Telarc has gone back to their vaults to release three Hybrid Stereo Super Audio CDs. The recent SACDs represent a break from the label’s series of Super Audio CDs mostly based on original Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recordings and show the continued interest in using SACD as a way to breathe new life into catalog material. Also available are two Surround Sound SACD releases on the Chesky label by Christy Baron and the Bruckner Orchestra Linz.
3 Stereo SACDs from Soundstream Masters
Telarc’s latest three Classical Music Super Audio CDs are taken from the label’s Soundstream recordings. They feature performances by Michael Murray on the Organ with Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, Frederick Fennell conducting the Cleveland Symphonic Winds and Leonard Slatkin conducting the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
In each case, the A&R department has selected compositions from two different earlier Stereo CD releases and combined them on a new Hybrid Stereo SACD release. I mention this because the casual classical music fan might not realize that the contents of each SACD will not match up with its CD counterparts.
To prepare this material for Super Audio CD, Telarc went back to the original Soundstream 50kHz master tape recording and then transferred it to Direct Stream Digital. The Soundstream to DSD transfers were done by Paul Blakemore and the SACD production supervision was handled by Erica Brenner. All three of the Super Audio CDs were made by Sony DADC in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Telarc describes the process by noting that these SACDs were “produced from the original Soundstream masters using the Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recording process. Transfer to DSD is accomplished entirely in the digital domain through the Data Conversion Systems (dCS) 972 Sample Rate Converter with custom software, thereby preserving the original recording’s 25kHz frequency response and filtering characteristics.”
Telarc also notes that “To produce the original compact disc, the Soundstream signal had to be converted from 50kHz to 44.1kHz, a process that inherently causes a loss of quality – not only by lowering the frequency response but also by the complex mathematical process needed to derive 44.1kHz from 50kHz. The advent of Direct Stream Digital (DSD) and its frequency response of over 100kHz allows the Soundstream tapes to be remastered to DSD, presenting to the listener the true sound of the recording. Not only is the original bandwidth preserved, the sonic artifacts produced by the awkward sample-rate conversion are eliminated as well. The end result is the sound that the recording team intended, even though it had to wait for more than 15 years!”
Each of the three Soundstream SACD reissues features 75 minutes of music. Listening to each, I would agree with Telarc that the new Stereo SACD tracks do provide more definition and clarity to these classic recordings. Of the group, my favorite was the Fennell SACD which has 26 tracks that feature some dramatic moments from the Cleveland Symphonic Winds. The new SACD is very nice indeed.
2 Surround Sound SACDs from Chesky
Telarc is also distributing two more Single Inventory Surround Sound Super Audio CDs from Chesky Records. Both of the new discs were made by Sonopress in Germany. The first is the latest recording and the fourth Surround Sound SACD on Chesky from the Bruckner Orchestra Linz. This SACD is entitled The Essense of Viennese Music: Opera, Operetta and Dance. It features 15 compositions of Viennese Music by Strauss, Mozart, Lehar, Schubert and Kalman including The Blue Danube Waltz.
The other new Surround Sound SACD from Chesky Records is a Retrospective by Christy Baron. It follows a similar collection released on Surround Sound SACD by Chesky awhile back by Rebecca Pidgeon and an earlier SACD release by Christy Baron. The Retrospective includes 15 of Baron’s performances from her three previously released albums on the Chesky label: I Thought About You, Steppin’ (available on SACD as Chesky SACD 227) and Take This Journey.
As with her previous SACD release, Retrospective features a very ambient Surround Sound mix with Baron’s smokey jazz vocals up front and the surround channels used for ambience only. If you like Baron’s singing and her takes on the classic tunes on this album, you’ll want to give it a listen.
The three Telarc Stereo SACDs and the two Chesky Surround Sound SACDs are now available from music stores including Tower Records. They are also available from the Telarc and Chesky web sites as well as the Acoustic Sounds, CD Universe, Elusive Disc and Music Direct web sites.