PROKOFIEV: Peter and the Wolf; SAINT-SAENS: The Carnival of the Animals; JOSEF: Carnival Preparations – Soloists/Polish Chamber Philharmonic/Wojciech Rajski – Tacet SACD

by | Jun 9, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

PROKOFIEV: Peter and the Wolf; SAINT-SAENS: The Carnival of the
Animals; JOSEF: Carnival Preparations – Soloists/Polish Chamber
Philharmonic/Wojciech Rajski/Ladies Swing Quartet/Narrator: Bradley
Cole – Tacet multichannel SACD with Moving Real Surround Sound – S114,
72:01 ****:

Hard to believe it was an entire year ago I reviewed the original DVD-A
version of this disc. Rather than make readers so back to that with a
link I’ll give you the review herewith with a couple updates and then
comment on the differences, which are not major:

Tacet has been doing some creative things with surround in their
classical DVD-A releases. They usually place the players in chamber
music one to a speaker, so that with a quintet, for example, you are
completely in the middle of the ensemble as though you were one of the
performers. Their next step was Moving Real Surround, which as the name
suggests involves pan-potting some of the musicians around during the
music. Tacet usually provides an alternate version of the music with
the players stable, and the movement portions are carefully laid out,
rather appropriate, and not outlandish.

There was no space for nonmoving versions on the DVD-A  since
there was narration involved in both pieces and two versions: one
English and one German. Going thru everything twice, plus the breaks
for narration, results in a DVD that times out at 151 minutes – double
what would fit on one SACD or CD.  Now for the SACD version the
German version also had to go because SACDs have a similar time limit
to standard CDs – around 80 minutes. So only the English version is on
this disc.

Since more instruments are involved in both works they have to double
up some at the five speakers. The oboe, second violin and trombone, for
example, reside at the left frontal speaker. The percussion moves
around as befits the story lines. A new script has been written for
both works in which the owl is the storyteller. His voice does the most
moving around the listening room, which I found eventually distracting.
Kids might adore it, I wouldn’t know. As Peter’s story is told the
various instruments occasionally move around. The oboe/duck waddles
across the front soundstage to the pool from left to right; the
bassoon/grandfather shuffles out of the house at the L surround area
and towards the front. I thought an opportunity was missed by not
having the final procession march around the listener to the music.
There is more movement in the Carnival of the Animals, the most
effective for me being the Swan swimming entirely around the listener.
An interesting experiment in surround sound for certain. I really
couldn’t detect any sonic differences between the SACD and the earlier
DVD-A version.

Update continued:  Ah, I remember how excited we were at the
college radio station where I worked when a new Capitol stereo LP came
in with the Carousel Waltz and the entire orchestra rotated in front of
you on the stereo speakers like it was on a carousel. If that sort of
thing excites you, you’ll love Tacet’s Moving Real Surround Sound. On
the other hand, you may feel about this gimmick about the same as
two-channel diehards feel about surround sound for music in general. [I
just inquired of dCS about their new $12,000 SACD player. The spec
sheet said nothing about multichannel and I wondered if perchance that
was an ommission.  It wasn’t – the cost-no-object player
(considered their “most reasonably-priced model”)  is two-channel
only! Its main claim to fame is that it is the first player to upsample
44.1 CDs all the way to DSD resolution for enhanced sound.]

– John Sunier

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