“Credo” = Works of BEETHOVEN, CORIGLIANO & PAART – Helene Grimaud, p./ Swedish Radio Sym. Orch./ Swedish Radio Choir/ Esa-Pekka Salonen – DGG stereo-only Blu-ray

“Credo” = BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata no. 17 in d, Op. 31/2, “the Tempest”; Choral Fantasy in c, op. 80; CORIGLIANO: Fantasia on an Ostinato for Solo Piano; PART: Credo – Helene Grimaud, piano/ Swedish Radio Sym. Orch./ Swedish Radio Choir/ Esa-Pekka Salonen – DGG 479 1055 Pure Audio stereo-only Blu-ray (PCM 2.0, DTS MA HD 2.0, Dolby TrueHD, 24 bit/ 96 kHz), 68:31 [Distr. by Universal] ***:

I am referring everyone who reads these new DGG Blu-ray Pure Audio reviews to my review of the Kleiber BEETHOVEN Symphonies 5 & 7 reissue for comments and details on this series in general.  As in the Anna Netrebko Sempre libera album that I have also reviewed in this format, the same comments can be applied here. This album, a joy from first to last, was released in 2003 in both CD and SACD/CD hybrid format. Even on standard CD the sound is extremely warm and gracious, the SACD surround sound only adding to the depth and richness of the experience. This program is expertly offered in fantastic performances in each piece, and should be bedrock in any seriously considered collection. Part’s Credo is a revelation in itself, and even Corigliano’s oft-performed Fantasia, now a standard in the repertory, is top of the heap. The Beethoven selections simply don’t get any better, the Choral Fantasy easily one of the best-of-breed. Editor Sunier’s original review of the CD-only version is here.

But the 2.0 audio selections are again, as in the Netrebko, only mildly advantageous over the CD version, and the surround sound 5.1 SACD is superior in every way. This cannot be recommended unless you do not have a SACD player, and even then the sound is so good on the original CD than I am not sure a purchase is warranted. And it appears that the SACD may be out-of-print, though available for big bucks. By the way, the video display screen on this and the Netrebko say that the audio is 24-bit 192kHz, but my machines are saying something different—it’s the same 96 kHz as the originals. Fortunately this is what is on the outside of the case as well, so I am not sure if this was just wishful thinking on the part of one of the engineers or not! Get this recording—whether in this format or not depends on your desires and setup.

—Steven Ritter

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