An excellent four-channel surround version of this standard.

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Scheherazade – The Philadelphia Orch./ Eugene Ormandy – RCA (1972)/transferred from an RCA quadraphonic open reel tape by HDTT – Pure Audio Blu-ray with choice of either 4.0 or 2.0 DTS-HD MA 24/192K *****:

There is little more to be said about this music, and plenty of versions of it out there, include several in 5.0 hi-res surround on SACD, by Gergiev, Ponti, Macal and Barry Wordsworth. If you don’t have an SACD deck but do have a Blu-ray player, this would be an excellent choice. It is a better orchestra than most of the others, and the four-channel sonics do have a bit more impact and clarity than the three-front-channel version that is my personal favorite – that on an RCA SACD by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony. It is definitely the most spectacular of all the versions and the three channels across the front are nothing to sneeze at. I only wish I had three exactly matched frontal speakers rather than a lesser one at the center (though it is the same Von Schweikert brand).

HDTT squeeses the utmost hi-res fidelity out of the prerecorded open reel tapes in their processing, and although there seem to be some differences of opinion about whether the Blu-ray audio or SACD sounds better, the final sonic result here is clearly an improvement. Perhaps the expensive Analogue Productions remastered SACD would equal this Blu-ray, but an advantage of the original RCA SACD is not only its bargain price but that it also contains Stravinsky’s Song of the Nightingale (and the various other SACDs of Scheherazade also have other material on them).

Sounds pretty impressive in just PCM two-channel too, but without the surround effect. Being pro surround sound for music we prefer the multichannel version but I understand lots of you are downloading just two-channel material now.

TrackList:
1. The Sea And Sinbad’s Ship
2. The Story Of The Kalender Prince
3. The Young Prince And The Young Princess
4. Festival At Bagdad – The Ship Goes To Pieces On A Rock By A Bronze Warrior – Conclusion

—John Sunier