Five Mercury Living Presence Albums Coming to SACD

The Decca Music Group has announced that it plans to release 5 of the legendary Mercury Living Presence classical music albums this fall and winter. The albums will appear as Hybrid Multichannel SACDs and will feature Multichannel SACD, Stereo SACD and CD Audio versions of the music on each album.

Of particular interest to the fans of these albums, the Multichannel SACD track will actually reproduce the albums in their original 3-track form, using the Right, Left and Center channels only. In this regard, the discs will follow the example set by one of the early titles in the Vanguard Classics Hybrid Multichannel SACD series which also reproduced a 3 track analog master tape in this fashion.

The Initial Releases on SACD
High Fidelity Review readers will recall that Decca Music polled classical music fans and asked if there was interest in bringing out some of the Mercury Living Presence Albums in SACD format and if so, which titles should be considered (see our earlier story, linked below, for details).

The response to the poll was very strong and positive. As a result, the following 5 Hybrid Multichannel SACDs are set for release in «late Fall/Winter 2003″:

  • Antal Dorati & London Symphony Orchestra — Stravinsky: Firebird (Complete Ballet)
  • Byron Janis — Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos No. 2 & 3
  • Janos Starker — Bach: Complete Solo Cello Suites
  • Philharmonia Hungarica — Respighi: Ancient Airs & Dances
  • Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony — Suppй: Overtures

    In their announcement, Decca Music said that they were «delighted to announce the full support for these new SACD releases from the legendary founder and producer of Mercury Living Presence, Wilma Cozart Fine. The discs will feature new DSD (Direct Stream Digital) analogue-to-digital transfers from the original analogue master tapes. Most excitingly, these new SACD discs will also include a 3-channel transfer of the original 3-track recordings, as well as a new DSD stereo mix. This will be the first opportunity for Mercury Living Presence enthusiasts to hear their favourite recordings in the original 3-track format.»

    Additional Mercury Living Presence SACDs Planned
    After the initial release of 5 SACDs, Decca Music plans to release additional titles in the new Mercury Living Presence SACD series. According to Decca, these SACD releases will include «the famous 1812 Overture recording from the Minneapolis Symphony and Dorati, American repertoire from Frederick Fennell, and such celebrated one-offs as the Balalaika program from the Osipov Russian Folk Orchestra.»
    Antal Dorati & London Symphony Orchestra performs Stravinsky’s Firebird Complete Ballet — Coming to SACD