Michel Camilo and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Star in Telarc Surround Sound SACD Releases [HFR]

August 25, in SACD News

Jazz pianist Michel Camilo with his jazz trio and Robert Spano conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra are the stars of two new Surround Sound Super Audio CDs from the Telarc label. Bringing out the new album by Michel Camilo in Surround Sound SACD seems fitting given the label’s recent Super Audio CD release by another jazz pianist – Hiromi.

Both of the Super Audio CD albums – Spirit of the Moment by Michel Camilo and Vaughan Williams/Tallis: Fantasia On A Theme and Symphony No. 5 by Robert Spano conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra – are “day and date” releases. As with most of the Telarc Super Audio CDs, these albums are debuting in both Hybrid Surround Sound SACD and CD Audio formats on their release day. Here’s more on these new Telarc SACDs.

Spirit of the Moment
Michel Camilo
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Audio

(Telarc SACD-63653)

Album Musicians
Michel Camilo – Piano
Charles Flores – Bass
Damis Prieto – Drums

Album Tracks
1. Just Now
2. My Secret Place
3. Spirit Of The Moment
4. Repercussions
5. Nefertiti
6. Nardis
7. Trilogy
8. Giant Steps
9. A Place In Time
10. Hurry Up And Wait
11. Liquid Crystal
12. Solar (Explorations)

Spirit of the Moment is jazz pianist Michel Camilo’s 5th Surround Sound Super Audio CD release on Telarc. The album was recorded live to two channel and surround sound Direct Stream Digital (DSD) by Telarc recording engineer Robert Friedrich. It features 12 tracks, 8 of which were written by the artist.

Telarc notes that the album is divided “into three distinct chapters, each one consisting of four tunes. The opening chapter consists entirely of original material, beginning with “Just Now,” a marriage of New Orleans and Caribbean styles that sets the tone for an album rich with musical and cultural styles and shades. The heartfelt “My Secret Place” is one of two finely crafted ballads on the recording, serving as a sort of counterbalance to “A Place in Time,” which appears much later in the sequence.

Wayne Shorter’s classic “Nefertiti,” infused here with a decidedly Afro-Cuban sensibility, opens the second chapter, a four-song block that includes two other standards, a flamenco-shaded reading of Bill Evans’ “Nardis” and an alternately deconstructive and reconstructive take on Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.”

The final chapter, which opens with the aforementioned “A Place in Time,” gives way to the progressive and challenging time signatures of “Hurry Up and Wait” and the floating gait of “Liquid Crystal.” The closing track, a mystical sounding rendition of Miles Davis’ “Solar” – listed on this recording with the modified title of “Solar (Explorations)” – is actually an opener in many respects.”

Camilo sees the new album as one of his best. He says that ““This album, for me, is a milestone. I believe it is a classic. After all of these other projects and experiences in the past few years, I’m able to refresh and redefine my trio sound. It was unbelievable. I just sat down and wrote all this music in a short time. It just flowed out of me. And yet, great care was taken with the details and the various textures. The more you listen, the more you will discover how deep this album is.”

The album was recorded at Avatar Studio A in New York on October 16-19, 2006. As noted earlier, it is an original Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recording that was made on the Sonoma DSD Workstation with Genex 8500 DSD Recorders, EMM Labs Meitner DSD Converters and the EMM Labs Meitner Switchman II monitor controller. The album was produced by Michel Camilo and recorded, mixed, edited and mastered by Robert Friedrich. The Hybrid Surround Sound SACD was made by Sony DADC at their Hybrid SACD Replication Line in Austria.

Spirit of the Moment is a journey through a variety of musical styles and influences. Camilo and his trio bring their interesting Latin flavored Jazz influences to some Jazz classics as well as Camilo’s original material here. Some of the highlights from this Surround Sound Super Audio CD include the album’s title track (Spirit Of The Moment), track 9 which is a beautifully performed ballad (A Place in Time) and track 10 (Hurry Up and Wait).

Vaughan Williams/Tallis: Fantasia On A Theme and Symphony No. 5
Robert Spano conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Audio

(Telarc SACD-60676)

Album Musicians
Robert Spano, Conductor
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus
Norman MacKenzie, Director of Choruses
Jessica Rivera, Soprano
Kelley O’Connor, Mezzo Soprano
Thomas Studebaker, Tenor
Nmon Ford, Baritone

Album Selections
Thomas Tallis
1. Why Fum’th in Fight?

Ralph Vaughan Williams
2. Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Ralph Vaughan Williams – Symphony No. 5 in D Major
3. Preludio: Moderato
4. Scherzo: Presto
5. Romanza: Lento
6. Passacaglia: Moderato
7. Serenade to Music

This is the latest album on Telarc by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. According to the label, it is the orchestra’s 100th album on the label and the 7th time they have appeared in Super Audio CD. The disc features the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams and compositions including Serenade to Music, Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis and Symphony No. 5 in D Major. Also included on the album is an a cappella performance of Thomas Tallis’ “Why fum’th in fight”.

The album was recorded in Woodruff Arts Center, Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia in September and October 2006. It is an original Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recording made on the Sonoma DSD Workstation with Genex 8500 DSD Recorders, EMM Labs Meitner DSD Converters and the EMM Labs Meitner Switchman II monitor controller. The album was produced by Elaine Martone and Thomas C. Moore and engineered by Michael Bishop with SACD Production Supervision by Erica Brenner. The Hybrid Surround Sound SACD was made by Sony DADC at their Hybrid SACD Replication Line in Austria.

Telarc notes that ” In 2003, Robert Spano and the ASO won three GRAMMY awards for Vaughan Williams’ “A Sea Symphony” (Best Classical Album, Best Choral performance and Best Classical Engineered Album). The album was hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer as “…one of the most distinctive recordings …” and the Symphony Magazine called the ASO Chorus’ command of Vaughan William’s fascinating and varied choral effects “…simply spectacular.”

The critical acclaim is likely to continue for this new recording of Vaughan Williams’ music. Anchoring this brilliant disc is the composer’s peaceful Symphony No. 5 which was first heard in 1943 in the midst of World War II. A departure from his angry and strident Fourth Symphony, Symphony No. 5 was welcomed as an island of serenity in a time of great uncertainty.

Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis is considered by many to be the composer’s first indisputable masterpiece and has been featured in several films, including Remando al viento in 1988 with Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World in 2003 with Russell Crowe.”

The Surround Sound SACD edition of the album has drawn rave reviews to date with Sensible Sound saying “This is about as close to a perfect recording as earthly possible.” and Audiophile Audition calling it “simply glorious-sounding – even in its sometime strictly instrumental version. My feeling was that not only having the text in front of me while listening, but also having the “sweet music” enveloping me in surround form aided in enjoying the Serenade more than I ever had before.”

Listening to the Surround Sound SACD layer of this album, I enthusiastically agree with the earlier reviews of the SACD. I
t’s very well recorded with beautiful sonics. The opening a cappella performance is excellent in Surround Sound. One wishes that it would last a bit longer than its 54 second length. The 5th Symphony and the Serenade to Music by Vaughan Williams are also recorded in a way that preserves the sonics of the recording venue and captures the performance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this recording pick up a few more Grammy Awards.

Availability
The new Hybrid Surround Sound SACDs of Spirit of the Moment by Michel Camilo and Vaughan Williams/Tallis: Fantasia On A Theme and Symphony No. 5 by Robert Spano conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra are now available at music stores and web sites. This includes the Telarc web site as well as the web sites of Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc, Music Direct, Amazon.Com and CD Universe.

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