Telarc, Heads Up and PentaTone Release 5 Surround Sound SACDs

Telarc International along with their Heads Up jazz label and the PentaTone Classics label they distribute in the U.S. have released 5 Surround Sound SACDs. The Super Audio CDs from Telarc and Heads Up are «day and date» releases by the Boston Baroque, Pieces of a Dream and Marion Meadows, with both the Surround Sound SACD and Stereo CD versions of the album arriving in stores on the same day. In the case of the two Surround Sound SACDs from PentaTone Classics, these are Single Inventory Surround Sound SACDs with the SACD serving as both the SACD and CD release of the album.

Bach: The Complete Orchestral Suites (Performed on Period Instruments)
Martin Pearlman conducting the Boston Baroque
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Stereo

(Telarc SACD-60619)

This is the Boston Baroque’s second Surround Sound SACD release on Telarc, following up their earlier performance of Handel’s
Royal Fireworks & Water Music (Telarc SACD-60594). This SACD features a new «Pure DSD» (Direct Stream Digital) recording from Telarc of the ensemble’s performance of Bach’s 4 orchestral suites performed on instruments of the musical period.

Telarc describes the album by saying that

«For this recording, Pearlman and his orchestra bring to bear their vast experience with Bach’s music, as well as the latest scholarship. In a break from tradition, the suites are presented in what has been determined to be their order of composition rather than their published order. It is not merely scholarship but Pearlman and the orchestra’s deep musical understanding that gives these interpretations their satisfying richness. Careful attention is paid to balance, for instance. Pearlman points out as an example that the light scoring of the B Minor Suite (for a single flute, strings and harpsichord continuo) has led some to consider it a solo flute piece, much like a concerto, and in order to balance the solo flute, have performed the work with only solo strings in the orchestra. «However,» says Pearlman, «the writing, particularly in the overture, is just as full and the character just as weighty as in the other suites, and it does not suggest an exceptionally light sonority. Using multiple violins need not bury the sound of the flute, but the two can be blended into a richer sonority, especially with the sound of the wooden flute and the gut strings of Baroque instruments. I do, however, reduce back to single strings in solo flute passages.»


Album Selections
Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069
1. Ouverture
2. Bourree I & II
3. Gavotte
4. Menuet I & II
5. Rejouissance
Suite No. 1 in C Major, BWV 1066
6. Ouverture
7. Courante
8. Gavotte I & II
9. Forlane
10. Menuet I & II
11. Bouree I & II
12. Passepied I & II
Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068
13. Ouverture
14. Air
15. Gavotte I & II
16. Bouree
17. Gigue
Suite No. 2 in B Minor, BWV 1067
18. Ouverture
19. Rondeau
20. Sarabande
21. Bouree I & II
22. Polonaise, Double
23. Menuet
24. Badinerie

No Assembly Required
Pieces of a Dream
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Stereo

(Heads Up HUSA-9080)

Veteran jazz artists Pieces of a Dream have been together for nearly 30 years. No Assembly Required is their latest album and follows the very successful album Love Silhouette which was also available as a Heads Up Surround Sound SACD (Heads Up HUSA-9071). This album features 9 original songs written by members of the band as well as a performance of Earth, Wind & Fire’s song «Devotion». As with several earlier Heads Up Surround Sound SACDs, the Stereo CD layer of this disc is HDCD encoded.

The 5.1 Surround Sound mix on the album is by Associate Producer Martin Walters at Big Time Audio in Dallas, TX with 5.1 Mastering by Paul Blakemore at Heads Up/Telarc. It is a very immersive surround mix, with all 5 speakers coming into play. Surround Sound music fans will want to check out tracks 2 (Devotion) and 6 (Who U Wit?) in particular, although several others also do a fine job of enhancing and opening up the music on the album.

Album Selections
1. It’s Go Time
2. Devotion
3. Dyse It Up
4. Yeah Baby
5. Swerve
6. Who U Wit?
7. On Her Wings
8. Summer
9. Want A Piece of This?
10. No Assembly Required
11. Lunar Lullaby

Player’s Club
Marion Meadows
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Stereo

(Heads Up HUSA-9082)

Player’s Club is the fourth and latest album on Telarc’s Heads Up jazz label by veteran saxophone player Marion Meadows. Heads Up describes Player’s Club as

«Moving effortlessly between contemporary jazz and soulful R&B, Player’s Club features eleven standout tracks. Meadows generates sparks on the opening title track “Players Club,” cutting loose on tenor and soprano with help from Matt King’s baritone sax work. On “Sweet Grapes,” he infuses his seductive sound with elements of hip-hop, neo-soul and R&B, tempering his soprano sax with subtle grooves in the most natural way. The melody on “Diggable” winds around a European club vibe, blurring the lines between instrumental pop and crossover jazz as only Meadows can.»

As with the Surround SACD by Pieces of a Dream, the Stereo CD layer of Player’s Club is HDCD encoded.

The 5.1 Surround Sound mix on Player’s Club reunites surround mixer/engineer Martin Walters and Heads Up/Telarc surround remastering engineer Paul Blakemore. Like the Pieces of a Dream SACD, this mix also provides an immersive surround sound field for the music. The standout cut on this album in surround is track 5 (Noche Privada) which mixes Meadows’ sax with keyboards, bass, guitar and spanish guitar for a very tasty track.

Album Selections
1. Players Club
2. Sweet Grapes
3. Wishing on a Star
4. The First Time
5. Noche Privada
6. Suede
7. Romantica
8. Diggable
9. Step Closer
10. Deska
11. After 6:00

DSD Recordings from PentaTone Classics
Readers of High Fidelity Review know that the PentaTone Classics label releases Surround Sound SACDs of both original Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recordings and surround sound remasters from the Philips Classics catalog. In this pair of releases, we have two albums from PentaTone’s original DSD recordings series. They feature the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hans Vonk performing Brahms Symphony No. 2 and Tragic Overture and the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Alexander Vedernikov performing three Russian Ballet Suites. While the list of recording engineers on each album differ, both were recorded by Polyhymnia International and both SACDs were made by Sonopress. (The Telarc and Heads Up SACDs mentioned earlier were made at Sony DADC’s plant in Terre Haute, Indiana).

  • Alexander Vedernikov, Russian National Orchestra — Russian Ballet Suites: Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet, Khachaturian: Spartacus & Shostakovich: The Bolt (PentaTone Classics SACD-66032)
  • Hans Vonk, Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra — Brahms: Symphony No. 2 & Tragic Overture (PentaTone Classics SACD-66042)

The new Surround Sound Super Audio CD releases from Telarc International, Heads Up and PentaTone Classics are now available for purchase at the Telarc web site as well as record stores such as Tower Records. They are also available from web sites that specialize in SACDs such as Acoustic Sounds, CD Universe, Elusive Disc and Music Direct.
5 New Surround Sound SACDs from Telarc, Heads Up & PentaTone Classics