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OX BOX #11 - Sibelius, Beethoven, Respighi, Mozart, and More…

Sibelius: Symphonies, #2 in D, Op. 43 and #5 in E flat Op. 82 BIS SACD 1986“I took a considerable length of time listening to and reflecting on the Sibelius 5th. Let me write about it first, as there will be some things as a recording and performance that it shares with the rest. Let’s begin where many classical music reviews finish, with consideration of the sound. From their inception BIS have considered the way they record (with the simplest setups possible) to be as important as what they record. I would contend this is a big reason for their success…”

Hy End - Bruckner, Brahms, & Bang-Bang Lang Lang Liszt, by Hy Sarick

Lang Lang plays Liszt“Here, the showiest of pianists encounters the showiest of composers, and produces a stunning disc of great passion and virtuosity. Lang has been a devotee of Liszt’s work from the age of 2 (!!), since his first encounter with Classical music - Tom & Jerry’s version of the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.…”

Audio Ideas, December 2011 - Recent SACDs, CDs, Blu-rays, & Other Confections (Or Not)!

Peter Gabriel - New Blood“These two titles couldn’t be any different from each other, I’m sure, but they share an excellence of production and execution, and each focuses on a major musical talent whose careers started more than 40 years apart. Chasing Sound is a look at the career and guitar and recording innovations of Les Paul, not to forget his spectacular musical dexterity with the electric guitar he invented. Paired with the irrepressibly pitch-perfect Mary Ford, they became a hit machine in the early 50s, his development of overdub recording the perfect way to showcase her singing and unique harmonies…”

NAD Masters Series Components - Very Classy!

NAD Master's series Detail“NAD has traditionally produced relatively inexpensive audio products, so the Masters Series is more than a step upmarket. Clad in grey and silver cabinets, these components are very elegant. The M3 integrated amplifier is included here, but was reviewed previously by AIG, so I will quote from that review. The tuner and disc player are more recent, and proved to be elegant in operation as well as looks. Let’s start with the M4 tuner…”

OPPO BDP-80 Universal Blu-ray Player

OPPO BDP-80 Universal Blu-ray Player“I was interested in this player as much for its audio capabilities as its video quality. That said, I started my evaluation with our standard Blu-ray and DVD video test discs through the Anthem LTX-500 1080p projector onto our Vutec 92″ pull-up screen. The discs included Joe Kane’s Digital Video Essentials in both Blu-ray and DVD editions, and the FPD Benchmark Software disc. There are tests for colour, resolution, greyscale, geometric performance, and motion artifacts, to mention some of the main criteria…”

AM’s Top 10 Pop/Rock/Folk Surround Discs - SACD, DVD-A, DTS, etc., Part 2

Brothers in Arms“You ain’t heard Money For Nothing until you’ve heard it in 5-channel bedlam! There’s so much going on in the mix that it just picks you up and grabs you by the balls…it’s loud, it’s rude, it’s fantastic! And it’s my favourite crank-the-system song! Of course, it’s the full-length version, not the censored short single…”

AM’s Top 10 Pop/Rock/Folk Surround Discs - SACD, DVD-A, DTS, etc…Part 1

Ray Sings, Basie Swings“This album was a project of Concord records producer John Burk, who discovered the tapes from European concert dates in the Fantasy Records archive that contained these unreleased Norman Granz Pablo masters. Burk had spearheaded Ray’s last great recording project, Genius Loves Company (see below), and saw potential in the great vocals in otherwise unreleasable multitrack tapes…”

SuperSounds: IsoMike in Surround SACD from Kimber Kable

Iso Mike SACD“The artists featured in these two releases, consisting of 3 SACD multichannel/CD hybrid discs, comprise the Fry Street String Quartet, who came to these recording sessions with a string of awards and prizes in their young history. Winners of the Milennium Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the First Prize at the Yellow Springs Competition, and also receiving an award at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Fry Streeters have been a busy bunch. They’re currently in residence as the Faculty Quartet at Utah State’s School of the Arts…”

Hy End: Hy Sarick Reviews New Releases of Music from Sibelius, Vivaldi and Mussorgsky

Sibelius Kullervo (Telarc)

“The Kullervo Symphony was the first large orchestral work attempted by Sibelius. Based on a tragic and quite gruesome story from the collection of epic Finnish tales known as The Kalevala, the work was very successful at its first performance. The work is diffuse and rambling at times with definite echoes of Wagner and Tchaikovsky…”

OPPO DV-980H Universal DVD/SACD Player - Price/Performance PLUS!

Oppo 980 HD“I should point out off the top that this is an audio review, though I may add a sidebar later about its video performance with one of our projectors. But it’s so hard to even countenance its removal from my audio system that I can’t even predict when it might happen, though when that time comes I’ll probably also compare it with the 970HD predecessor model…”

Music Reviews - AM’s Favourite Recent Classical SACDs

Jaarvi“These 3 discs could be said to be a very broad-ranging time-capsule, a sample of 20th Century British music, ranging from the earlier in Elgar to the immediate in MacMillan and Turnage, with Vaughan Williiams and Britten in between. And covering a broad range of time, style, and musical genre along the way is Peter Maxwell-Davies’ delightful and even more dynamic An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise. This is the piece I’m playing for SACD surround demos these days, since it has everything: drama, depth, huge dynamics, dance, and even a bagpipe…”

NAD Masters Series M55 Digital Disc Player and M3 Dual Mono Integrated Amplfier

NAD M3 Integrated Amplifier

“There is no question that they do look quite classic (more so than the previous Classic series they replace), and somewhat permanent, in a rather bank-like manner. Here’s how the elaborate brochure goes on to describe their build quality: “Mechanical construction is to a very high standard to assure a lifetime of trouble free use. With 2mm thick steel panels, combined with extruded aluminum and die cast zinc parts, the chassis forms an incredibly solid foundation to reduce air and structure born [sic] vibration from reaching any sensitive electronic components within. Specialized vibration damping feet employ silicon rubber to further isolate the chassis from vibration…”

OPPO DV-970 Universal DVD/SACD Player

Oppo 970 HD

“A better mousetrap catches more mice, and the designers at OPPO seem to have started with that premise in this product’s development. The DV-970HD catches more design goals in its brief than most of its competitors, ranging from high quality multichannel audio to upsampled video from DVDs, with a surprising number of added features in between, both audio and video.”

Music Reviews - Debussy, Ravel and Ray Montford

Ravel

“It was all but inevitable that later ninetheenth-century French composers would become interested in the Symbolist poets. The Symbolists sought to duplicate in literature the effects of music by using vague images, elusive syntax, and fleeting ideas”, says Jonathan D. Kramer in liner notes for this recording. The famous Prelude was written as a musical equivalent of Mallarme’s poem, Afternoon of a Faun, while Nocturnes evolved from a violin concerto written for virtuoso and composer Eugene Ysaye that was never played…”

Music Reviews - Beethoven, Mozart & Mendelssohn on SACD

Beethoven Piano Concertos

“The piano is quite prominent in this 1974 recording, but what playing! I think I can forgive the Philips engineers for putting Stephen up front and miking the piano to be quite wide. The orchestra is well heard, with a big soundstage and good depth, typical Philips of the period. The string sound is excellent, with a nice texture on violins, violas, and cellos…”

Music Reviews - Bach, Stamitz and Richter on SACD

Bach

“This hybrid SACD features lovely playing, with quite brisk tempi throughout, and a lack of the kind of rubato and general tempo variety offered by my favourite interpreters of this music, the Chamber Orchestra of the Saare under Karl Ristenpart. It just seems a little preoccupied with momentum rather than musicality. But if you don’t know these Suites well, you�ll probably enjoy this recording with its excellent sound quality. The Ristenpart recordings may have been rereleased on CD, but mine are from LP…”

Music Reviews - Ray Brown, John Clayton, Christian McBride: Super Bass (SACD)

Cast your Fate to the Wind

“You might be inclined to pass off this disc, the second live outing for this ad-hoc group, as equivalent to such novelty efforts as Duelling Tubas, but in fact, this is the real thing, three of the best bottom feeders, so to speak, doing things on a bass that you never thought possible, (or even legal, for that matter). Another benefit of this disc, like Dean Peer�s solo electric bass CD, UCross, is that you�ll soon find all the vibrating objects in your listening room; I tightened up the track lights above my speakers this way, and got rid of a long-mysterious rattle…”

Music Reviews - Jazz Impressions Of Black Orpheus/Cast Your Fate to the Wind (SACD)

Cast your Fate to the Wind

“Ah, the memories of being a college DJ, playing those Ahmad Jamal and Vince Guaraldi seduction tunes, interlaced with a little folk music, Johnny Mathis, and so on. Cast Your Fate To The Wind was a huge hit on most charts in the pre-Beatles era, and the album that carried it was originally titled Jazz Impressions Of Black Orpheus, until the single hit the charts…”

Supersounds (Fall 2003) - Classical SACD and CD

Malher Symphony #6 SACD

“This new SACD is to my ears the best Mahler recording ever. Zander’s reading has passion and impulsion, and the sound is simply amazing. The louder you play it, the better it sounds, and I didn’t have the advantage of discrete multichannel, listening through the Pioneer Elite DV-AX10, which preceded 5-channel SACD. However, I’ll take state-of-the-art 2-channel over mediocre multi any time. By the time we finally got to the “hammers of fate” in the finale, I was totally immersed in this immense symphonic conception…”

Supersounds (Fall 2001) Andrew Marshall Listens to some of the first DVD-Audio & SACD Releases

DVD Audio Logo

“After the AES Seminar in May I hunkered down with some DVDs and SACDs (I’ve been collecting the latter for over a year) and started to listen critically to both formats. Multi-channel SACD has only been demonstrated at shows, and players and discs do not yet exist for consumers, but will soon, to the dismay of those who bought 2-chennel players (myself included). DVD-Audio, meanwhile, is trying to be all things for all channels (well, 5 of them at least), and some old 70s masters are being remixed to sound fresher for the new millennium…”


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