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The classical music general discussion thread

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ubertrout

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Is there any decent multichannel recording of Gustav Holst: the Planets?.
Tons - for vintage Steinberg/Boston (on DG, Quad Blu-Ray Audio) is a good vintage choice, as is Previn on DTS CD or DVD-Audio (although only the DTS CD is the proper quad mix).
For modern Andrew Davis on Chandos is a good option, HRAudio lists options here: HRAudio.net - Recordings

Also a good option, but frequently forgotten, if you have video as well hooked up - the audio is 2/496 5.1:
 

humprof

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The Planets conducted by Susskind has a more dynamic presentation in multichannel than most. Fwiw, it's quad. But as an OOP release that commands big bucks these days, I wouldn't rush out to buy it myself.

Agreed. (And I have a soft spot for that one: I used to have a dbx-encoded LP of it, which I played over an early consumer dbx decoder. Unfortunately I had no quad setup.)

The Previn/LSO version that @jonmchugh mentions is even more dynamic (and less "dry"); it's one of those "Big Ambiance" quads. The SQ-encoded FLAC may have better fidelity overall, but the 1998 DTS-CD or the 2001 DVD-A should have better separation, and the DVD-A can still be had for a song. (I assume @ubertrout, below, means that the DVD-A has a 5.0 "derivation" of the original quad mix, rather than the quad proper?)

That "Peter's Planets" site is crazy and beautiful, by the way: a fanatical-obsessive labor of love!


 
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jonmchugh

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Agreed. (And I have a soft spot for that one: I used to have a dbx-encoded LP of it, which I played over an early consumer dbx decoder. Unfortunately I had no quad setup.)

The Previn/LSO version that @jonmchugh mentions is even more dynamic (and less "dry"); it's one of those "Big Ambiance" quads. The SQ-encoded FLAC may have better fidelity overall, but the 1998 DTS-CD or the 2001 DVD-A should have better separation, and the DVD-A can still be had for a song. (I assume @ubertrout means that the DVD-A has a 5.0 "adaptation" of the original quad mix, rather than the quad proper?)


The DTS-CD has been upmixed to 5.1, Its a very similar mix to the SQ version, I would not be surprised if it is derived from an SQ decode. The DVD-A version is very different, The rears are not very active and might be just an electronically created reverb effect, I don't have any real facts, Only the HD download (SQ encoded) link posted above, sounds the best and the DTS-CD is second place.
 

4-earredwonder

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I always had a fondness for Sir Adrian Boult's Planets with the London Ambrosian Singers from 1967

 

shokhead

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Looking for a SACD in surround of some kind of classical hits or G Hits. Something like the hits non classical music lovers may even have heard. An example, everyone knows the 1812 Overture.
 

ubertrout

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Looking for a SACD in surround of some kind of classical hits or G Hits. Something like the hits non classical music lovers may even have heard. An example, everyone knows the 1812 Overture.
I'm not aware of any "Classical Thunder" type releases of the kind you see sometimes on CD, but this is a good bet for the 1812 overture - note that the dynamic range is extreme in the last few minutes when the cannons come in - be careful.

 

halbroome

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Tomita will always be my PLANETS fave, and yes, I know how the family feels. Sorry. It just seems perfectly made for an electronic version.

Then, there's always King Crimson's bowdlerized excerpt on IN THE WAKE OF POSEIDON, but IIRC it's an upmix.
 

JediJoker

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One more follow-up to the earlier "Planetary" discussion: Tom Huizinga argues that we should pay more attention to Holst's "St. Paul's Suite":

Yes, a delightful piece.
Agreed. Dunno about multichannel, but I quite like the performance/recording on this record. The rest is good, too. The CD release I have is not listed on Discogs, oddly, and unfortunately appears to be OOP.
 

bktouchstone

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WOW! That could be pretty cool if done right. 😇 Do let us know what you think of it.

I found this Blu-Ray.com review on their website.


Hmm...I might not be able to wait
For me, there are two parts to this, the documentary and the music. The documentary itself discusses the acoustics and design esthetic of the Hagia Sophia, the work of (I think) Stanford acoustic reconstructionists (I don't recall the word they used for it but think of it as a sort of acoustic archeology) and the work of the Capella Romana group to perform Eastern Orthodox chants, some of which were written to be sung in the Hagia Sophia itself. A couple of things come to mind. First, modern notations are a relatively late invention, and it would be interesting to know how the group resurrected the melodies, harmonies, meter, etc. for this. It would have been interesting to go into the music research a little further and perhaps some forum members know the answers to some of my questions - if so, please share. I am guessing without any authoritative reference that an Eastern Orthodox choir performance was probably all male, though Capella Romana has female members. Let's just call it old music with modern instruments, but I am sure an all male choir would sound different, especially on the soprano parts. The structure itself is ancient, have the acoustics changed over time, and if so then how? Lastly, the church could hold 16,000 worshippers and I would guess that all those bodies absorb some of the sound.

Religion and state were intertwined in the Byzantine Empire, and one of the difficulties of archeology is knowing how people of an era thought. Being a massive port, citizens of Constantinople would have some idea of what was going on in the rest of the world, but it would not be complete or in real time. They might not know a war was going badly until the enemy showed up at the walls, or a hostile fleet was observed off the coast. A lot of information would seem reverberant, composed of a small amount of fact filtered and changed through the medium of the public with a lot of rumor and guesswork, which is one reason I find the reverberant nature of the Hagia Sophia so fascinating. Things which can't be known, only felt, but a time in which feeling could pass as knowledge.

There is a philosophical discussion. The name Hagia Sophia means "holy wisdom" and the design of the original cathedral was intended to present the Orthodox faith as an abstraction in sight as well as sound (there were originally no physical depictions of Christ, etc) which would encourage contemplation of Christianity (I recall that when the cathedral was built - around 550 - the church had yet to split into Catholic and Eastern Orthodox). The documentary does an excellent job illustrating how the light, art, architecture and reverb would combine to present a superbly meditative environment.

The documentary goes into some of the technical aspects involved in recreating the acoustics of the Hagia Sophia and some of the challenges encountered. I was intrigued that they were able to achieve separate recreations of the acoustics from where the priest would have sung, versus the choir, which would be in a different location.

Based on a first listen. Don't have atmos (yet!) so listened to the DTS master audio. The sound quality is superb, but since it is a choir and voices only the best I can say is that they are rendered very well - it should not be a challenge to most surround systems. In many of the selections, a low bass drone provides a foundation over which a chanted melody floats. Given the 10-12 second reverb, the effect is mesmerizing and in some passages quite moving. In summary, I think this is an impressive achievement in technology, archeology, music research and performance. I will return to this many times, especially on Sunday.
 

mwhealton

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For me, there are two parts to this, the documentary and the music. The documentary itself discusses the acoustics and design esthetic of the Hagia Sophia, the work of (I think) Stanford acoustic reconstructionists (I don't recall the word they used for it but think of it as a sort of acoustic archeology) and the work of the Capella Romana group to perform Eastern Orthodox chants, some of which were written to be sung in the Hagia Sophia itself. A couple of things come to mind. First, modern notations are a relatively late invention, and it would be interesting to know how the group resurrected the melodies, harmonies, meter, etc. for this. It would have been interesting to go into the music research a little further and perhaps some forum members know the answers to some of my questions - if so, please share. I am guessing without any authoritative reference that an Eastern Orthodox choir performance was probably all male, though Capella Romana has female members. Let's just call it old music with modern instruments, but I am sure an all male choir would sound different, especially on the soprano parts. The structure itself is ancient, have the acoustics changed over time, and if so then how? Lastly, the church could hold 16,000 worshippers and I would guess that all those bodies absorb some of the sound.
Quick reply before I go into class (remotely of course): As to the high voices, somewhere in the (really detailed) booklet I think I read that the singers at Hagia Sophia included eunuchs. Or maybe that was in a review somewhere. So, using female singers today is an approximation of that, I guess. And an effective one I think.
 

bktouchstone

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Quick reply before I go into class (remotely of course): As to the high voices, somewhere in the (really detailed) booklet I think I read that the singers at Hagia Sophia included eunuchs. Or maybe that was in a review somewhere. So, using female singers today is an approximation of that, I guess. And an effective one I think.
Makes sense. They did that in Rome too as I recall from my history. Imagine the dinner table discussion for that one. "Um...the bishop came by today Ignacio (pass the beets, please) and he really likes your singing and wants you to stay on at the choir. But there's a problem. Well, two of them actually...anyway the pay is decent..."
 

Lute

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3A30917D-3732-4DEC-B690-E3DE45285967.jpeg


8826BA18-4590-4A6F-BC00-39F318863908.jpeg


J.S. Bach: A New Angle (organ works)

Here‘s an interesting release from MDG. To recreate the sound inside the Martinikerk, the surround mix places the 2 organs of the cathedral separately in the front and rear channels. The main Schnitger organ is in the front, while the smaller Le Picard organ is in the rear channels. Only one organ is played at a time. The organs don’t play simultaneously. “Le Picard” is played on 5,7,8, and 9. The other pieces are played on the larger Schnitger organ.

Of course it would have been nice if they could have played together to create a truly immersive surround experience. I suppose the size difference of these 2 organs made this difficult to properly pull off. Having said that, this is still a delightful recital of various works by Bach arranged for organ. Warmly recommended!

The following is from MDG’s website:

“Spacial distribution
... Elaborately produced for multichannel playback on Super Audio CD, this new release is a delight with its three-dimensional, high-resolution sound, which allows the spatial distribution of the two instruments to be experienced embedded in the cathedral sound of the Gothic church.”

 

humprof

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Sono Lumina Ensemble DAHL, MARTINU, HUSA [ISOMIKE/multi~ch SACD] One forgets how awesome Ray Kimber's ISOMIKE recordings sound. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED




Thanks for posting this, Ralph. I see that the SACD is still available from the ensemble's CDBaby page for $24. (Hurry, though: CDBaby recently announced that although it was planning to stay in the music distribution business, it would shutter its online store soon.)

I'd completely forgotten about the IsoMike label, which I stumbled onto a year or so ago via the Fry Street Quartet's Beethoven album. (They also have a Haydn album and a third album with selections by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Ned Rorem, and I forget who else.) Interesting recording technique, though with results nowhere near as discrete as, say, Tacet. Much of the back catalogue can still be had from the label's store, although some of the titles are available much cheaper elsewhere (CDBaby, Discogs, etc.).
 

4-earredwonder

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Thanks for posting this, Ralph. I see that the SACD is still available from the ensemble's CDBaby page for $24. (Hurry, though: CDBaby recently announced that although it was planning to stay in the music distribution business, it would shutter its online store soon.)

I'd completely forgotten about the IsoMike label, which I stumbled onto a year or so ago via the Fry Street Quartet's Beethoven album. (They also have a Haydn album and a third album with selections by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Ned Rorem, and I forget who else.) Interesting recording technique, though with results nowhere near as discrete as, say, Tacet. Much of the back catalogue can still be had from the label's store, although some of the titles are available much cheaper elsewhere (CDBaby, Discogs, etc.).
Actually, humprof, AmazonUS has a better price [new and used]:


A list of ISOMIKE titles courtesy of hraudio.net:


BTW, I just placed an order for this ISOMIKE multi~ch SACD based on 3 stellar reviews from hraudio.net:

 
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humprof

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Actually, humprof, AmazonUS has a better price [new and used]:

Always loath to pass up a bargain, and yet--and I'm not trying to "virtue-signal" here--with gigs and festivals cancelled indefinitely, I'd rather put money into the pockets of the musicians (rather than a third-party seller...whose item Amazon probably won't ship any time soon anyway!). Not clear to me that the Sonolumina Ensemble is still a going concern--they don't seem to have a website--although this story mentions that they will be featured on two new IsoMike releases later this year.
 
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