MOUSSORGSKY-RAVEL: Pictures at an Exhibition; A Night on Bald Mountain – The London Symphony Orchestra/ Sir Malcolm Sargent – Everest 35mm mag film recording reissued as Classic Records 3-channel

by | Aug 8, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

MOUSSORGSKY-RAVEL: Pictures at an Exhibition; A Night on Bald Mountain – The London Symphony Orchestra/ Sir Malcolm Sargent – Everest 35mm mag film recording reissued as Classic Records 3-channel HDAD2017 (CD/DVD-V audio/DVD-A audio):

I was prepared with some competing Pictures on SACD and vinyl to write this review of the continuing series of Everest reissues by Classic Records.  But I didn’t get to them due to having heard the first minute of this disc – in all three formats: CD, DVD-video audio and 3-channel 96K DVD-Audio.  It is unlistenable. The worst wow I have ever heard on an optical disc! Wow as in “wow & flutter” – those gremlins which used to cause us such concern with recording on analog tape and mastering/playing back vinyl discs. With digital media and optical discs that should be a thing of the distant past.

 
Well, not so. (I heard it on another disc not long ago.) All 15 sections of the work sound thoroughly sour, way off in speed variation. And I also tried the discs on three different players. I discovered some time ago that many people seem to have an extremely forgiving lack of sensitivity to slight speed variations in reproduced music.  It is especially noticed on clarinet or piano music by those of sensitive to it. Years ago when I got my first SOTA turntable I noticed it right away.  SOTA quickly offered an accessory AC line processor to regulate inconsistencies in the power to the motor and it corrected the problem.  Many other TT manufacturers now offer a type of “electronic flywheel” for this purpose.  Improvements have been made in the motors of even entry level tables and I haven’t heard any for some time with flutter or wow.

But these discs are so bad it seems to me any person could easily hear the problem. Didn’t anyone in the production sequence listen to it? The problem doesn’t afflict the companion work at all.  In fact Sargent’s version of Night on Bald Mountain has more drama and excitement than Valery Gergiev’s on a recent Philips SACD, also paired with Pictures. And Gergiev is known for his dramatic emphasis. By the way, all the other Everest reissues have been real winners; this is the only one I’ve discovered so far to avoid.

 – John Sunier

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