Universal Music Adds 6 Classical SACDs to July Release Schedule

Universal Music has added 6 new Classical Music Super Audio CDs to their upcoming release list. The new SACDs are all shown with an in store availability date of July 12th. The SACDs follow a number of Classical Music releases during April and May from the Archiv, Decca Classics, Deutsche Grammophon and Philips Classics labels of the Universal Music Group. Here’s more information on the SACD release activity at Universal Music.

6 Upcoming Classical Music SACDs
According to the Universal Music Group’s U.S. operation, 6 more Super Audio CDs will be arriving in U.S. music stores on July 12th. These SACDs include performances by Marc Minkowski conducting Les Musiciens du Louvre, pianist Nelson Freire, Vladimir Ashkenazy performing music by Rachmaninov, Claudio Abbado & the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra performing Mahler’s 6th Symphony, organist Olivier Latry’s performance of Organ Works by Franck and Mitsuko Uchida & Mark Steinberg performing Piano and Violin Sonatas composed by Mozart.

High Fidelity Review readers will not be surprised to hear that 5 of these 6 Super Audio CDs were released in Europe earlier this month – with the sixth SACD, Olivier Latry’s Organ Works, due out on June 13th in Europe. The release pattern is a now familiar one for Classical SACDs and recognizes the significant number of SACDs that either originate in Europe or enjoy more popularity in that market than in the U.S.

July 12, 2005 SACD Releases

  • Marc Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre – Rameau: Une Symphonie Imaginaire (Archiv/Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Nelson Freire, Piano – Chopin: Sonata 2; Etudes Op. 10; Barcarolle (Decca Classics)
  • Vladimir Ashkenazy, Piano – Rachmaninov: Moments Musicaux (Decca Classics)
  • Claudio Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra – Mahler: Symphony 6 (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Olivier Latry, Organ – Franck: In Spiritum: Organ Works (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Mitsuko Uchida, Piano & Mark Steinberg, Violin – Mozart: Piano & Violin Sonatas (Philips Classics)

    12 Classical SACD Releases in April and May
    While U.S. Classical Music fans await the 6 SACDs mentioned above, I should note that Universal Music has been busy in the last two months releasing 12 Super Audio CDs here. In April, we saw Surround Sound SACDs by pianists Lang Lang and Yundi Li arrive on April 12th followed by two more Surround Sound SACDs featuring Valery Gergiev conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky Symphonies 4 & 6 a week later on April 19th.

    That was followed on May 10th by the release of 5 more 3 Channel Stereo SACDs in the excellent Mercury Living Presence SACD series along with 3 new Surround Sound SACDs by Giuliano Carmignola & the Venice Baroque Orchestra, pianist Alfred Brendel performing Piano Sonatas by Mozart and an album entitled Transformations that featured classical guitarist Kaori Muraji playing a variety of pop and classical compositions.

    The new Mercury Living Presence 3 Channel SACDs proved the equal of the 10 earlier releases in that series. I picked up copies of Antal Dorati & the London Symphony Orchestra performing Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies and Frederick Fennell & the Eastman Wind Ensemble’s “Screamers” Marching Band SACDs. The Dorati SACD featured some fine performances and nice sonics from that era on the familiar Hungarian Rhapsodies while the Screamers Marching Band SACD brought the sound of the marching band right into my listening room.

    Also worth a mention is the Transformations Surround Sound SACD by Kaori Muraji. The disc features a very ambient Surround Sound mix with some very nice guitar playing in the front channels on a wide variety of material including Toru Takemitsu’s arrangements of 4 Beatles songs and several guitar duets with Sting’s guitarist Dominic Miller. The duets include two arrangements by Takemitsu as well as two compositions by Sting – La Belle Dame and Fragile. If you’re in the mood for some nice, mellow guitar music, this may be an SACD to look for.

    Here’s a look at the Universal Music Classical Music SACD releases from April and May in the U.S. market:

    April 12, 2005 SACD Releases

  • Lang Lang, Pianist, Valery Gergiev, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre – Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2, Paganini Rhapsody (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Yundi Li, Pianist – Chopin: Scherzi, Impromptus 1-3 (Deutsche Grammophon)

    April 19, 2005 SACD Releases

  • Valery Gergiev, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 (Philips Classics)
  • Valery Gergiev, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 (Philips Classics)

    May 10, 2005 SACD Releases – New Titles

  • Andrea Marcon, Giuliano Carmignola, Venice Baroque Orchestra – Concerto Veneziano (Vivaldi, Locatello, Tartini) (Archiv/Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Kaori Muraji & Dominic Miller – Transformations (Decca Classics)
  • Alfred Brendel – Mozart: Piano Sonatas K281, K282 and K576 (Philips Classics)

    May 10, 2005 SACD Releases – Mercury Living Presence 3-Channel Stereo SACD Remasters

  • Antal Dorati, London Symphony Orchestra – Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsodies No. 1-6 & Enesco: Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1 (Mercury Living Presence)
  • Frederick Fennell, Eastman Wind Ensemble – Screamers: Circus Marches by Goldman & Others (Mercury Living Presence)
  • Byron Janis, Kyril Kondrashin, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra – Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 & Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1 (Mercury Living Presence)
  • Janos Starker, Antal Dorati, London Symphony Orchestra – Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B Minor, Bruch: Kol Nidrei & Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme (Mercury Living Presence)
  • Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra – Balalaika Favorites (Mercury Living Presence)

    The Classical Music Surround Sound SACDs from Universal Music released in April and May are now available for purchase at music stores in the U.S. including Tower Records. They are also available at U.S. web sites that carry Super Audio CD discs including Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc and Music Direct.

    The new Surround Sound SACDs each carry a list price of $18.98. Also, be sure to check the regular CD bins for these titles, as music stores that carry Classical Music are now often stocking new Classical SACDs in the regular bins vs. in the Audiophile and SACD areas of the stores.