deutsche grammophon

Los Angeles Philharmonic (Salonen) – ‘Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps’  An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Los Angeles Philharmonic (Salonen) – ‘Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

A debt has been paid. In 1938, cartoon mogul Walt Disney approached Igor Stravinsky and offered to pay to use the composer’s famous ballet ‘The Rite of Spring’ (“Le Sacre du Printemps” in its original French title) in his animated film ‘Fantasia’. Before Stravinsky could dismiss the idea outright, Disney quickly pointed out that the actual score – originally published in Russia – was not covered by United States copyright laws. In other words, take a token payment and smile or else I’ll use it anyway and pay you nothing. Stravinsky smiled through gritted teeth and took the token payment. He couldn’t even maintain the smile when Disney and conductor Leopold Stokowski cut the piece down to less than half its original size and paired it up with cartoon images of dinosaurs. But he had little choice. So Stravinsky devoted himself to putting out revised versions of the orchestrations of his early ballets so that the new versions would be under copyright. Now, almost seventy years later, Disney’s debt is being repaid in handsome manner. The first recording to come out of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s brand-new Walt Disney Concert Hall features a performance of the ‘Rite’ for the twenty-first century, complete in its revised orchestration, with nary a dinosaur in sight. This disc also marks Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft’s welcome return to releasing classical multichannel Super Audio Compact Discs after a hiatus when they appeared to give up on the format. Let us hope that this release signifies DGG’s acknowledgement that a solid niche market has developed for high-resolution multichannel sound, despite all the gloom ‘n’ doom predictions which were rife a couple of years ago. read more…

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Abbado) – ‘Beethoven: Symphonies No.7 in A major and No.8 in F major’ A DVD-Audio review by Mark Jordan

On October 17, 1917, in unusually hot weather, the players of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and their conductor Dr. Karl Muck squeezed in front of a large recording horn in Camden, New Jersey, and made the first recording of the last movement of Beethoven’s ‘Seventh Symphony’. read more…

Chorus and Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (Thielemann) – ‘Orff: Carmina Burana’ A DVD-Audio review by Mark Jordan

Debauchery. Sex. Gambling. Drunkenness. Aimless wanderings by overeducated, underemployed young people in a society that scorns them. Sound familiar? Well, it shouldn’t, because I’m talking about Europe in the late 1200’s. read more…

Russian State Symphony Orchestra (Yablonsky) – ‘Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos.2 and 3’ A DVD-Audio review by Chris Salocks

I’ve enjoyed many of Konstantin Scherbakov’s other recordings, such as his EMI disc of Johann Strauss transcriptions and his series of Godowsky recordings on Marco Polo, and was looking forward to hear what he would do with these magnificent Rachmaninov concertos. read more…

Vienna Philharmonic (Kleiber) – ‘Beethoven: Symphonies No.5 and No.7’  An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Vienna Philharmonic (Kleiber) – ‘Beethoven: Symphonies No.5 and No.7’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

The greatest recording ever made of Beethoven’s Fifth now makes its way onto SACD. It isn’t perfect – not that it could be – but this hybrid CD/SACD release is the finest incarnation yet of the inspired Carlos Kleiber’s legendary Vienna Philharmonic recording. The additional bonus for surround-sound listeners is that when this recording was originally made in 1975, quadrophonic sound was being toyed with, so Deutsche Grammophon made the recording in surround sound. Finally this release allows us to hear it in its full multi-channel glory. The multi-channel sound is 5.0 (3/2.0), without a separate low effects track, thus the bass is shallower than in many modern recordings, but it is by no means inadequate, considering that Beethoven’s orchestra of the early 1800’s did not call for the use of as many extended low registers as later composers such as Mahler or Strauss. This disc also contains the same team’s performance of Beethoven’s Seventh from a year and a half later. It is not quite in the same league as the Fifth, neither as performance, nor recording, but it is a logical and welcome filler for this release. read more…

Universal Releases 7 SACDs and Issues June SACD Release List

Continuing their release of SACD discs, Universal Music has brought out 7 more Multichannel SACDs of albums on their Deutsche Grammophon label. In addition, Universal Music has also issued their list of SACDs scheduled for release during the month of June.

Up until now, all of Universal Music’s Classical Music SACD releases in the U.S. market have been Hybrid Layer SACDs (playable on CD and SACD players) while their non-Classical SACDs have been a mix of Hybrid SACDs and Single Layer SACDs (playable only on SACD players). This week’s Classical Music SACDs from Universal Music change that pattern with 5 Hybrid Multichannel SACDs and 2 Single Layer Multichannel SACDs. The new Classical Music Multichannel SACD releases are: read more…

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