…

Philip Glass – ‘Koyaanisqatsi’  A DVD-Audio review by Stuart M. Robinson

Philip Glass – ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ A DVD-Audio review by Stuart M. Robinson

There aren’t many movies that one could say have influenced a generation and yet are largely unknown, but 1983’s ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ falls squarely into that sparsely-populated category. ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ didn’t pick up any Oscars® or break any box office records, but many ardent moviegoers will argue that it is one of the finest films ever made. read more…

Various Artists – ‘Inside the Music – Classic Rock’  A DVD-Audio review by Stuart M. Robinson

Various Artists – ‘Inside the Music – Classic Rock’ A DVD-Audio review by Stuart M. Robinson

Silverline and 5.1 Entertainment have been releasing music-only titles on DVD-Video with Dolby Digital and/or DTS multi-channel audio for some time. Their catalogue includes selections as diverse as the Big Phat Band’s excellent ‘Swingin for the Fences’, the London Philharmonic playing Beethoven and collections of ‘mood music’ entitled ‘Directions: North’, ‘Directions: South’ and the like. read more…

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