ROBERT SCHUMANN: Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47; Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44 – Peter Orth, piano/Auryn Quartet – Tacet 5.1 DVD-Audio DVD D144, 57:53 [www.tacet.de] ****:
This is the same program reviewed earlier by Gary Lemco on standard CD, but now utilizing Tacet’s unique Real Surround Sound on a DVD-Audio disc that also will play on any standard DVD player that decodes surround sound – though not with the same lossless 96K/24-bit resolution as the DVD-Audio. I’ll let Gary’s general rave about the excellent performing quality of the Auryn Quartet handle that part of the review, and confine myself to the DVD-A features:
Although the two selections are way under the 80-minute limit of SACDs, Tacet chose DVD-A for this release, perhaps due to it then being playable on any DVD deck. Perhaps there was a thought of also including Tacet’s Moving Real Surround Sound, which requires the longer length possible with DVD-Audio, but it might have been rather odd to have the four or five instruments marching around you during listening. On this disc they don’t move. The 96/24 quality is just about the same as were it a multichannel SACD.
What we have here spatially is not quite one instrument per speaker. For the Quartet the violin is on the listener’s left, the viola dead ahead and the cello on the right. What seems a bit odd to me is Tacet’s decision to place the piano at the rear; I would expect it to be up front. If you have small surround speakers and not identical speakers front left/right and surround left/right, you might find the piano sound a bit lacking. (Or the dipole speakers used for many HT surrounds.) The Quintet adds a second violin which is placed on the right front, the viola on the left front, the first violin on the left side and the cello on the right side – further back than those two instruments on the Quartet. The piano remains on the rear. The spatial display makes the performance even more exciting and involving. You decide whether it seems a bit over the top to you.
– John Sunier