Contemporary brass music in a stunning multi-format package

Christophersen: Woven Brass – Dual Disc, Hybrid SACD/ Pure Audio Blu-ray – Oslo Philharmonic Brass (leader Jonas Haltia) (11/1/17) ****

What a spectacular recording from 2L! This multi-format disc gives us some tight performances by the Oslo Philharmonic Brass. There music offered is all by Norwegian composer Bjørn Morten Christophersen. The six musicians gathered for this recording are all members of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and they play together in the ensemble Norwegian Brass Expo. They are among the best and most experienced brass players in Scandinavia.

The works vary from somber to energetic. 2L is always exemplary at sonics, and this disc is no exception. 2 discs come with the set, one a multi-channel SACD and the other is a Blu-ray audio disc with a variety of audio formats, including 2.0 LPCM 192/24, 5.1 DTS HDMA 192/24, 9.1 Auro-3D and Dolby Atmos  for those so equipped. I listened to the Atmos mix, but in 7.1 as I don’t have height speakers. The disc also includes MQA formatted files, again for those equipped to play back that newer, and still controversial format. There are also MP3 files. Missing this time around are FLAC formatted files, which 2L used to include on their discs.

The SACD disc also offers MQA playback, and standard CD audio.

The surround mix I auditioned puts you close to the musicians, with all speakers active. The recording took place at Jar Church in Norway. It’s a very realistic recording with superior dynamic range.

The musicianship is of a very high order. Christopherson’s compositions are interesting, and not things most listeners, even avid brass followers, will have heard before. This is a superb listening experience, and like all 2L offerings, you can get the format you want, anything from 2 channel stereo to 9.1 Auto 3D mixes. As I mentioned, it’s disappointing that FLAC has been dropped in favor of MQA, but I know the label is a fan of the MQA format.

—Mel Martin