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Dutton Epoch Announces 6 Surround Sound SACD Classical Music Releases (October 19, 2019)

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skherbeck

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I ordered four of them (skipped the two with vocals)... after purchasing quite a few of the “classic quad” mixes released by Pentatone, I’ve found I’m just not into opera in surround... so glad to be getting some more D-V albums!
 

fredblue

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I ordered four of them (skipped the two with vocals)... after purchasing quite a few of the “classic quad” mixes released by Pentatone, I’ve found I’m just not into opera in surround... so glad to be getting some more D-V albums!
i'm such a musical peasant, so much opera stuff goes right over my head, unless its this guy i'm like "meh, what's up schmuck!" 🤷‍♀️

 

steelydave

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Also, I've only got one Carmina Burana and I believe it's this DVD-A (never thought it was very discrete), but then it's usually a large choir singing it, so does it really lend itself that well to surround recording in the first place? Unless they somehow mic'd various sections of the choir.
Where's that @steelydave guy been hiding anyway?
So yeah, I better order this new one for sure, especially since the RHAPSODY IN BLUE is included it's just icing on the cake (or a Double Caker -Maybe :LOL:)
I'm here, I'm here!

There's some really cool stuff in this latest batch of Epoch quads, and the Carmina Burana/Gershwin two-fer is probably the one I'm most excited about. A couple of years ago I asked Mike if he might consider doing some of what I called "lowbrow classical" quad releases from the Columbia Masterworks catalog, basically titles that would act like the gateway drug for people like me who don't know much of the genre. I suggested things like the the Bernstein/Holst 'The Planets' and Boulez/Bartok 'Concerto for Orchestra' (to correct the botched Sony SACDs of these titles), along with Carmina Burana. At the time Mike said that they preferred to focus on albums that hadn't been done yet, but with the release of the Boulez/Bartok disc earlier this year, I'm happy to see his stance on the issue has softened.

The reason I suggested Carmina Burana is that aside from having some music on it that's still widely known today, it was also designed from the ground up as a quad recording and no expense was spared as it was something of a prestige release for Columbia - I found some evidence of this in Billboard magazine (not to mention the text on the back of the LP) when I was doing some research on some other titles.

billboard-1974-08-17_carmina_burana.jpg

billboard-1975-02-15_carmina_burana.jpg


(from the back cover of the quad LP)
carminaburana-back-cover.jpg


I also suggested the Gershwin album for similar reasons - his music occupies an interesting place kind of halfway between classical and jazz, and it's really easy to get in to, even for the novice listener. I also found the genesis of the album to be fascinating - Gershwin himself "recorded" these piano rolls, which were basically like punch cards on a spool that could be played back on player pianos, in the 1920s. The makers of this album found one of these piano rolls, and "filled in" the holes that represented the accompaniment parts that Gershwin was playing with his left hand, leaving just the lead playing, and then wrote and an orchestral backing to go along with a playback of the piano roll. My only regret is that this album is so short (not much more than 30 minutes or so) because I believe there are several more of these Gershwin piano rolls that they could've tapped for more content. As I think Jon mentioned upthread, this album was a single-inventory SQ LP release, so this new SACD is the first time the discrete 4-channel master is being heard by the general public. The same goes for the 3rd LP that's part of this package, Beethoven Late Choral Music which (while not a single-inventory disc) was never released on Q8 so this is the first time the discrete master is getting a public airing. I think sjcorne mentioned upthread as well, the Q8 release of Carmina Burana had nearly 10 minutes hacked out of it to fit it on a single Q8 tape, so this will be the first time those 10 minutes are being heard in their discrete glory.

I also wanted to mention the Ormandy/Shostakovitch Symphony 5 & 15 2fer contains a number of bonus tracks. Disc 1 contains the Hary Janos Suite from the same LP ("Two Favorite Musical Fables - Háry János / Lieutenant Kijé" ARL1-1325) that the Lt. Kije bonus track on the Epoch release of Alexander Nevsky (CDLX 7362) was culled from. So if you have the Nevsky disc and buy this disc, you have the complete 'Two Favourite Musical Fables' album, newly mixed to quad by Mr. Dutton. And the 'Incidental Music to Hamlet' bonus tracks on disc 2 are culled from the Arthur Fiedler/Boston Pops album 'Fiedler's Choice' (LSC 3130). The rest of the tracks from this album were bonus tracks on the Vocalion release of the Fiedler/Boston Pops 'Up Up and Away' album (CDLK 4623). So if you have that album, and buy this new one, you'll have the entire 'Fiedler's Choice' album newly mixed to quad by Mike Dutton too. I think this represents incredible value for money, the way they're basically sneaking quad remixes of full albums out the back door as bonus tracks.

And lastly, a couple of the other releases feature more content that was only released in SQ LP format, so they're making their discrete debuts on these releases - on the E. Power Biggs disc, the entire Six Organ Concerto Sinfonias album was a single-inventory quad LP, the Boulez/Guerre-Lieder 2LP (interesting article on the quad recording/mixing here) was SQ only, and the album the Roussel bonus tracks are culled from was a single inventory SQ LP as well. So in this batch there's an absolute wealth of material making it's discrete debut, which I think is exciting in and of itself, not to mention the quality of the rest of the material - I've always liked Appalachian Spring, and mixed by Ray Moore (of "Bitches Brew" quad mix fame) I'm even more intrigued.
 

humprof

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I'm here, I'm here!

There's some really cool stuff in this latest batch of Epoch quads, and the Carmina Burana/Gershwin two-fer is probably the one I'm most excited about. A couple of years ago I asked Mike if he might consider doing some of what I called "lowbrow classical" quad releases from the Columbia Masterworks catalog, basically titles that would act like the gateway drug for people like me who don't know much of the genre. I suggested things like the the Bernstein/Holst 'The Planets' and Boulez/Bartok 'Concerto for Orchestra' (to correct the botched Sony SACDs of these titles), along with Carmina Burana. At the time Mike said that they preferred to focus on albums that hadn't been done yet, but with the release of the Boulez/Bartok disc earlier this year, I'm happy to see his stance on the issue has softened.

The reason I suggested Carmina Burana is that aside from having some music on it that's still widely known today, it was also designed from the ground up as a quad recording and no expense was spared as it was something of a prestige release for Columbia - I found some evidence of this in Billboard magazine (not to mention the text on the back of the LP) when I was doing some research on some other titles.

View attachment 43714
View attachment 43715

(from the back cover of the quad LP)
View attachment 43716

I also suggested the Gershwin album for similar reasons - his music occupies an interesting place kind of halfway between classical and jazz, and it's really easy to get in to, even for the novice listener. I also found the genesis of the album to be fascinating - Gershwin himself "recorded" these piano rolls, which were basically like punch cards on a spool that could be played back on player pianos, in the 1920s. The makers of this album found one of these piano rolls, and "filled in" the holes that represented the accompaniment parts that Gershwin was playing with his left hand, leaving just the lead playing, and then wrote and an orchestral backing to go along with a playback of the piano roll. My only regret is that this album is so short (not much more than 30 minutes or so) because I believe there are several more of these Gershwin piano rolls that they could've tapped for more content. As I think Jon mentioned upthread, this album was a single-inventory SQ LP release, so this new SACD is the first time the discrete 4-channel master is being heard by the general public. The same goes for the 3rd LP that's part of this package, Beethoven Late Choral Music which (while not a single-inventory disc) was never released on Q8 so this is the first time the discrete master is getting a public airing. I think sjcorne mentioned upthread as well, the Q8 release of Carmina Burana had nearly 10 minutes hacked out of it to fit it on a single Q8 tape, so this will be the first time those 10 minutes are being heard in their discrete glory.

I also wanted to mention the Ormandy/Shostakovitch Symphony 5 & 15 2fer contains a number of bonus tracks. Disc 1 contains the Hary Janos Suite from the same LP ("Two Favorite Musical Fables - Háry János / Lieutenant Kijé" ARL1-1325) that the Lt. Kije bonus track on the Epoch release of Alexander Nevsky (CDLX 7362) was culled from. So if you have the Nevsky disc and buy this disc, you have the complete 'Two Favourite Musical Fables' album, newly mixed to quad by Mr. Dutton. And the 'Incidental Music to Hamlet' bonus tracks on disc 2 are culled from the Arthur Fiedler/Boston Pops album 'Fiedler's Choice' (LSC 3130). The rest of the tracks from this album were bonus tracks on the Vocalion release of the Fiedler/Boston Pops 'Up Up and Away' album (CDLK 4623). So if you have that album, and buy this new one, you'll have the entire 'Fiedler's Choice' album newly mixed to quad by Mike Dutton too. I think this represents incredible value for money, the way they're basically sneaking quad remixes of full albums out the back door as bonus tracks.

And lastly, a couple of the other releases feature more content that was only released in SQ LP format, so they're making their discrete debuts on these releases - on the E. Power Biggs disc, the entire Six Organ Concerto Sinfonias album was a single-inventory quad LP, the Boulez/Guerre-Lieder 2LP (interesting article on the quad recording/mixing here) was SQ only, and the album the Roussel bonus tracks are culled from was a single inventory SQ LP as well. So in this batch there's an absolute wealth of material making it's discrete debut, which I think is exciting in and of itself, not to mention the quality of the rest of the material - I've always liked Appalachian Spring, and mixed by Ray Moore (of "Bitches Brew" quad mix fame) I'm even more intrigued.
Great to see you back on the boards, Dave, especially with so many great links & attachments and so much insider info.

This is indeed an amazing batch of releases. Got my shipping confirmation this a.m.; just hope the power is back on here by the time they arrive. (This is my first-ever post via Tapatalk...)

Sent from my Moto E (4) using Tapatalk
 

ubertrout

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Okay, wow. I was away for a few days. Just wow. Ordering all six, of course.

Another way of looking at this - DV is reissuing 11 Quad LPs, two double quad LPs, and half of a quad LP, along with a new quad mix of a stereo LP (both halves completing LPs released earlier). This is 16 quad LPs being reissued in one shot.

The Carmina Burana et al disc is the obvious first choice for people who aren't classical fans. I actually didn't understand the programming at first - Carmina Burana, the Gershwin disc, and the Beethoven late choral music aren't obvious pairings. But I realized that this disc is, in effect, the complete MTT quadraphonic recordings for Columbia. Given that Pentatone issued his recording of the Rite of Spring as a quad SACD a few years back, I think we've now been given essentially his entire output in quad.

Copland recorded Appalachian Spring several times, including for RCA and Columbia (which was released as a stereo SACD). But those releases were always of the orchestral version. The recording being reissued here is of the version for 13 musicians he composed for the premiere of the piece as a ballet before he orchestrated it. As far as I can tell it may have never been released in any digital format before, which doesn't sound right but could be.
 

humprof

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Okay, wow. I was away for a few days. Just wow. Ordering all six, of course.

Another way of looking at this - DV is reissuing 11 Quad LPs, two double quad LPs, and half of a quad LP, along with a new quad mix of a stereo LP (both halves completing LPs released earlier). This is 16 quad LPs being reissued in one shot.

The Carmina Burana et al disc is the obvious first choice for people who aren't classical fans. I actually didn't understand the programming at first - Carmina Burana, the Gershwin disc, and the Beethoven late choral music aren't obvious pairings. But I realized that this disc is, in effect, the complete MTT quadraphonic recordings for Columbia. Given that Pentatone issued his recording of the Rite of Spring as a quad SACD a few years back, I think we've now been given essentially his entire output in quad.

Copland recorded Appalachian Spring several times, including for RCA and Columbia (which was released as a stereo SACD). But those releases were always of the orchestral version. The recording being reissued here is of the version for 13 musicians he composed for the premiere of the piece as a ballet before he orchestrated it. As far as I can tell it may have never been released in any digital format before, which doesn't sound right but could be.
Thanks for doing the math, @ubertrout -- and for working out that this constitutes the complete Columbia MTT.

As for Appalachian Spring: in 1978, Sound 80, an audiophile label out of Minneapolis, issued a direct-to-disc digital recording with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra under Dennis Russell Davies. (I still have it.) It was on vinyl, though--donno if that counts.

Sent from my Moto E (4) using Tapatalk
 

JonUrban

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I am not a classical guy by any stretch, but I am in on the Gershwin, and since I could not let that poor SACD travel by itself across the pond, I added the E Power Biggs to the order for its company. Now I can be "High Brow" when I feel like it!

Thanks Michael.
 

ubertrout

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Thanks for doing the math, @ubertrout -- and for working out that this constitutes the complete Columbia MTT.

As for Appalachian Spring: in 1978, Sound 80, an audiophile label out of Minneapolis, issued a direct-to-disc digital recording with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra under Dennis Russell Davies. (I still have it.) It was on vinyl, though--donno if that counts.

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To clarify, other digital versions exist, but this one has not been reissued on CD as far as I can tell, which is crazy.
 

humprof

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To clarify, other digital versions exist, but this one has not been reissued on CD as far as I can tell, which is crazy.
Oh--I get you now. (I thought by "it" you meant any recording of the original chamber version rather than this "Copland Conducts Copland" one.) Yeah; I can't find the Copland version on Discogs, either. FWIW, the St. Paul CO/Davies version was eventually issued on CD...
 

artwwweb

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I'm not much of a classical fan, so I must admit I won't be buying this disc, but I know DV make great products so I did some investigation. I came across this fascinating contemporary article on the recording of Gurrelieder which I thought was worth sharing: https://stereosociety.com/gurrelieder/ . It certainly looks like a lot of thought was put in to making this a quality quad recording.
 

ubertrout

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I'm not much of a classical fan, so I must admit I won't be buying this disc, but I know DV make great products so I did some investigation. I came across this fascinating contemporary article on the recording of Gurrelieder which I thought was worth sharing: https://stereosociety.com/gurrelieder/ . It certainly looks like a lot of thought was put in to making this a quality quad recording.
You really know no delivery mechanism from the 70s, except perhaps RTR, could handle properly reproducing a massive work like the Gurrelieder with the kind of fidelity it requires - really curious to see the dynamic range we get from DV. The Roussel Symphony No. 3 is a lovely piece - Albert Roussel is a bit forgotten nowadays but he was an important French composer in the impressionist school along with Debussy - he was more popular in the 60s and 70s, and Bernstein also recorded his 3rd Symphony for Columbia. Both pieces are squarely in the tonal tradition (unlikely most of what Schoenberg wrote) and very listenable.
 

ubertrout

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I am not a classical guy by any stretch, but I am in on the Gershwin, and since I could not let that poor SACD travel by itself across the pond, I added the E Power Biggs to the order for its company. Now I can be "High Brow" when I feel like it!

Thanks Michael.
By all means feel highbrow, but the first half of the Biggs disc is really meant to be a fun record and quad spectacular. The mix is by Larry Keyes, who also did a lot of pop records. The second half on the other hand is Bach and perhaps more serious - but also equal parts beauty and architecture in music.
 

humprof

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I'm not much of a classical fan, so I must admit I won't be buying this disc, but I know DV make great products so I did some investigation. I came across this fascinating contemporary article on the recording of Gurrelieder which I thought was worth sharing: https://stereosociety.com/gurrelieder/ . It certainly looks like a lot of thought was put in to making this a quality quad recording.
That's a fascinating piece. Assuming Dutton found it when they were putting the album together; it would be perfect as a liner-note essay.
 

ubertrout

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Kind of fun to catalog what's in this batch - as mentioned, it's a lot:

No Prior Authorized CD Release

Previous CD release

Notes
The Háry János Suite is the only part from Two Musical Fables, the rest was previously reissued by DV - also as a Japanese Stereo SACD
The Hamlet Suite is the only part fromFiedler's Choice, the rest was previously reissued by DV.
La Péri by Paul Dukas was the original coupling with the Roussel Symphony No. 3, it's not included here.
 
Last edited:

humprof

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That's a fascinating piece. Assuming Dutton found it when they were putting the album together; it would be perfect as a liner-note essay.
Actually, all of the quad-related pieces on that site make for good reading. (There's no separate page for those pieces, though, and it's even hard to find them from the site's front page; you basically have to access them through the navigation bar that appears at the head of each of the essays.)

Hey @JonUrban : have a look, and maybe include a link to the site in the "Surround Sound Links" sidebar? It's Mike Thorne's "Stereo Society," but despite the label name, he's obviously been a knowledgeable surround man for a good long time. (Sorry if Thorne is already a well-known entity in these parts; I hadn't known about him before now.)

Of course I like his thoughts on the "ambient vs. surround" debate regarding classical quad (in "An appraisal of the musical possibilities of quadraphony, and some speculation about potential future developments" from 1974):

With the stages of their development up to stereo, so-called-classical recordings were ostensibly documentary. They purported to convey the impression of the music being performed at a concert. We must reappraise our expectations of the quadraphonic medium. We anticipate that it will be capable of giving the illusion of a sound source placed at any point around us. On record, one can argue that Beethoven can be represented, as a documentary of a concert that might have happened. The record is a good attempt at recreation. The alternative is to view his music as presented on a gramophone record, and in this light the conflict between record and concert hall performance disappears. Each stands in its own right, and each takes the original score at its starting point. The record thus ceases to be a poor relation of the concert, and the concert will not be a disappointment in technical comparison with records.
But in addition to commenting on a variety of classical quads (including Boulez Conducts Bartok and several of the pieces in the new batch of Dutton-Epochs), in that essay he discusses everything from Sergeant Pepper to the Moody Blues to Sly Stone to Pink Floyd to Gamble & Huff.
 
Last edited:

4-earredwonder

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Kind of fun to catalog what's in this batch - as mentioned, it's a lot:

No Prior Authorized CD Release

Previous CD release

Notes
The Háry János Suite is the only part from Two Musical Fables, the rest was previously reissued by DV - also as a Japanese Stereo SACD
The Hamlet Suite is the only part fromFiedler's Choice, the rest was previously reissued by DV.
La Péri by Paul Dukas was the original coupling with the Roussel Symphony No. 3, it's not included here.
Ubertrout, you weren't kidding when you stated that the recent batch of 6 Classical SACDs from D~V was the equivalent of almost 16 LPs. Wow. GREAT 'super' sleuthing...and in Superior sound, as well!
 

soundboy

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Will be ordering Michael Tilson Thomas and E. Power Biggs SACD at the minimum.

I work a block from Michael Tilson Thomas' office (aka Davies Symphony Hall) and he's a "rock star" in San Francisco. He is also getting the Kennedy Center Honors in December, along side Linda Ronstadt, Sally Fields, the TV program "Sesame Street", and Earth, Wind and Fire.
 
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