Universal Releases 3 New SACDs & Plans 14 More [HFR]

Universal Music starts off the new year with the release of three new Surround Sound Super Audio CDs. The new titles include two classical music albums as well as another from rap label Def Jam.

In terms of upcoming titles, Universal has set the release date for their first group of titles from the Mercury Living Presence Series and the U.S. release of a series of Oscar Peterson SACDs now available in Europe and Canada. Finally, they have added several new albums to their upcoming SACD list including the next Diana Krall album.

3 New Super Audio CD Releases
The new SACDs include a performance of Bluebeard’s Castle by Komloszi, Polgar, Fischer, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev and a new rap SACD entitled Soulstar by Musiq. All 3 of the new discs are Hybrid Layer Surround Sound Super Audio CDs that feature SACD Surround Sound, SACD Stereo and CD Stereo versions of the music on each album. They are playable on SACD, CD and SACD compatible DVD Video players.

A note is in order about the Musiq disc. Even though it is a Hybrid Surround Sound SACD, the labeling on the disc suggests that the CD Stereo layer is not present. I checked with the Universal Music New Formats group at their eLabs Division and they confirmed that all three versions of the music on the Musiq album are present. They are looking into fixing the labeling issue on future pressings of this SACD.

  • Komloszi, Polgar, Fischer – Bluebeard’s Castle (Decca Classics B0001514-36)
  • Valery Gergiev, Vienna Philharmonic – Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique (Philips Classics B0001489-36)
  • Musiq – Soulstar (Def Jam B0001616-36)

    The new SACDs by and Musiq are available at Tower Records as well as the Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc and Music Direct web sites. Best Buy stores also have the Surround Sound Super Audio CD disc in stock.

    Initial Release of Mercury Living Presence SACDs
    Last March, Universal’s Classical Music Division asked Classical Music fans if they would be interested in a series of SACDs that reproduced the original 3 track recordings from the well known Mercury Living Presence series. The response was overwhelming and resulted in the selection of 5 titles for the initial release of such a series on Super Audio CD last August.

    The good news is that Universal has now set March 23rd as the expected in-store date for the release of these 5 Super Audio CDs. According to the initial information from the label, 4 of the 5 discs will appear as Hybrid Surround Sound SACDs with the front channels being used to convey the 3 track information. The fifth disc, a solo cello performance of Bach’s Six Suites will be released as a Hybrid Stereo SACD on the same date.

    The use of a Hybrid Surround Sound SACD to carry a 3 track recording was pioneered several years ago on the Vanguard Classics series. It will be interesting to see if these new Decca releases will lead to more such 3 track Surround Super Audio CD releases in the future.

  • Antal Dorati, Philharmonia Hugarica Orchestra – Respighi: Ancient Airs & Dances for Lute (Decca Classics)
  • Antal Dorati, London Symphony Orchestra – Stravinsky: The Firebird (Complete);Tango; Scherzo а la Russe (Decca Classics)
  • Byron Janis, Antal Dorati, London Sympohny Orchestra, Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra – Rachmaninov: Piano Concerti 2 & 3; 2 Preludes (Decca Classics)
  • Paul Paray, Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Suppй: Overtures (+Auber) (Decca Classics)
  • Janos Starker – Bach: Six Suites For Solo Cello (Philips)

    Oscar Peterson SACD Jazz Series Comes to U.S. Market in April
    Last October, Universal’s MPS label released a series of 6 classic jazz albums by Oscar Peterson entitled “Exclusively for My Friends” on Hybrid Stereo SACD in the European market. More recently these SACDs were also made available in Canada.

    This week, Universal Music announced that the 6 Peterson SACDs are now heading for the U.S. market with an expected in-store date of April 6th. The Peterson Hybrid Stereo SACDs will appear in the U.S. on the Verve label and will feature these titles:

  • Oscar Peterson – Exclusively For My Friends, Vol 1: Action (Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson – Exclusively For My Friends, Vol 2: Girl Talk (Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson – Exclusively For My Friends, Vol 3: The Way I Really Play (Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson – Exclusively For My Friends, Vol 4: My Favorite Instrument (Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson – Exclusively For My Friends, Vol 5: Mellow Mood (Verve)
  • Oscar Peterson – Exclusively For My Friends, Vol 6: Travelin’ On (Verve)

    Diana Krall & the Wallflowers Added to Upcoming SACD Release List
    Universal Music’s list of upcoming SACD titles now features the upcoming Diana Krall album (The Girl In The Other Room) and one of her earlier albums (Love Scenes) as well as a return to the list for the Wallflowers’ album entitled Red Letter Days.

    All three are slated to be Hybrid Layer Surround Sound SACD discs. Here’s how the list is shaping up in the next couple of months (excluding the new Living Presence and Oscar Peterson SACD releases listed above):

    February 10, 2004 SACD Releases

  • Ryan Adams – Rock ‘N Roll (Lost Highway)
  • Bon Jovi – This Left Feels Right: Greatest Hits with a Twist (Island)

    February 24, 2004 SACD Release

  • Andreas Scholl – Arcadia (Decca Classics)

    SACD Releases Coming Soon

  • Allman Brothers Band – Eat A Peach (Mercury)
  • Allman Brothers Band – Live At Filmore East (Mercury)
  • Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Blvd. (Polydor)
  • Eric Clapton – Slow Hand (Polydor)
  • John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman – John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (Impulse)
  • Count Basie & His Orchestra – April In Paris (Verve)
  • Derek & the Dominoes – Layla (Polydor)
  • Herbie Hancock – Gershwin’s World (Verve)
  • Joe Henderson – Lush Life: The Music Of Billy Strayhorn (Verve)
  • Shirley Horn – Here’s to Live: Shirley Horn With Strings (Verve)
  • Tonu Kaljuste – Te Deum (ECM)
  • Eleni Karaindrou – Soundtrack: Ulysses’ Gaze (ECM)
  • Diana Krall – Love Scenes (Verve)
  • Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room (Verve)
  • Motley Crьe – Greatest Hits (Hip-O Records)
  • Nana Mouskouri – Nana Swings (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • The Wallflowers – Red Letter Days (Interscope)