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Boulez Conducts Bartok- "Concerto For Orchestra" (MQ/MAQ 32132): Q8 Vs. Sony SACD

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ubertrout

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There were a handful of Columbia Masterworks quad releases where the Q8 version was truncated - it seems like the physical upper limit of Q8 tape (as you can see in @sjcorne 's photo above) was somewhere between 49 and 50 minutes (which would've been about 100 minutes in stereo) so they edited the tape down rather than put it on two 30 minute tapes which I guess wouldn't have been cost effective given the lower sales of classical Q8's.

Aside from the E. Power Biggs mentioned above, the other ones I've found that are shortened are:

Michael Tilson-Thomas/Cleveland Orchestra 'Carmina Burana' (QAX 33172)
Leonard Bernstein 'Candide - Original Cast Recording' (QSA 32923)
Pierre Boulez/NY Philharmonic 'Boulez Conducts Wagner' (MAQ 32296)
Pierre Boulez/NY Philharmonic 'Bartok: Miraculous Mandarin' (MAQ 31368) [omits the 'Dance Suite' entirely]
Daniel Barenboim/London Philharmonic 'Elgar: Pomp & Circumstance Marches / Crown of India Suite' (MAQ 32936) [omits 'Imperial March Op. 32' entirely]
Daniel Barenboim/London Philharmonic 'Elgar: Falstaff (MAQ 32599) [omits 'Cockaigne Overture, Op. 40' entirely]

This isn't an exhaustive list, but I think it's the majority of them.
How scandalous! I don't have a particular problem with omitting discrete pieces, actually, but cutting Carmina Burana down should have been a no-no. Seems this was discussed here too: https://www.quadraphonicquad.com/forums/index.php?threads/q8s-that-were-butchered-by-the-fine-folks-at-columbia-records.14329/ by @ArmyOfQuad

I guess D-V should really release that Carmina Burana, given that there's no discrete versions available whatsoever... :) (here's a review for the unconvinced, of the stereo version: https://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-12621/)

I'm guessing Candide is the 1974 cast and not the original from 1956?
 

humprof

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How scandalous! I don't have a particular problem with omitting discrete pieces, actually, but cutting Carmina Burana down should have been a no-no. Seems this was discussed here too: https://www.quadraphonicquad.com/forums/index.php?threads/q8s-that-were-butchered-by-the-fine-folks-at-columbia-records.14329/ by @ArmyOfQuad

I guess D-V should really release that Carmina Burana, given that there's no discrete versions available whatsoever... :) (here's a review for the unconvinced, of the stereo version: https://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-12621/)

I'm guessing Candide is the 1974 cast and not the original from 1956?
Candide is indeed the 1974 cast. (I scored an unopened copy of the 2-disc SQLP a couple of years ago, and another QQ member kindly did a digital transfer for me. It's good fun, and a fairly active mix.)


Would love for Michael Dutton to release any of recordings under discussion here, but especially Candide and MTT's Carmina Burana.
 

fredblue

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How scandalous! I don't have a particular problem with omitting discrete pieces, actually, but cutting Carmina Burana down should have been a no-no. Seems this was discussed here too: https://www.quadraphonicquad.com/forums/index.php?threads/q8s-that-were-butchered-by-the-fine-folks-at-columbia-records.14329/ by @ArmyOfQuad

I guess D-V should really release that Carmina Burana, given that there's no discrete versions available whatsoever... :) (here's a review for the unconvinced, of the stereo version: https://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-12621/)

I'm guessing Candide is the 1974 cast and not the original from 1956?
oh i'd love Carmina Burana! it'd do good business for DV i reckon, maybe it'll be in the next batch? it feels like we're overdue some Classical "surround spectaculars"! i have a vague recollection there's a Japanese CD of it that is said to be the SQ Quad maybe?
 

ubertrout

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oh i'd love Carmina Burana! it'd do good business for DV i reckon, maybe it'll be in the next batch? it feels like we're overdue some Classical "surround spectaculars"! i have a vague recollection there's a Japanese CD of it that is said to be the SQ Quad maybe?
There's surprisingly few - only four in multichannel, of which two are fake surround and two are nice but not that discrete: https://www.hraudio.net/recordings.php?work=1900. Musically, the MTT version is superior to any of them.
 

sjcorne

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I personally love doing this stuff. I'm hoping to get to the others (particularly E. Power Biggs' Four Toccatas and The Planets) at some point, though the Q8s are rather scarce.
I’ve recently managed to add the Bernstein/NY Philharmonic Planets Q8 to my collection, so--to continue the ongoing discussion about Sony’s questionable treatment of ‘70s CBS classical quad recordings--let’s see how the tape stacks up against the Sony SACD (thanks again to a kind fellow member for providing the SACD files). The Q8 appears louder only because I recorded it into my DAW at a higher volume.

Q8:
Planets Q8.jpg


SACD:
Planets SACD.jpg


It’s not really evident in the waveform picture, but on the Q8 there are frequently organ and harp parts isolated in the rear channels. If you mute the rears, you can only hear a faint ghosting of them. While A/B'ing the same sections from both sources, I kept noticing that those two instruments were either buried or missing entirely on the SACD.

In “Mars”, there are loud organ blasts from the rears doubling the crescendos from around 1:00 to 2:00. During the same section on the SACD, you can’t hear the organ at all.

About halfway through “Saturn”, there’s a cool moment where different harp parts sort of ‘ping’ back-and-forth in the rears while the fronts are nearly silent. On the SACD, there’s barely anything happening there.

This leads me to believe--as @ubertrout has surmised in the past--that the multichannel program on the SACD was created by upmixing solely the front channels of the quad mix. So not only do you get a conservative surround mix, but there are entire instruments missing from the performance as well.

One really odd thing I noticed with the Q8 is that during the second track, “Venus”, the left rear channel suddenly drops out to near-silence towards the beginning of the piece, then suddenly pops back in during the crescendo around four minutes in. I recorded the tape twice with different equipment and got the same result, so I’m left wondering if this is some kind of duplication error?

Venus Q8 Intro.jpg


The only other issues I had with the tape are that parts of "Neptune" are buried in hiss and “Jupiter” is split over the two programs. Here's to hoping Dutton can rescue this title as he did with the Bartok Concerto. Larry Keyes' quad mix is brilliant and deserves to be heard in the best possible quality.
 

ssully

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Is this SACD with Britten and Holst? If so it got two rave reviews on SA-CD.net. Which is funny, if in fact the SACD is just a upmix of front channels. (Have to wonder if these people really knew what they were listening to, if so)

 

sjcorne

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Is this SACD with Britten and Holst? If so it got two rave reviews on SA-CD.net. Which is funny, if in fact the SACD is just a upmix of front channels. (Have to wonder if these people really knew what they were listening to, if so)
Yep, that's the one. Had I not heard the Q8 first, I'm not sure I would've noticed anything was missing either. The first reviewer didn't mention the multichannel layer in their review, so maybe the SACD is still worthwhile for the stereo layer?
 
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