HiRez Poll Thomas, Michael Tilson - RHAPSODY IN BLUE (and more) [SACD]

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Rate the SACD of Michael Tilson Thomas - RHAPSODY IN BLUE (and others)

  • 7:

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 6:

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 5:

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 4:

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3:

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2:

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1: Poor Surround, Poor Presentation, Poor Performance

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    6

JonUrban

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Please post your thoughts and comments on this Classical 2 CD Set [2CDLX 7369] from Dutton-Epoch containing Stereo and Quadraphonic mixes of Michael Tilson-Thomas conducting 'Rhapsody in Blue', 'An American in Paris', 'Carmina Burana' and 'Beethoven: Late Choral Music'.

These selections originated from Quadraphonic Columbia album releases in the 1970's, including MQ 33172, MQ 33509, and a single-inventory SQ LP (only) M 34205.

Tilson Front.jpg

Tilson Back.jpg
 

JonUrban

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First off, I am not a classical guy by any stretch of the imagination. It's not that I do not appreciate it, I just don't KNOW it all that well. Other than the famous stuff (you all know what that is), I am a rookie when it comes to composers and works.

However, I am very familiar with "Rhapsody in Blue" and "An American in Paris". Being a child of the '60s, I grew up with musicals as part of pop radio and parents listening so I was exposed to a lot of stuff that today would never make the public airways (or what's left of them). Look back at the Billboard charts of the mid-60's and you'll see stuff like "The Sound of Music" soundtrack as the #1 album! Hard to imagine these days.

Anyway, back to this post. I always liked Gershwin, especially these two pieces, so I remember getting the Columbia Quad that appeared at the end of the quad era.

gershwin.jpg Carmine Burana SQ LP.jpg ChoralMusic.jpg
-------------------(SQ LP images pulled from from discogs)-------------------------

While it was a nice version, with the piano roll and all, it never got my attention as being "quad". So it sat there in my library, pulled out from time to time for a listen, but many times I never even bothered to enact 'SQ' because even with my Tate it never seemed that great. Oddly enough, when the SM2 came out this was one of the albums I tried first, and again was pretty much disappointed. Once I got the SM2 decode files to my PC, I really never went any further because it just didn't seem to make any difference.

But now - along comes Michael Dutton, and HOLY CRAP!!! THIS IS FREAKING AMAZING!!! This really is a discrete Rhapsody and AIP!! I have to admit I ripped it first, got it on the PC, then went to check it out and found myself listening and watching the wav files all the way through to these two pieces. It's perfect!! This is an absolute discrete mix and if the SQ mix was compromised to get it to work with SQ, then this was the discrete mix that was destined for Q8 that never made it. It's for real FOR SURE.

Honestly, I have no idea what "Carmina Burana" and "Beethoven: Late Choral Music" are. I will certainly listen to them eventually, but in the mean time I am taking these two Gershwin tunes in the car and will listen to them like a classical aristocrat during my "high brow" commute in the morning! :)

This is a masterpiece, IMHO. The disc is a '10' for me, because it's great. I promise to listen to the rest of it at some point, but for now, if you like Gershwin, well here are two of his most popular works, in splendid, well mastered, beautiful quad - all thanks to Micheal Dutton.

What a great disc! (You haven't ordered it yet?) :)
 
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4-earredwonder

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IMO, this 2 QUAD SACD set from DuttonEpoch is in a word EPIC. Not only do we finally receive a discretely rousing QUAD version of Carmina Burana, an entire Columbia SQ disc of Beethoven's late Choral Music [disc 1/2] along with a rip roaring discrete American in Paris and Rhapsody in Blue with the composer George Gershwin at the piano [via piano roll]. According to ubertrout, basically everything Michael Tilson Thomas recorded in QUAD for the Columbia label in the 70's.

Michael Dutton's meticulous mastering from the original analogue masters is nothing short of astonishing. As Jon pointed out above......the Columbia SQ vinyl could only hint at what was on these master tapes.

An easy purchase for anyone interested in Orff's masterpiece, Beethoven's lovely and moving choral music and two Americana chestnuts all in their original discrete QUAD configurations.

No one can force one to LOVE classical music if they're not so inclined but it's like being a kid and not wanting to eat your veggies. My advice: TRY IT, you'll like it ....and it's good for you!
 

DuncanS

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First off, I am not a classical guy by any stretch of the imagination. It's not that I do not appreciate it, I just don't KNOW it all that well. Other than the famous stuff (you all know what that is), I am a rookie when it comes to composers and works.

However, I am very familiar with "Rhapsody in Blue" and "An American in Paris". Being a child of the '60s, I grew up with musicals as part of pop radio and parents listening so I was exposed to a lot of stuff that today would never make the public airways (or what's left of them). Look back at the Billboard charts of the mid-60's and you'll see stuff like "The Sound of Music" soundtrack as the #1 album! Hard to imagine these days.

Anyway, back to this post. I always liked Gershwin, especially these two pieces, so I remember getting the Columbia Quad that appeared at the end of the quad era.

View attachment 43915 View attachment 43928 View attachment 43929
-------------------(SQ LP images pulled from from discogs)-------------------------

While it was a nice version, with the piano roll and all, it never got my attention as being "quad". So it sat there in my library, pulled out from time to time for a listen, but many times I never even bothered to enact 'SQ' because even with my Tate it never seemed that great. Oddly enough, when the SM2 came out this was one of the albums I tried first, and again was pretty much disappointed. Once I got the SM2 decode files to my PC, I really never went any further because it just didn't seem to make any difference.

But now - along comes Michael Dutton, and HOLY CRAP!!! THIS IS FREAKING AMAZING!!! This really is a discrete Rhapsody and AIP!! I have to admit I ripped it first, got it on the PC, then went to check it out and found myself listening and watching the wav files all the way through to these two pieces. It's perfect!! This is an absolute discrete mix and if the SQ mix was compromised to get it to work with SQ, then this was the discrete mix that was destined for Q8 that never made it. It's for real FOR SURE.

Honestly, I have no idea what "Carmina Burana" and "Beethoven: Late Choral Music" are. I will certainly listen to them eventually, but in the mean time I am taking these two Gershwin tunes in the car and will listen to them like a classical aristocrat during my "high brow" commute in the morning! :)

This is a masterpiece, IMHO. The disc is a '10' for me, because it's great. I promise to listen to the rest of it at some point, but for now, if you like Gershwin, well here are two of his most popular works, in splendid, well mastered, beautiful quad - all thanks to Micheal Dutton.

What a great disc! (You haven't ordered it yet?) :)
This is one I must get, as my father loved Gershwin so I grew up with it, plus Carmen Burana is another!
 

steelydave

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That's a good question that I cannot answer. Maybe steelydave knows? Or maybe Michael????
As far as I know, any CBS single-inventory quad should be SQ on the stereo layer, unless they did a dedicated stereo mix back in the day and never released it. The whole point of single-inventory quad from a production standpoint was that it would reduce the amount of time and money spent on doing two mixes - instead of having to engineer two distinct stereo and quad mixes, you'd just do the quad mix and stereo listeners could listen to it folded down. RCA tried this with their early single-inventory CD-4 QuadraDiscs, but the mistake they made (which Masterworks didn't with these) was putting way too many quad annotations, special borders on the artwork etc. which led to their LPs being filed in the quad sections of record stores instead of with the regular stereo releases.

I would've liked to have seen Columbia's pop division try this single-inventory approach, maybe it would've helped quad get a bit wider acceptance. But unfortunately by the time Masterworks started doing single-inventory classical quads in (I think?) mid/late 1975, Columbia's pop division had already started to wind their quad output down, by moving from trying to release everything in quad, to only releasing select titles from top-tier artists. I think maybe this would've been more feasible if SQ mixing didn't require so many compromises with panning and instrument placement, and an arcane set of rules that required a 50-page instruction manual to explain. Mixing a stereo pop album in the mid-70s was a difficult enough proposition without adding that extra burden on top, and I suspect bands were probably pretty particular about who they wanted to use for the task, ie. their own guy rather than some CBS staff guy they didn't know who was au fait with the quad mixing "rules". So as a result you don't get any single-inventory pop quads.

But, I digress. As I said, I think the stereo layers of these single-inventory titles (any album that starts with the M- prefix instead of MQ-) should be SQ-encoded, but the only way to be certain is via the smell test, running it through an SQ decoder and seeing if the instrument placements roughly line up with the discrete master.
 

JonUrban

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Question for @JonUrban: Since the Gershwin Piano Roll was a single-inventory SQ release, does that mean the stereo layer on this D-V SACD is still SQ-encoded?

Great review!
The official word from Michael Dutton is:

"It’s (SQ) encoded stereo as there is no stereo mix done. I did check"
 

Larry Geller

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As far as I know, any CBS single-inventory quad should be SQ on the stereo layer, unless they did a dedicated stereo mix back in the day and never released it. The whole point of single-inventory quad from a production standpoint was that it would reduce the amount of time and money spent on doing two mixes - instead of having to engineer two distinct stereo and quad mixes, you'd just do the quad mix and stereo listeners could listen to it folded down. RCA tried this with their early single-inventory CD-4 QuadraDiscs, but the mistake they made (which Masterworks didn't with these) was putting way too many quad annotations, special borders on the artwork etc. which led to their LPs being filed in the quad sections of record stores instead of with the regular stereo releases.

I would've liked to have seen Columbia's pop division try this single-inventory approach, maybe it would've helped quad get a bit wider acceptance. But unfortunately by the time Masterworks started doing single-inventory classical quads in (I think?) mid/late 1975, Columbia's pop division had already started to wind their quad output down, by moving from trying to release everything in quad, to only releasing select titles from top-tier artists. I think maybe this would've been more feasible if SQ mixing didn't require so many compromises with panning and instrument placement, and an arcane set of rules that required a 50-page instruction manual to explain. Mixing a stereo pop album in the mid-70s was a difficult enough proposition without adding that extra burden on top, and I suspect bands were probably pretty particular about who they wanted to use for the task, ie. their own guy rather than some CBS staff guy they didn't know who was au fait with the quad mixing "rules". So as a result you don't get any single-inventory pop quads.

But, I digress. As I said, I think the stereo layers of these single-inventory titles (any album that starts with the M- prefix instead of MQ-) should be SQ-encoded, but the only way to be certain is via the smell test, running it through an SQ decoder and seeing if the instrument placements roughly line up with the discrete master.
Single inventory SQ rock quad = Lotus.
 

GOS

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Please post your thoughts and comments on this Classical 2 CD Set [2CDLX 7369] from Dutton-Epoch containing Stereo and Quadraphonic mixes of Michael Tilson-Thomas conducting 'Rhapsody in Blue', 'An American in Paris', 'Carmina Burana' and 'Beethoven: Late Choral Music'.

These selections originated from Quadraphonic Columbia album releases in the 1970's, including MQ 33172, MQ 33509, and a single-inventory SQ LP (only) M 34205.

View attachment 43913

View attachment 43914
Hey Jon - I have a higher resolution picture of at least the front cover. Attached....
 

Attachments

Kal Rubinson

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Please post your thoughts and comments on this Classical 2 CD Set [2CDLX 7369] from Dutton-Epoch containing Stereo and Quadraphonic mixes of Michael Tilson-Thomas conducting 'Rhapsody in Blue', 'An American in Paris', 'Carmina Burana' and 'Beethoven: Late Choral Music'.
I am not voting because I have not heard this and, probably never will. I know the pieces and I have heard this particular performance of "Rhapsody in Blue" but this is a strange mixed-bag.
 

fredblue

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I am not voting because I have not heard this and, probably never will. I know the pieces and I have heard this particular performance of "Rhapsody in Blue" but this is a strange mixed-bag.
bit confused, do you mean you won't be buying this set because you're deterred by the variety of material on offer or the selections themselves?
 

Kal Rubinson

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bit confused, do you mean you won't be buying this set because you're deterred by the variety of material on offer or the selections themselves?
Sort of all. I am not particularly interested in any one of those selections any more but, if I was interested in one of them, the others are strange companions.
 

humprof

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I am not voting because I have not heard this and, probably never will. I know the pieces and I have heard this particular performance of "Rhapsody in Blue" but this is a strange mixed-bag.
Agreed that this is a strange program, but I'd say that the Gershwin pieces are the best things on it.

I don't like to cast shade on Raymond Moore, but while it's nice to have a (very) discrete Carmina Burana, there's something about this recording of it that doesn't quite do it for me. It's truly fascinating to read about the complexity and the ingenuity of the setup and the process they used--a real of feat of sound engineering. And kudos to Andrew Kazdin for believing in this project and sticking with it. Still: I donno if it's the mic'ing technique or the hall acoustics or the condition of the tape, or what, but the dynamics seem sort of compressed, the instruments aren't very bright or precise (except in the small-ensemble sections), and the overall sound strikes my ears as a little harsh. The Beethoven choral music (which doesn't do much for me) is even worse: the big orchestral sections sound muddy and reverb-y, and sometimes I even wonder if there might be some speed issues with the tape. Reminds me of the Carlos Kleiber Beethoven 5th & 7th on DG.

The Gershwin pieces, by contrast, are wonderful: the recording is not only discrete, but crisp and detailed. Possibly it's easier to get those qualities with a small ensemble under something more closely approaching studio conditions. Very high-fidelity sonics. (And I love the fact that they snuck the original Al Hirschfeld album jacket drawing, with the ghost of George Gerswhin at the piano, onto the inner tray card!)

10 for the Gershwins, 6 for the Beethovens, 7 for the Orff. I'm gonna average that out to an 8. Not at all sorry I bought it, and I'm glad Michael Dutton rescued all of these recordings. But the Gershwins are probably the only ones that I'll go back to.

Follow-up/postscript, one week later: @steelydave and @ubertrout 's comments downthread (here & here) certainly made me listen again more critically (and more sympathetically) to Carmina Burana, but I'm gonna mostly stick to my guns, partly out of bullheadedness but also because, even after correcting for listener bias, I'm still hearing what I was hearing--though perhaps not to the same extent. (How's that for face-saving!) The mix, as I said above, is a made-for-quad technical wonder, and people absolutely ought to hear and appreciate it. The overall sound is better than I remembered/was giving it credit for; the vocals, especially, are consistently clear and distinct. And I have to concede that it was mostly the last two movements, Tracks 25 and 26, that were coloring my view of the dynamics. "Compressed" was the wrong word to use; maybe peak-limited is closer. Throughout the piece, the quiet passages are nice and quiet, but the fortissimo orchestral climaxes--especially those in "Fortuna Imperiatrix Mundi" with the big bass-drum hits--aren’t teeth-rattlingly loud. I want vulgar theatrics. The Runnicles recording gives them to me; this one doesn’t--quite--even if Ray Moore's mix is head-and-shoulders better than Telarc's. (Plus, I insist that the overall sonics of the last two movements are deteriorated. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)
 
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fredblue

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Sort of all. I am not particularly interested in any one of those selections any more but, if I was interested in one of them, the others are strange companions.
ok, thanks, i think i get where you're coming from.. a sort of "Greatest Hits of Tilson-Thomas" might appeal to a different audience rather than someone such as yourself perhaps?
 

fredblue

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Agreed that this is a strange program, but I'd say that the Gershwin pieces are the best things on it.

I don't like to cast shade on Raymond Moore, but while it's nice to have a (very) discrete Carmina Burana, there's something about this recording of it that doesn't quite do it for me. It's truly fascinating to read about the complexity and the ingenuity of the setup and the process they used--a real of feat of sound engineering. Still: I donno if it's the mic'ing technique or the hall acoustics or the condition of the tape, or what, but the dynamics seem sort of compressed, the instruments aren't very crisp or detailed (except in the small-ensemble sections), and the overall sound strikes my ears as a little harsh. The Beethoven choral music (which doesn't do much for me) is even worse: the big orchestral sections sound muddy and reverb-y, and sometimes I even wonder if there might be some speed issues with the tape. Reminds me of the Carlos Kleiber Beethoven 5th & 7th on DG.

The Gershwin pieces, by contrast, are wonderful: the recording is not only discrete, but crisp and detailed. Possibly it's easier to get those qualities with a small ensemble under something more closely approaching studio conditions. Very high-fidelity. (And I love the fact that they snuck the Al Hirschfield cover--with the ghost of George Gerswhin at the piano, onto the inner tray card!)

10 for the Gershwins, 6 for the Beethovens, 7 for the Orff. I'm gonna average that out to an 8. Not at all sorry I bought it, and I'm glad Michael Dutton rescued all of these recordings. But the Gershwins are probably the only ones that I'll go back to.
thanks for all the great info and insight! 😻
so who would you say this collection is ideal for? a casual listener? a Classical newbie? a seasoned Tilson-Thomas aficionado?
 

humprof

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thanks for all the great info and insight! 😻
so who would you say this collection is ideal for? a casual listener? a Classical newbie? a seasoned Tilson-Thomas aficionado?
The classico-philes should weigh in here--I'm just a dilettante. But I'd say that apart from the Beethoven choral pieces, the rest of the set are modern chestnuts that regularly show up on pops concert programs. So: casual listener and/or classical newbie, for sure. And if you're only going to have one Carmina Burana in your collection (and who doesn't need Carmina Burana?--it's a rousing piece, you've heard it on a thousand film scores and TV commercials, and the song texts are all about filthy-dirty debauchery committed by a roving band of defrocked priests!), then this still ain't a bad one, by any means.
 
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